He is a singer, a bass player, an actor, a mouth-drummer, a performing musician; and since being drawn to the guitar, Jim Castaneda has embarked on a musical journey to develop his songwriting voice. A native of Washington State, Jim Castaneda was born in Seattle on the first day of Fall a few decades ago. He began singing with the jazz choir and his a cappella quartet as a high school senior and then went on to perform with one of the area’s premier college vocal ensembles, Soundsation, under the direction of Kirk Marcy, while studying symphonic voice under Richard Asher. During these formidable years, Jim had the opportunity to develop many useful skills that would serve him well as a professional musician. Not only did Jim get the opportunity to experience some live concerts by legendary jazz performers like the Count Basie Orchestra, Lambert Hendricks & Ross, Joe Williams, Louise Rose and more, as part of the music department he worked with his classmates to put the concerts on and helped the college host thousands of jazz students to the festivals. As a choir student, Jim was fortunate enough to have been involved in two choir tours to Europe for the Montreaux Jazz Fest in Switzerland, taking in North Sea, Switzerland's 700th anniversary concert, a show at Euro-Disney and a few weeks singing at castles and clubs along the way. Domestic studies with the symphonic choir gave Jim yet another invaluable set of skills; blending with a much bigger group in a much different style of vocalizing, growing an appreciation for classical works, and the knowledge of how to properly use and treat his most precious instrument; his voice.
Throughout the years, Jim has spent time carving out a place in the regional A Cappella world as co-founder and member of the award-winning vocal band, Kickshaw, a group who has seen all of its original members go on to make more music, and in one case watching and supporting as their youngest singer made it all the way to the finals of American Idol. During their time together and in continued partnership Pacific Rim Talent, Kickshaw (feat. D. Figgins, A. Marshall, D. Shoemaker, J. Moulton, B. Lewis) traveled all over the western U.S., opening for acts such as Huey Lewis and the News, Crystal Gayle, Take 6 and many others; spending much of their time in the Pacific Northwest playing hundreds of shows all around the Seattle area. The ensemble was always warmly welcomed, singing the national anthem at major sporting events and performing for festivals, concert series, and as guest performers for the grand opening of Experience Music Project (MoPop) as well as extensive touring of schools, where they included students in their workshops and stage shows by working up improvisational arrangements and inviting them to join in with their own ideas.
Early on, the group took their vocalizing to another level with the implementation of guitar and bass FX as well as five distinctly different styles of vocal percussion; emerging as the area’s most exciting ‘vocal band’. Kickshaw released two full-length albums in their eight year run, including the turn of the millennium hit, Superstar, which showcased the depth of writing, arranging, and vocal talent present in the group. Within that stand of music are fitting tributes to Sly, the Temps, John, Paul, George, Ringo and Kravitz. They followed up with Put it in the Microphone, featuring their final studio incarnation and pressing the boundaries with new beats, new sounds, and totally new writing angles to the completely original recording.
Somewhere out there, Jim picked up the electric bass; soon finding himself writing moderate rock with veteran songwriter, K. Shirey, in an adventure that would take him to new musical places. With this power-trio, Jim filled out the sound as a ‘one man rhythm section’; providing the steady beat of live vocal percussion (beat box) loops, as well as playing bass and sharing vocal duties with multi-instrumentalist and aspiring magician, ‘Lelando’ Hirschman. This project, as well as their six piece NW rock band (feat. S. Larson, D. Franklin, J. Wilson, A. Zehrung) played every bar, club and party from Eastlake to Bellingham and beyond, highlighting their time together with some of the most energetic original rock music you’ve never heard.
In 2012, Jim took his first step into the lights of the local musical theatre scene and over the next four seasons, experienced some of the most prolific growth in personal performance & collaborative teamwork. From a bit-part, then a feature, to a dancing Santa, to a self-absorbed sir Galahad and capping off his all too brief a theatrical time with a critically acclaimed portrayal of Gomez Addams. Jim's modest arc through these few seasons at both the Whidbey Playhouse and Whidbey Island Center for the Arts made for a wealth of quality experience for him and his future career in the music entertainment industry. Big time musical theatre productions take the cooperation of so many uniquely qualified people and Jim feels incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some absolute professionals on stage and off: "To the technical gurus who pushed the boundaries of sound, stage and creative energy, the cast mates who pushed me to the next level and then the next, and the wonderful directors who pushed us all into the light: The theatre has been my college of the arts, my boot camp for a bigger stage, and my internship with some of the best in their field. I found a place to connect, learn and grow as an artist, performer and technician, and these experiences will serve me well in all my future endeavors." J.
2015 brought the musical universe a new set of original songs in the form of Jim’s debut collection on Beatbox Soul, a self-produced rhythm & vocal-driven album that highlights the artist's easy going style and skilled beatbox production, providing 95% of the drums. A concept album at its core, this project was DIY all the way. Jim recorded each track, one by one, to produce a full length professional quality release that has listeners setting their CD players to 'repeat all'. This album contains songs about nature, the nature of things and the world around us. It observes the nuance and intermingle of past and present; technology and natural course; people and places; life and love.
photo by Jeff McKeown
August 2016: Jim visits Whatcom County during his 10 race run for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life fundraising events.
2017 marks the beginning of the next phase in this artist’s solo effort as he takes to the road and eventually back into the studio. Venues are beginning to recognize the quality of the Original Jim sound and appreciate the amount of sonic diversity this soloist brings with such a compact setup.
His debut recording gets a consistently positive reaction from listeners and helps to present Jim at his best throughout the industry. New tunes are continuously evolving and finding their way into the repertoire, filling his songbook with more style, groove and lyric for listeners to enjoy.
2018 promises to be another positive year for this career music maker.
Future plans include the writing and beginnings of production for album #2;
Short regional tours in his tiny camper through to some more stages, breweries, wineries and concert events around the PNW;
Co-billing with bands and musicians that want to team up for special causes;
And finding a path to bringing his looping technology development ideas to the proper decision makers in the industry.
These goals and more are the fuel for a DIY performing songwriter trying to make it as a SOLO BAND.
Currently, Jim is booking his 'solo band' into the music and art scene around the greater Northwest, working to build on a promising career while nurturing his talents and spreading his love for music with audiences everywhere.
Jim was grown in the great outdoors among the cedars and firs of the Northwest Washington State, and loves cloudy, rainy days with plenty of windswept needles on the walk and oodles of muddy puddles in which to jump. He is also a learned cook, spending a decade or so moonlighting as a chef’s assistant at one of his hometown’s most popular restaurants; practicing the finer points of preparing and presenting fresh ingredients under the guidance of Master Chef, Andreas Wurzrainer. Other interests include fresh air, fresh water, fresh coffee, transparent government, staring at the ocean, new music, old music, walking, riding, good conversation and good people.
When he’s not on the road sharing his music with the masses, Jim is right at home in the woods with his family and his fishies and a menagerie of animals.
On March 21st, 2015, Jim gave his debut CD release concert as part of Whidbey Island Center for the Arts' Local Artist Series.
He is a singer, a bass player, a mouth-drummer, a performing musician; and since being drawn to the guitar, Jim Castaneda has embarked on a musical journey to develop his songwriting voice and live presentation. Original Jim has been focused on writing and arranging in a performance style he calls a ‘Solo Band’; multi-layering a combination of traditional instrumentation such as guitar and keyboard with lush vocals, all backed up by a fresh approach to percussion. Jim crafts full-form arrangements, sounding at times like a small band rather than a solo act thanks to a few carefully chosen foot pedals and a talent for multi-tasking while live on stage.
Jim spent his musical youth touring the west coast with Kickshaw, one of the area’s premier vocal bands, producing of some high quality A cappella recordings and giving dynamic live performances. Past musical projects have included a turn of the millennium ‘mutt-rock’ party band as well as co-writing and laying down the ‘one man rhythm section’ as a beatboxing bassist in his unique folk/pop trio.
2015 brought the musical universe a new set of original songs in the form of Jim’s debut collection on 'Beatbox Soul', a self-produced rhythm & vocal driven album that highlights the artist's easy going
style and skilled beatbox production; with his mouth providing 95% of the drums.
His debut recording gets a consistently positive reaction and
helps to present Jim at his best throughout the industry.
Currently, Jim is working his way around the Pacific Northwest, playing events of all sorts and spreading a positive vibe that keeps a steady groove. Venues are beginning to recognize
the quality of the Original Jim sound as well as the amount of sonic diversity
this soloist brings with such a compact setup.
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photo by Dan Windisch
T H A N K Y O U F O R L I S T E N I N G
Original J Music © 2 0 1 8 ~~~ Style ~ Groove ~ Lyric ~~~