“James Baley delivers a message universal enough for the church, the club, or the vogue ballroom.” – The New Yorker
Today Juno Award-winning musician and multi-disciplinary artist James Baley releases the new single “Banishment” from his forthcoming album A Story available on September 24th, 2021. This single marks the re-emergence of James Baley into the spotlight after being recognized for supporting, writing and recording with a diverse range of celebrated Canadian-based artists including July Talk (Baley is credited as a co-writer/co-producer on their recent Juno-winning, Pray For It), Zaki Ibrahim, U.S. Girls, Badge Epoque Ensemble, and Azari, with whom he collaborated on “Gotasoul” garnering them a Juno Award nomination for Dance Recording of the Year in 2019.
Baley’s new single “Banishment” is an urgent, hard hitting track that fuses gospel vocals with house and ballroom sensibilities, and acts as a call to celebration of freedom for Black queer community members, and the need to break away. Banishment is also Baley’s first solo house/ballroom track and features guest Twysted Miyake-Mugler the celebrated Vogue performer and co-founder of the Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance. “[Banishment] is about being banished from the (religious) communities that raised you and moving through the mix of feelings that come with grief,” explains Baley. “In the context of this song, Banishment is not a punishment, but rather an opportunity to explore and move closer to one’s truth and destiny. Inspired by my queer experience, Banishment speaks to my journey and the consequences that come with choosing authenticity…it will get you up and leave you wanting more.” Despite the pandemic-fuelled challenges of 2020, Baley was still fortunate enough to be featured on one long-listed (Badge Époque Ensemble) and one short-listed (U.S. Girls) 2020 Polaris Music Prize album. During the spring of 2021 Baley stayed busy having released two singles (“Saviour”, “On My Mind”) from his forthcoming album A Story, and performed at Pride Toronto’s 40th anniversary closing ceremony. By sharing compelling stories through his vulnerable lyrics, Baley combines his R&B, gospel, and electronic music influences to create soulful and reflective dance tracks for the church, club and vogue ballroom.