Discovering James Alyn: The Story and Inspiration Behind “Now and Ever”

The year is 2022. I absentmindedly pressed shuffle on my R&B mix on Spotify, and suddenly, the chillest beat I have yet to recognise started playing through my headphones. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how I was introduced to HYBS. Their song Dancing with My Phone opened the floodgates and sent me down the band’s rabbit hole. It was through HYBS, that I was reintroduced to James Alyn

While I had been a casual listener of his, I was unaware of the full extent of his talents at the time. If you’re a fan of HYBS, you would know that the now-defunct duo split up in early 2024 and have since started their ventures as solo artists. James, in particular, has just released his debut single Now and Ever, which in my humble opinion, deserves a spot in everyone’s repeat rotation. 

I had the honour of having a quick chat with the singer, who so graciously let me probe into his life. So, if you’re in the mood, we can tiptoe through the mind of uber-talented singer-songwriter James Alyn and his newest single, Now and Ever! I’ll be ready when you are.


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Before we jump headfirst into James’ newest single, it would do us much good to understand him as an artist. It’s no surprise that the singer grew up in a musical household. He says, “As a kid, I grew up with my dad playing only Paul McCartney songs and my brother playing blues guitar. I wanted to jam and join in this music jamming thing I got going.” Although I fancy myself more a George Harrison girl, it does sound like a fun household to have grown up in. 

Given how musically inclined his family is, it’s no surprise that James pursued his passion for music at an incredibly young age. “At the age of 16, I started to write my own songs. It started with just wanting to play music, and writing is something that I can do. I learnt to love it so much that it’s become my life, really. I still love it. I’m still going for the dream.” he added. 

As someone whose relationship with music ended in a messy breakup thanks to my inability to excel at the piano, I can’t help but admire James’ refreshing outlook on music. Everyone I know gave up on their musical talents (or lack thereof) at a young age, but hearing someone gush over their romance with it is weirdly endearing. 

Little did James know, this would just be the beginning of his career as a beloved singer.

His Time As A Member of HYBS

Even though James had built himself a dedicated fanbase during his initial time as a solo artist, his time as part of HYBS shot him into a whole new stratosphere of fame. From 2021 to 2024, HYBS was a duo consisting of James and Karn Kasidej, responsible for hits like Ride, Killer and Tip Toe. 

The pair were insanely popular and found a place in the hearts of millions with their chill and retro beats. It’s unlikely you’ve never heard of their songs, but if you’ve been living under a rock for the past three years, do yourself a favour and give them a listen – I promise, you will not regret it. 

James shared, “HYBS was really a project that started during COVID. Actually, it really started with me and Karn wanting to make Instagram Reels, just a short clip of us jamming. But it really took off, and lots of fans really liked it.” Speaking as a fan, we more than just liked it. Their songs reminded me a lot of the golden era of Indie music. I’m talking about 2017 to 2018 Indie, when bands like Peach Pit had everyone in a chokehold.  

“HYBS is definitely a special experience for me because it really just opened so many doors, and I was able to travel to so many countries, meet so many fans, collaborate with so many great artists and perform on music festival stages that I never thought I’d be able to perform on. It just went beyond anything I expected,” he added.

But of course, we know how the story plays out. In January 2024, HYBS shocked all of us with the announcement of their disbandment. “HYBS was really not meant to be long term. Both me and Karn have different paths that we’d like to pursue. So yeah, once HYBS, the period that we decided to work for ended, we just sort of went our separate ways. I think it’s all good. We grow from things like being on our own or working with other people. It’s all part of growing as an artist.” James went on to say. 

The tale of HYBS is one of a serendipitous moment. I’m sure no one could have guessed that two singers wanting to showcase their jam sessions on social media would have led to HYBS’s impact on both of their solo careers. “I really miss working with Karn, and it was really fun. I felt like I really grew from being in HYBS. I still really love working with other people as well.” James said. 

James started as a solo act before he was part of HYBS. So it was more of a homecoming than a whole new adventure for him after HYBS ended. When asked about his return to his musical roots, James said, “It’s something that I’m familiar with, but also, it’s a change because I didn’t work with a lot of people like I did with anyone back then.” 

He continued, “And right now, it’s the same thing. I write alone, but when I finish writing, I still love to work with producers and arrangers and musicians and still have that creative back and forth kind of second opinion and bouncing ideas with all of those people.”

Now and Ever

Of course, the whole reason we were there to chat with James was to hear from the man himself about his newest single, Now and Ever, released on 11 June 2024. The song has been playing on repeat for me since it dropped – it’s just that good. It sounds like a song that would play at the end credits of a 90’s romcom. Think When Harry Met Sally, or She’s All That. 

As soon as the song plays and the guitar riff starts, you’re hit with a wave of nostalgia that you can’t seem to place your finger on. But the gnawing nostalgia I experienced was satisfied by James’ explanation of his single, “I’m really into The Beatles and vintage retro vibes and real instruments. So that was sort of the way we went with this song. I think it really complements the soul of it.” There it was! To me, the intro of Now and Ever has the tiniest smidge of the intro of Ticket to Ride by The Beatles.

It’s that song you’d use your shampoo bottle as a makeshift microphone for in the shower or the background music you’d secretly dance to in your room. It has this sense of lightness and simplicity, all while being a great love song. 

James shared the inspiration behind his new single: “The line ‘Now and Ever’ came to me during HYBS’ last farewell concert. I really felt like I wanted to cherish the moment, cherish the fans, the team and everyone. Now and forever really meant something to me. So I started with just one line. And then I wrote everything else from personal feelings and experience after that.”

“And like I said, I would write the song, and then I would work with so many talented producers and arrangers and musicians, which was really fun. I got to be in all the processes from scratch, from arranging to mixing to mastering to engineering. We got to experiment with lots of different genres that we’ve never done before. We recorded very Beatle-ish drums and guitar lines. So it was quite a journey.” he added. 

Music experimentation is never an easy process. Experimenting with music is like trying to count the stars – there are infinite possibilities. I always thought it would be a taxing process toying with the endless ways one can play with a song, but apparently, I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

In James’ case, he shared that the process was more inspiring than tiring. “It’s very inspiring for me. It’s actually what keeps me motivated and enjoying music. I just love to try things that I’ve never tried before, push myself creatively, and come up with something fresh and something new that I’m proud of. I’m always open to new genres and styles and people to work with.”


If you listened to Now and Ever and felt like you heard elements of some of your favourite artists, it’s probably not your ears fooling you. Given James’ affinity for experimenting with music, it comes as no surprise that he pulls inspiration from a ton of artists. Obviously, Paul McCartney and the rest of the Fab Four make the list, but it doesn’t stop there! The list includes Billie Eilish, the band PREP (which James recently opened for), Harry Styles, and so much more. James even went so far as to express that his dream collaborations would be with PREP and Billie Eilish. 

I was wracking my brain thinking of how these artists all overlap and inspire a song like Now and Ever, but James shared that while the artists themselves may not be very similar, it’s the genres that overlap that shape his own musical style. 

“I think it’s fascinating that nowadays you can create whatever with just one computer. Genres and styles just mix so much nowadays that it’s hard to tell them apart. And I think it’s just great how music evolves. I think it’s just natural for us to feel inspired and not be afraid to mix whatever with whatever makes us enjoy what we’re making,” he said.

For those who didn’t know, James is a Thai-Singaporean. I had first heard of him through his collaboration with Billy Chuchat, the guitarist of another wildly famous Thai group, Tilly Birds. Because he was singing a Thai song, I had no idea that James made English music, until I was reintroduced to him through HYBS.

It was only fair that I asked him to namedrop some Thai and Singaporean artists who have inspired him throughout his career, to which he replied, “Oh, there’s a lot. I think the Thai indie scene is really booming right now, like Tilly Birds and Anatomy Rabbit. They’re all so great, and I get inspired from them all the time.”

He went on to share that while he isn’t super versed in the realm of Singaporean artists, he found himself lucky enough to work with Singaporean R&B trio brb., where he added, “They are super, super talented, cool guys, and I love them dearly.”

When asked how he takes inspiration from such a wide range of artists, James said, “ I just appreciate whatever these guys do. There’s so many talented musicians out there, and I feel listening to them is just food for my brain. It motivates and inspires me. I don’t really think about it consciously, but I believe whatever I’m exposed to results in my writing. So I always want to expose myself as much to great music.” said like a true champ!

As a fan of English and Thai music, I feel artists like James have yet to receive as much praise as they deserve. The majority of us know how it feels to be bilingual. But to be able to write songs in both languages is a feat that not many can say they have conquered. I, for one, already struggle with writing a short story in Mandarin, let alone a whole song!

I was always under the impression that one’s creative process differs when making a song in a different language, and thanks to James, my suspicions have been confirmed. “Thai is [a] very tonal language, so it’s a little bit more restrictive when you put lyrics to melodies. Sometimes it doesn’t work because when the tone changes, it means different things. So writing lyrics and melodies in Thai is more restrictive. Whereas in English, it’s not as restrictive. So I always preferred to write in English.”

But of course, he concluded it by saying that at the end of the day, it’s about creating whatever you like and enjoy, which truly are wise words.

Parting Words

Discovering James Alyn: The Story and Inspiration Behind "Now and Ever": Parting Words
Now and Ever, you blow my mind; you’re extraordinary! Oh, you should be mine!

It’s evident that an artist as talented as James has a bright future ahead of him. Thankfully for all of us, the end of HYBS didn’t signify the end of hearing the members’ music — it truly is the start of a new era for both of them, and it’s only getting bigger and better from here!

But why hear it from me when you can hear it from James himself, who said, “ I’m super excited because I’m writing new songs all the time, and I’m definitely working on new material. I’m excited about my new songs because it’s sort of a change for me. I’m trying different things, experiencing different styles, different genres. So I’m super nervous and excited to let all my fans, hear the songs. So definitely, there’s something down the line.”

We can all heave a sigh of relief as we thank the music Gods for blessing us with more amazing music!

Listen to Alyn’s newest single, “Now and Ever”!

And with that, you’ve just read the A to Z of James Alyn! Continue to show him your support by streaming his music on Spotify and his official YouTube account, as well as following him on Instagram as he continues to evolve and surprise us with his creativity.

James’ passion for music and dedication to his craft certainly shines through in every note he plays, and I know we can’t wait to see where this exciting new chapter will take him. So, stay tuned, keep your playlists updated, and be ready to witness the rise of an artist who will leave his indelible mark on the music world. Here’s to James Alyn and the many musical masterpieces yet to come!

Visual courtesy of Linch.

Jillian Metta Lau

Bookworm by day, concert maven by night, and an avid dreamer longing to trade pages for passports and explore the globe's symphony of cultures.

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