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Vivian James Is Redefining Chicago House

Written by on November 24, 2020

Vivian James is a Chicago-based, House music centered project from local musician Cedric Tate. From spinning tracks as a DJ to playing in a funk band, Tate began exploring his roots in 80s house music under the name Vivian James in 2014.

We chatted with Tate about his inspirations, the house music scene and what listeners can look for in the future …


What part of Chicago are you from?

Vivian James was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago.

What’s your experience in the Chicago music scene been like? Do you feel like being a part of it has influenced your style or creative process?

Inspirational but with plenty of ups and downs as to be expected. Being a part of the house scene has definitely influenced my style and process. I was a DJ during the early 80’s house music scene. WBMX and The Hot Mix 5 ruled!

What inspired you to begin making music?

Always been into music in some shape or form – again, from being a DJ to actually becoming a bassist. I started writing in the early 2000’s and formed a funk-rock band called Room 11. But I still had a fondness for house music and knew I would eventually develop a separate project featuring the genre. Vivian James was born in 2014.

“Look @ Me Imma Star” feels very reminiscent of 80s house music. Are there any specific musicians who have influenced your style?

As I mentioned, 80’s house music is definitely a heavy influence. Jamie Principle, Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles and the likes were my heroes.

Do you prefer to stick to one specific style or do you like to switch things up?

House music is the main focus, but I will also track release soul, funk and new wave!

What was your favorite song growing up?

Impossible to pick ONE favorite. But upon reading the question, “Human Nature” by M.J. instantly came to mind. I remember walking with my boom-box in the late fall with that song on repeat!

How have you been staying creative lately?

Writing and recording as much as possible. Seeing that the entire country is in a brand new survival mode these days 

Aside from making music, what do you do in your free time?

Big movie buff and avid sports fan. Particularly basketball and boxing. 

What artist or artists do you have on repeat right now?

Easy one. Prince, Michael Jackson, D’Angelo and Parliament/Funkadelic.

What should listeners expect from you going forward?

Collaborating with various artists! Recording more House music! And again, I will be featuring Soul, Funk & New Wave as well. The latest single entitled “Always & 4ever” (another House track) is streaming on Soundcloud NOW! The next song entitled “Ur Soul,” a soul/funk track, will be released on Soundcloud Dec. 11.


Follow Vivian James on Instagram and stream new tracks on Soundcloud below…

Edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca