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Idaho music composer finding success at age 15

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Mar. 3, 2017 at 8:04 p.m.

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MONTPELIER, Idaho — Music and the piano are a passion for 15-year-old James Farmer.

“It’s coming to be the point now where it’s like hard for me to go to bed without practicing at least a little bit,” James said. “There's days where I'll spend like the whole day, pretty much, either at the piano, or switching back and forth from the piano to listening to someone playing on the piano."

He started playing at age 6, but it wasn't until he was 11 that his piano teacher took him to a William Joseph concert.

“I was just so amazed that he had created those things and was able to play them with an orchestra,” James recalled. “And I was just so inspired that when I came home, I immediately started writing songs.”

What he likes most about writing music, he said, is that it belongs to him and he can change it. “It’s my creation pretty much from scratch,” he said.

Three to four months after that concert, he was writing his first song and started writing a second song when he found out that Joseph, an internet sensation, was conducting a workshop in Logan.

At that workshop, he got to play one of his originals for Joseph. James said Joseph liked his work so much that he talked to James' dad afterward and they arranged lessons by Skype. James took lessons for about two years and learned how to compose.

“The day finally came, he was in Pocatello, and he asked if I’d like to play with him on stage, and I said, ‘Yes!’ It was a dream come true,” James said.

Since then, the teen has shot some YouTube videos of his own with the help of Ark Studios. One of the videos was for the song “Enchanted.”

“Probably the hardest part of writing a song is coming up with a name for it actually, because you have to analyze the process you went through with it, and how you think it makes you feel,” he said.

And ARK studios recently shot another video with him, currently in post-production, for “Fireside Dance," a song from the movie "Oz, the Great and Powerful." It’s a song that’s very personal for James.

“My cousin, Ian Porter, who passed away, it was kind of a memory for him because he was a really good ballroom dancer,” James said. “He was very passionate about it.”

It's a passion James shares in feeling the music, in telling a story, or sharing an expression. "I'm really glad I've been able to share it with as many people as I have and I want to share it with more people,” he said. “Opportunities seem to come to me lately, and I’m excited to see what’s coming up next, too.”

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc


Mike Anderson


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