When approaching his 30th year, it’s only natural for a fellow to reflect on how far he’s come. “My first musical memory,” says Philly singer-songwriter Aiden James, “is being 4 or 5 years old and trying to play Richard Marx’s ‘I’ll be Right Here Waiting for You’ on my Casio Muppet Babies keyboard.” But 25 years and several muscles later, the dedicated musician can boast playing 11 big-boy instruments, many of which (yes, even the ukulele) appear on his latest album, Trouble With This.
When it was self-released in January, Trouble reached No. 28 on iTunes’ Top 100 Singer-Songwriter chart, which, the out-and-proud artist says, was especially validating considering he had control of every aspect of its creation — from writing and producing to the conceptualization and design of the album’s Philly-skyline-splashed cover art.
Based in folk and Americana, the work has an undeniably country-tinged twee sound — imagine Taylor Swift if she wooed her way into the body of a young, strapping bear daddy. On his first single, the infectious “Best Shot,” he sings giddily about “finding love in the Big Apple,” and “Lullaby” is a precious little tune in which he begs his boyfriend to sing him off to sleep.
To celebrate his big 3-0, he’s dropping a cover of his birthday twin Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” which, he told us exclusively, will appear on his upcoming EP compilation of diva covers, Girl Songs. He’s also performing a birthday-weekend show at his “favorite hometown venue,” Tin Angel, where, he says, guests can feel free to “bring me a boyfriend and a cupcake.”