“Quarantunes” concert series brings Sam James to Rider’s virtual community

By Megan Raab

107.7 The Bronc hosted a digital concert for Rider students to enjoy from the comfort and safety of their own homes on April 8. It was the first of the station’s “Quarantunes” series of social distancing concerts. 

The concert was performed by musician Sam James of NBC’s “The Voice,” who was featured on Adam Levine’s team in season three. The singer also appeared on “Songland,” showing off his writing talents. The concert was live-streamed on the station’s Instagram for an hour of entertainment.

The show opened to the singer, donning his Rider hoodie, from his Massachusetts home. A picture of a dog hung happily on the wall, and the artist presented the intimate concert right from his couch. 

The concert featured songs of all genres, both originals and covers. James played everything from hip-hop, playing “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G., to “Beautiful Life,” his song with Bebe Rexha from the DreamWorks movie “Abominable.” Viewers were even treated to an acoustic performance of James’s song “Shinedown,” the tune that got him featured on “Songland.

Sam James sang several of his own songs, including “Shinedown” and “Beautiful Life,” his song with Bebe Rexha for the movie “Abominable.” Courtesy of Sam James.

James’ songs have been performed by himself and other artists including Bebe Rexha and Dolly Parton, who sings his song “Faith,” with Galantis, which he says is his favorite song he has written. He has also recently gone viral with his acoustic covers of hip-hop songs and he shared some of those with Rider in his concert.

The show had a unique interactive element that would not be possible in the capacity of a traditional live show. Viewers could send comments during the performance and James even responded to them in real-time. He took live requests from the audience, playing “Whiskey Glasses” by Morgan Wallen in response to being asked for some country music.

James took questions from the audience as well, sharing stories of his experience on “The Voice” and “Songland.” He also shared other tales from the business and engaged in conversation to lift students’ spirits and bring them together during this time apart. When asked to share some advice for singers and songwriters here at Rider, James had many words of wisdom. 

“Play everywhere and anywhere… literally. I play sold-out theater shows and I’m sitting on Instagram right now with you guys having a great time,” shared the artist. He also encouraged students to “practice and play every day. Get perfect at your craft and then network. That’s my advice to you.”

James conversed with students about life during quarantine, encouraging them to persevere through their online classes. Events like this are a great way for the Rider community to come together and maintain the social aspect of their college experience while staying safe and healthy. 

James even hinted at the possibility of coming to campus in the fall to share an in-person show with the Rider community.

The show ended with a preview of James’ new single “Love Hangover” coming out soon, and words of encouragement to students going through the pandemic. He lifted their spirits, reminding them that “this too shall pass.”

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