He eventually landed an appearance at Bow Wow’s birthday party on MTV and later had the honor of appearing at Barack Obama’s first inauguration party in Washington, DC. James and Bieber began working together shortly afterwards.

“I connected with Justin after I graduated from high school,” explains James, a Hampton University alum. “His management got in touch with me and a mutual friend put me on the job – it’s history since then. Eight years later I’m still with him. “

Bieber was around 14 years old when the two joined forces, and over the years they have easily built both a professional and personal relationship. “Besides being my boss, we’re really good friends,” James tells Billboard. “We grew up together in this industry and we learn and feed from one another. This relationship will be expanded further. “

That connection even extends to James, who is working on Bieber’s latest album. “The Purpose album was nominated for a Grammy. I was lucky enough to be in the studio working on some of these albums, ”says James, who received a co-production credit for“ Trust ”. “Man, that was a great opportunity. I stopped hanging up. I was in the studio for six or seven months and was just helping to build that sound. It was such a good experience. “

Though album production and constant touring require an unprecedented amount of work, the two also sparked memories during the tour as well. “We were promoting Believe [in Norway], and the show was insane – we played on the water. We couldn’t go regularly after the show because Oslo canceled school so people could go to the Bieber concert, ”says James. “After the show we couldn’t drive away instead of taking the regular transport, we had to jump into a boat and drive across the water so we wouldn’t be bullied by fans. So we jumped on a boat and thought we were smart – no! Everyone in Oslo has boats so everyone hops on boats and next it was like a boat hunt. Fortunately we were there first! “

While James’ time with Bieber is extended, the DJ is also part of a variety of other projects – some of which he directs himself. On February 25th, James hosted a pop-up shop in Hollywood for his new apparel collaboration with Diamond Supply called We Know the DJ, which Bieber naturally stopped by to show his support.

The name of the line refers to a long-standing blog of the same name that James operated. “We Know the DJ started out as a regular blog for my friends and family,” explains James. “I filmed every little thing I did on tour with Justin behind the scenes – what I ate, bought clothes, cities I visited. I did this for a couple of years and got a lot of hits. The name is just so big – it’s bigger than just me. “

He continued, “In the last couple of years we’ve switched it to make it fit for all DJs. So I added two more DJs to the list – I have Wiz Khalifas DJ, DJ Bonics, and Big Seans DJ, DJ Mo Beatz. We all tour with DJs, we tour the world with great artists, and now it’s about showing what these DJs are doing. “

By browsing the site, viewers can get a glimpse of the software the Mixmasters use, video tutorials, and apparel, including James’s Diamond Supply partnership.

Going forward, James hopes to include some younger, up-and-coming DJs too – like 10-year-old twin DJs Amira and Kayla, who performed at Ellen and performed at New York Fashion Week.

Recognizing the passion of these young DJs and helping them is vital to James, who sees a lot of himself in them. “It kind of reminds me of myself and my come-up,” he says. “It’s nice to see how DJing has changed. With technology, people have the opportunity and the means to learn to DJ at an earlier age. “

James does even more to help budding DJs advance their craft. James has partnered with app company Algoriddim to support DJ-centric apps like DJay Pro and DJay 2. “It’s new software that you can use to connect to Spotify. You can literally hang up from the Spotify collection, ”explains James. “So instead of having your own music, you can connect to Spotify and DJ from their collection or your collection. You can do this from your phone or tablet – it’s a new and innovative way to hang up. “

Going forward, he wants to be a part of wherever technology is next to hit the industry and collaborate with aspiring DJs while he continues to work on himself. “It’s all I focused on, and if you focus on something like I’ve focused on DJing, you will find a way for yourself. You will find a way, and I did. “

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