Feature: Patrick James Embraces Self-Reliance on Nostalgic, Autobiographical, & Heartfelt Sophomore LP ‘I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself’

Patrick James © 2022
Patrick James © 2022
Sydney-based singer/songwriter Patrick James dives into his sweetly soaring, softly stunning second album ‘I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself,’ a beautifully cathartic, uplifting, timeless, and vulnerable beacon of inner light.
Stream: “Where Will I Be?” – Patrick James

Thanks to his music, you don’t necessarily have to meet Patrick James in order to understand who he is on a visceral, human level.

The Australian singer/songwriter wears his heart on his sleeve in every song, sharing his deepest thoughts and feelings through an array of beautifully warm, tender, and soul-stirring music. His is the kind of songwriting that aches with an indelible human touch; the kind that draws you near and holds you close until the very end – and nowhere is this more powerfully felt than on James’ sophomore album, which celebrates its one-year anniversary in a month’s time. A sweetly soaring, softly stunning intimate reckoning, I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself is Patrick James’ beautifully cathartic and vulnerable beacon of inner light. As catchy as it is comforting, it’s a no-holds-barred record of life in motion and life on pause: Of the little moments that come to mean so much; of our comings and goings; of our long days and even longer nights.

I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself - Patrick James
I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself – Patrick James
When the dust rearranges 
I wanna be someone 
Who’s always changing 
cause stuff reappears 
and has a knack of finding 
A way right back to you 
Where will I be?  I don’t know 
Where will I be? 
In 5 years  or maybe next year 
I wanna see your face 
I wanna see your face 
And wave at you 
Like we were strangers 
I’ll look the same but 
You’ll look amazing
– “Where Will I Be?,” Patrick James

Independently released March 4, 2022, Patrick James’ sophomore album is a ten-track plunge into the artist’s innermost psyche: Arriving several years, EPs, and mixtapes after the Sydney-based singer/songwriter’s 2016 debut album Outlier, the evocatively-titled I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself is at once expansive and insular, stretching James’ sonic footprint while delving unapologetically into reflections on identity, personal growth, intimate connection, romance, and more. It’s an emotional roller-coaster filled with heartfelt piano ballads, impassioned guitar-driven power-ballads, and radiant pop anthems, each of which hits hard and leaves a lasting mark.

Patrick James © 2022
Patrick James © 2022

For James, this is him at his most autobiographical and nostalgic. He explains how delving into his past helped him further understand his present self.

“I think it’s hard to put into one defined story at this stage,” James says of his album. “The songs themselves came over the time period of about 3-4 years so a lot has happened in that time, both personally and in the world in general. I knew I wanted to make an album that was pretty reflective at some point, meaning kind of an introverted look at how I’ve grown up since the age of around 18 until now. Living in Sydney, coming from a small town.”

“I feel like as the title suggests, if I was to say one broad thing about the record, it is probably that throughout my 20s I learnt that one of the most important things is to be self-reliant, and the songs kind of take a journey through that idea to get to the very last song and title track, ‘I’ll take care of myself, if you take care of yourself.’ I don’t mean that statement of self-reliance as a ‘self help’ annoying thing, it’s more like after having certain people in my life like mentors, or family members and friends, things become clearer overtime about how if you are a certain way in your life, hopefully you’ll attract that in other people and it will be almost like a mirror of other like minded souls that make up the friends and relationships. Some of the record is pretty autobiographical in certain songs, so it takes a while to get to the point of the album but hopefully people get it at the end!”

“My vision going into this record was to make a collection of songs that in a round about way sums up my 20s,” he adds. “There is a lot of autobiographical content in the lyrics and to me it was really nice to be able to write from a removed perspective, things that happened a while ago and things that I’m learning now about myself and about people around me. Hopefully it’s just another step into my catalogue of existing music. I don’t really see it as a defining record for my own work; I just see it more like it’s a record summing up my 20s the best way I could, and hopefully people can relate to that very thing. I think in terms of production, it’s my favourite thing we’ve done (my writing and production partner Scott Steven), and I just had a lot of fun making it. Because sometimes certain albums or EPs are more forced or just too overthought. We had a lot of time to work on this and that felt freeing. I hope that it gives people a taste of a few different things, the more subtle songwriting and then the more pop, slicker sounding recorded work the the batch of songs has.”

Patrick James © 2022
Patrick James © 2022

We should note an important distinction between an album being introspective and confessional in that sense, and music being brooding – for while James’ music is absolutely the former, it is not always the latter. I’ll Take Care of Myself… vacillates between cinematic, epic highs, tempered, emotive lows, and everything in-between. The album’s title reflects James’ expressed theme of self-reliance, which sincerely pops up throughout the record in both explicit and implicit ways.

“For the first time I actually had the title in my head for a while,” he explains. “When I finally wrote the song for the title it just all made sense in a structured way sitting with the rest of the songs, and the story of the album was sort of more defined. I like the title because when I hear it, I almost see a physical mirror in my mind. To me, that was a real symbol of the songs and something I could definitely make sense of.”

I’ll take care of myself for you babe 
If you take care of yourself  for me 
I’ll take care of myself for you babe 
If you take care of yourself  for me 
But we’re running back in time 
Got me spinning in my mind 
I’ll take care of myself for you babe 
If you take care of yourself  for me 
Isn’t it magic 
They way you walk into the room 
I am always staring at you 
Looking right through 
The window glass 
Isn’t it magic 
The way you tell me 
What’s on your mind 
Leaving me no surprises 
Hiding nothing at all 
– “I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself,” Patrick James

Patrick James © 2022
Patrick James © 2022

While this song and its closure make for a fitting finale, I’ll Take Care of Myself is filled with moments of lyrical wonder and sonic gold. Opener “Where Will I Be?” is an instant highlight, its effervescent, buoyant, and glistening sonics bursting with bright energy as James candidly ponders his present and future. Few of us truly know where we’ll be in five years, but in asking the question here, the artist commits a kind of forward-facing self-awareness to record in a song that looks to the future not with fear or trepidation, but rather with excitement and wonder. And while James’ songwriting isn’t always so light and easy, he effectively sets the scene with a strain of optimism and hope that continues to glow in the following tracks “Way Back Down” and “Into Your Arms,” two more easy favorites.

Further notable songs include the penultimate track “Atmosphere,” an achingly expressive ballad that would give folks like Keane, Snow Patrol, and Coldplay a run for their money, and “Matter of Time,” a gorgeous power-pop song brimming with sincerity, devotion, and raw joie de vivre.

Two in the afternoon 
I’m laying next to you 
It doesn’t feel right 
It’s only natural 
That I would talk to you 
We didn’t wanna make a change 
I only wanna find a way 
Break me down 
Take me somewhere only I know 
I’m, falling down 
But I know I’m lucky now 
Fuck me up 
Turn my heart into an open book 
Break me down
So I know I’m lucky now 
It’s only a matter of time 
Yeah it’s only a matter of time 

“‘Matter of Time’ is a fun song that came the easiest,” James says on the topic of favorites. “It was just super fun to record and make and was one of those moments where you sort of forget about time and just create. Those songs always seem to be the best.”

Meanwhile as a lyricist, he’s quick to highlight the words on ’16 Hours.’ “I think because it is pretty autobiographical, it has a nostalgic feel for me,” he says of that track. “Kind of describing very vivid memories I had when I was younger transitioning into Sydney and figuring myself out. I like it because it instantly takes me back to that place in time and I think that it’s a song that I could never have written 1 or 2 years after that stage in my life. It needed to be 10 years, for example, or enough to feel like those years had a different version of myself to now.”

16 hours on a bus
To central station
Waiting for an hour
Till I get better reception
To tell you that I miss you
And I’m really really sorry
Okay, it’s gonna be okay
‘Cause I got drunk  in the middle of the party
Jesse said I acted  like a dick to everybody
I put my self right to bed  and I lost you again
Does it hurt really bad 
When everything changes around you 
I’m moving into the city 
Gonna make something of myself 
I’m getting out of the suburbs 
Gonna see me in a different light 
But I’ll be alright
– “16 Hours (In the City),” Patrick James
Patrick James © 2022
Patrick James © 2022

Patrick James has outdone himself with a record that shines as bold and beautifully today as it did upon its initial release.

I’ll Take Care of Myself… is ultimately an uplifting, energizing adventure through our past and present; one that explores the highs and lows of physical and temporal change through timeless pop melodies and intimate musical moments that are sure to stand the test of time. Wearing his heart so sincerely on his sleeve, James inspires us to live authentically – being true to ourselves about who we are and how we got here – while embracing our futures with arms wide open.

The path isn’t always easy, but music like this helps us feel a little less alone in this world.

“I hope people can just reflect about their own time growing up and becoming slightly older and wiser,” James shares. “It would be cool if listeners can share a similar sort of experience that I’ve written about, one where they can say ‘oh yeah that happened to me’ or ‘I know that feeling, and I get it’. In a lot of ways, it kind of feels like my first album again. Almost the second part of my career. Maybe COVID has done that to artists as there was such a long break, but I definitely feel like I’m starting again and that’s exciting.” 

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Patrick James’ I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself with Atwood Magazine as the singer/songwriter goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his sophomore LP!

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:: stream/purchase Patrick James here ::
‘I’ll Take Care of Myself…’ – Patrick James

:: Inside I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself ::

I’ll Take Care of Myself, If You Take Care of Yourself - Patrick James

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Where Will I Be?

I wanted the record to open in a somewhat energetic and explosive way. This song was one of the early tracks I wrote for the record and kind of sets up the rest of the structure of the album in terms of lyrical content. Asking ‘WHERE WILL I BE, IN 5 YEARS’? As I was still discovering what direction the songs were going to go, I thought this was a good rhetorical question to ask to start with. I like playing this song live with a band, it’s good fun and feels like I’m 18 again.

Way Back Down

This is a song that I wrote back in 2017/18 so I’ve had it for a while. It went through a few incarnations when it came to the recording but overall we landed on a song that feels very 90’s with some midi/electronic drums. So there was always going to be that marriage of the melody and the production coming together. It’s a song I could have probably played just on piano or guitar but the little beat helped move the song along.

Into Your Arms

Probably the song with the biggest statement of the album. It’s a song about loss and vulnerability and I think that the crescendo of the overall piece feels pretty raw and emotional. With this kind of lyric, it was always going to be grand and cinematic . Really had a good time arranging the string parts for this tune and was sort of the glue that stuck it all together in the end.

Here We Are

Here we are was the very first song I wrote for this album, a long time ago. It actually almost ended up on other releases but never really made sense lyrically. It’s a song about retrospectively looking back on my youth and imagining my future, and what that would be. Definitely created a bit of a scene with the Australia lyric and referring back to pubs and bars in the middle of nowhere. I hoped to make this song pretty universal even though it was very much set in Australia.


Probably the most under-thought song on the record. That was definitely a good thing though as we didn’t want to lose the sentiment and meaning behind the lyrics. We recorded it one day and the following day it was recorded the way it is heard now. At first, I was a bit hesitant on the lyrics and the idea of writing a song about how ‘grateful’ I was. It seemed a little cliche and obvious but I think with songwriting, if something arrives genuinely and organically it will work. So I stuck with it and didn’t really change a thing.

16 Hours (In the City)

A very autobiographical song about moving to Sydney when I was 18, finished school and full of wonder and awe about what my life was going to be like. Having grown up in a small coastal town, I always had a bit of a hunch on my shoulders about moving somewhere that was the centre of all the action. I don’t know if it was ambition, naivety, or maybe both. I do know that when I used to sit on those trains to come into town to busk or play a gig or see a girl, I always thought I was going to take over the music scene haha… how amazing and thrilling being young and youthful can be. If I have learnt something, it is that being young and full of ideas and confidence is so important to use in your favour. Great things can happen. This song is meaningful to me in this way.

Matter of Time

One of my favourites on the album as it’s just a full band, fun and carefree moment. The lyrics have their own meaning but I like this song more for the production and the sonic moments. I think my producer and I had a good time making it as it came late in the process of making the record and sometimes feel like when it’s least expected, a good song will arrive. Definitely inspired by the likes of The Corrs with a touch of Elton John in the piano part.

I Am Your Brother

I grew up with two brothers, we used to play cricket, surf and get into all sorts of wrestling matches. I feel like the meaning of this is too obvious to talk about so I’ll just say it’s about having bro’s.


Ever since I can remember I’ve always had a thing with space. If i wasn’t a musician I’d definitely be an astronaut. I clearly don’t have the intellectual mind but a boy can dream. Socially, probably one of my favourite moments on the record as it just feels like it’s literally floating away. That’s the best way I can describe it. There are very free and weightless feelings to this song and I really kind of feel like I wrote it with an imaginary version of myself looking down onto the earth, just seeing it all play out. This song makes me feel very small and insignificant, but in a good way. Beauty in fragility kind of thing.

I’ll take care of myself, if you take care of yourself.

The title track of the album. Definitely a pop moment to finish the record, which is intentional. I had the title of the album a long time ago but didn’t have the song as I was looking for a way to say that title without saying it so obviously. But once we found the correct bit of music, it just seemed to work. It’s a fun one to end on and has a bit of electric guitar solo moments in there, which is a nod of the head to some early inspirations I had as a kid growing up playing some blues and soul music.

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