James Fauntleroy has been doing more than his fair share to revive and revamp R&B fit for this generation of listeners. In past years there had been a bit of a dry spell within the genre; until fairly recently, R&B fans were growing increasingly annoyed with singers dropping tracks that sounded like trap-heavy, superficial rap.
It all changed when certain artists and songwriters released tunes that expanded the idea of what a ballad could sound like. Enter James Fauntleroy.
The Inglewood native consistently provides artists like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce and Rihanna with the lyrics that put them at the forefront of R&B. Fauntleroy’s songwriting skills have earned him four Grammys out of five nods. He’s provided vocals on everything from pop to hip-hop records, garnering the respect of fans across the board.
Most recently, he’s signed a global publishing contract with Reservoir, home to writers and artists like 2 Chainz, Statik Selektah, Joey Bada$$, WatchTheDuck and Migos’ Offset and Takeoff. Fauntleroy’s a very big deal.
And just in case there’s any remaining doubt, he was also the first songwriter to cop an Album of the Year award for his contribution to eight of the nine tracks on Bruno Mars’ 2017 LP 24K Magic.
“A great song,” he told Spotify, “is one that addresses the physical—that’s the music, the melody, all the things you hear that make you feel a certain way and then the spiritual part is the words, and if that sounds right and you get both of those things—then people are going to like it. That’s the secret.”