Freda James recently moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, NY. The musician and singer turns her experiences into intriguing songs and she doesn’t shy away from anything. Her lyrics ‘always come from a truthful land where all the feels mingle’, she explains.
You can find her latest music on Spotify and connect with her on Instagram, which she uses as a creative outlet: ‘I post a lot on Instagram, because it’s the one platform you can express all forms of art, not just music. You can give people a little peephole into your world.’ Freda is also on Facebook and Soundcloud.
Do you have any packing tips?
I feel like we always pack more clothes than we end up wearing. So I’d say make sure you have the basics and your favorites. Maybe pre-plan outfit combos, to really see what you need. A basic white tee and black jeans can go a long way with two different jacket choices.
What do you wear when you travel?
On a plane, I will wear cozy black slacks, Adidas sneakers, with a comfy sweater. My style is pretty basic, which I feel just highlights my natural self. High waisted black jeans, maybe even a vintage Levi’s, with a tucked in basic tee. I recently got a pair of leather oxfords and have been wearing them with anything. Super comfortable and boyish.
Best things to buy in the Duty Free?
I would have to say a nice bottle of bourbon. Upon arriving in a new city, this would be a great gift for whoever’s spot you’re crashing at while away, or perhaps upon getting back into your own city, for a friend picking you up from the airport…
Which three items do you always have in your carry-on?
A book, currently I’m reading “The Goldfinch.” Headphones for music. Pen and paper.
And what’s in your suitcase? Three things you always bring.
I love bringing my tarot cards, always a special time reading them with friends. A disposable camera, which collects photos and then sits around for years, to age just right, always a surprise to see what’s on them. And of course a really comfy sweater, that I could live in for days if need be.
What are you watching/listening to/reading on the plane?
I don’t have TV at home so I’m always drawn into watching reality shows on the plane. Watching MTV or VH1 music videos is always a good time.
How do you stay connected on the road? Roaming, second SIM card, portable wi-fi hotspot?
I feel like when I am out of my city, I want to spend less time connected virtually, and really absorb the people and places around me. I guess coffee shops that have wifi if I need to send an email or upload music. I love coffee!
And how do you stay in contact with your loved ones? Phone calls, social media, postcards?
I should start sending postcards, I really love that. I usually collect a lot of photos and notes and tell the story of my trip in person when back home. My friends insist that I’m a really good story teller. Hmm.
Is there something that always makes you feel at home wherever you are?
Music. I feel Beach House really grounds me when I feel sort of alone or in need of something familiar. Their albums have always been around, playing at different moments in my life, so it’s always a warm nostalgia
What’s a dream destination of yours? Have you been?
I would love to go to Brazil or Spain. I’ve always been intrigued by both countries. Growing up and learning Spanish from those old 80’s language books, with staged photos of people smiling and hanging around Spain in the sun. Always felt so warm and welcoming. And Brazil is just so exotic and full of people that truly love music, I would love to create or perform music their.
What was your last trip? Where are you going next?
I went to upstate NY with a group of girl friends. We rented a humble little house for the weekend that had a wrap around porch high up in the foliage of lush trees. There is this beautiful ancient air lingering upstate, that feels vacant and preserved.
The best souvenir?
Probably an object that reminds you of a certain moment or great part of the trip. Could be bought, given or stolen I suppose. On a trip upstate with a group of close friends, we all brought back white sticks that had been smoothed out into perfect form by the ocean.
Listen to Freda’s new single ‘Warrior’
Freda’s tips for Los Angeles
I’m new here so it’s been a lot of exploration for me. I also have to Uber everywhere because I don’t have a car yet. So I take share rides often and meet really interesting people, lots of artists.
I love going to Runyon Canyon by myself, for a hike. You work up a sweat and get to see some cool sights from up high. Cleansing the mind and body all at once. Also, you see an array of dogs, running freely!
When I need to get out of the house and work on music, emails, and visuals, I go downtown to Verve cafe. I have this special connection to parts of downtown because it feels like home (NYC) and being so far from the East coast, it helps keep me grounded. Verve is full of lovely employees and just feels super cozy, I need that when working away from home.
I love Malibu’s beaches, I’ve been soaking up summer time there. Serene terrain and curvy rocks that follow far down the coast. Going with a group of good pals is ideal. Lots of sand throwing and splashing in the water.
At night, if I’m in a mellow wine mood I usually pop in Bar 1642, it’s a hidden gem in my neighborhood. Live jazz and worldly old sounds beaming about in a small candle lit bar. I’ve freestyled there a few weeks ago to a quick jazz pianist. Intimate and as cozy as a home. If I’m looking for more of a night with mezcal and dancing, I’ll check out Harvard and Stone. Live bands playing while burlesque dancers twirl around them on stage and in the upper levels.
For food, I find Speranza to be on point with ambiance and food. The main seating, in the garden, is intimate and warmly lit with hanging lights. I’ll go there with a group of friends and we’ll share mains and bottles of wine. Feels like that cozy Italian family forward dinner experience.