Son of James fight back against Asian-Canadian hate with the heartfelt new single and video Mama Never Told Me — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Dripping with heart and soul, Mama Never Told Me is a sonically smooth experience filled with sweet guitar playing and stellar saxophone work. Rich embellishments reveal themselves in the form of brilliant piano playing and soaring vocal performances. But the beating heart of the song shares a relatable tale about the most important woman in our life.
Mama Never Told Me was born when Son of James founder Shon Wong noticed the alarming increase in Asian hate crimes during the pandemic. “The vigilante in me prayed that an attack on an Asian woman would happen right in front of me so I could exact vengeance for that woman right then and there.”
As if the world had stopped for that moment, the sudden realization of his mother’s own experience came flooding into view. “Knowing what my mom and many other immigrant Asian mothers sacrificed and endured to make a life in a foreign country. It made me think of all things my mom never told me about her struggle until my father passed when I was 20.”
Fast forward to the month before Mother’s Day, and all of the elements seemed to fall into place for a musical tribute worthy of all mothers. The lyrics practically poured out onto the page. A talented group of musicians brought the recording to life, including guitarist/bassist/pianist Adam Richards, accomplished cellist Michelle Kwan, and percussionist Jason Overy. Jonathan Reichert’s slick guitar fills, and Eric Tsang’s hypnotic saxophone work hits you right as Jackie Nguyen breaks your heart with her enchanting vocal work. These elements are brought together to create a rhythmic synthesis between art and life previously inexperienced by audiences.
Wong was bitten by the artistic bug from a young age through his grandfather’s career as a professional Chinese opera actor. His early life was spent practising martial arts and physically training himself to deal with bullies who plagued him. When faced with the tragic loss of his father, Wong found solace and comfort in music. While in China, his drum and guitar lessons would be the catalyst to managing grief and reclaiming his life. A long and winding road littered with more tragedy would lead his to form Son of James and proudly represent his heritage through a combination of Asian instrumentation and rock ’n’ roll, developing his signature Chynatruckerfunk sound in the process.