James Curran, better known as James the Mormon, collaborated with David Archuleta, singer and American Idol alumni, to “break the internet” with their song “Workin” which was released early this August.
Currran, 30, and Archuleta, 25, are both musicians and active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Their song “Workin” is not only for their professional careers, but a song to help get the word out about the LDS church. It is their form of missionary work. The idea was to get people from all over the world to stream and share the the music video for “Workin” and connect with people who are not of their same faith. With over 150,000 views on YouTube, and 1.5 million views and 23,000 shares on Facebook, Curran and Archuleta achieved their goal.
“This song is about working hard,” said Curran. Working hard is something that Curran is not a stranger to. Having traveled the world with his mother, a U.S. diplomat, Curran first heard rap, and hip hop music at age 14, while he was living in Maryland. It was in that moment that Curran connected with the African-American culture that is associated with rap and hip hop music. While traveling the world, Curran met many people of different ethnicities and cultures, but it was the rap and hip hop culture that spoke to Curran the most.
Since then, Curran has been #1 on the Billboard Top 100 list. He has had 300,000 views for his music video “Motivation”, and released his EP “I’m Not A Rapper” which hit the number one spot on iTunes this April
Despite his big accomplishments and success, Curran still remains humble and kind.
“I’m not a rapper, I’m still a nobody, and I still haven’t made it yet. I’m just having fun.”
Curran’s goal for his music is to be able to relate to people who are not of his same faith. He wants to make music that everyone can listen to, that doesn’t sound like typical religious music, but that also leaves out profane and offensive language.
“Mormon rap would sound terrible,” he said.
When asked about his rapper name, “James the Mormon”, Curran recalled a time in his life when he was serving as an LDS missionary in the Everett, Washington mission. “I ran into Mormons who were ashamed to be Mormon. I vowed I would never be ashamed to [be a Mormon].”
After he got home from his mission, Curran changed all of his social media usernames to “James the Mormon”.
Neither Curran nor Archuleta are ashamed of being Mormon. They want to relate to people, without pushing their faith on others. Music is a common ground that everyone can enjoy, and relate to each other through. With their success and praise for “Workin”, both Curran and Archuleta’s careers can only go one way, up.