Artist of the Week: Macy's iHeartRadio Rising Star, James Maslow

Hey, James Maslow here. First and very much foremost I need to thank every single fan who spent the last many weeks voting for me. I've said many times that I wouldn't be where I am without you all, but in this case I literally could not have won the 2017 Macy's iHeartRadio Rising Star competition without the hours and hours of work that you all put in. My fans won this for me and I am so grateful and humbled because of it. I love you guys and I promise that as long as you'll listen, I'll keep making music.

This journey has been more surreal and frankly bigger than I initially imagined. I'd heard of the competition of course, and even had friends that competed in it, but I was busy with my old band and the idea of me competing as a solo artist just didn't cross my mind. That is, until I found myself as an independent artist, with an album I created myself and no label or funding of any kind to get it out into the world. Then it hit me. As soon as iHeart mentioned the idea to me I was sold. What better way to start over than to put my music in the hands of the people and let them decide if it's good enough to be on the same stage as the biggest artists in the game?

This win for me is not only exciting, but reassuring. My album How I Like It is by far the most personal thing I have ever put out into the world, and I can't begin to tell you the anxiety and fear that comes along with that. What if people don't like it? How are people going to judge me for it? Hell, what's going to happen next? But seeing the reactions thus far, and especially winning the Macy's iHeartRadio Rising Star contest with it definitely puts some of those concerns aside. I'm more excited than I've ever been to keep going and cannot wait to play the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Festival in Vegas!

In fact, I'm already working on the creative for the show! I've been playing a stripped down show over the past few months with only one other musician and myself, but for this I'm going to step it up. I'm already toying with production on some of the songs, extending sections, remixing others, and working with some dancers to possibly add yet another element.I'm going to be on the same stage as the artists that I look up to, and have aspired to stand next to. It's my job to show them that I belong there. This is just the beginning.

- James Maslow