#UnderTheSpotlight with James Fauntleroy (Black Mario)


This writer extraordinaire, producer, blessed also with an amazing voice has largely remained under the radar to many of us for far too long. I find this strange as many of the recent hit records that we dance, groove and connect to have come from the artistic genius of this humble man.

I first came across James Fauntleroy’s work when I listened to the Cocaine 80’s EP ‘The Pursuit’ and found myself instantly captivated, his voice is effortlessly smooth and you easily find yourself at the other end of the EP in no time.

As a key member of the group cocaine 80’s, which includes the likes of Common, Jhene Aiko and No Id amongst others, he collaborates with these artists to release a number of free EP’s which are posted on their website. Naturally with this groups collaborative abilities they produce a very unique compendium of music which is both pleasant to the ears and allows for a real musical connection and this is very much a trend throughout all their EP’s. His input on most tracks highlights what I feel is an amazing display of dedication, hard work and his devotion towards further improving his craft.

James has worked with an array of notable artists in hip hop and R&B, I almost don’t see the point of listing them, but for proof purposes I’ll mention a few. He co-wrote every song on the Justin Timberlake Album ‘The 20/20 Experience’. He was featured on Drake’s “Girls Love Beyonce”, Nipsey Hussle’s Crenshaw, Big Sean’s Hall of Fame and J. Cole’s Born Sinner. He also contributed vocals and writing on Jay Z’s ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’ and on the Kanye West collaboration album with G.O.O.D. Music ‘Cruel Summer’.

This talented man’s magical writing ability, voice and production skills are ever present in so many of the artists which we listen to on a daily basis that I find it rather ludicrous that his name isn’t permanently plastered in the back of our mouths. If we put aside his work on other artists music or as part of a group he still displays a notable collection of solo releases. I have listened to the ‘String Theory Acoustic’ EP back to front and with his very newest release ‘The Warmest Winter Ever’ which evidently is released in line with the holiday season, he again hits the mark with a very effortless blend of an R&B sounds with that good old holiday merriment.

His elusiveness also begs the question as to whether James appreciates his anonymity to the masses. His compendium of work at his age would almost beget greatness, yet he still remains beneath many of our noses. It may be his own doing that the large portion of the fame of his work is hidden to listeners. I guess most writers/ producers are viewed as the behind the scenes crew, helping create the musical piece with little of the credit going to them.

To add further grease to James Fauntleroy’s elbows he also seems to be a rather good artist & designer. By all evidence seen on his Instagram page, a range of products from origami works, experimental CAD machines pieces and clothing make up some of the work he has dabbled in. He also recently had a display of his work at Art Basel in Miami, with it showing at the Brisky Gallery.

This Grammy winning writer, singer, producer was set to release his first album this year but it seems that piece of work is something we are to sit tight for, hopefully we can expect it in 2015.

This man inspires me, with his overall artistic talent, vision and achievements. He, in my opinion portrays a successful musician in a light which breeds positive images and thoughts about the music industry and serves as an amazing role model for the masses.

For more tracks and info on James Fauntleroy, you can check him out on his, Soundcloud and Twitter mentioned below.

Twitter: @fauntleroy


Words by @Raji_ASAP

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