We had the good fortune of connecting with James Mills and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi James, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I spent a lot of time working in food service. Waiting tables late into the night to pay my way through college, and continued working “normal” jobs at desks in offices for a few years after graduating and moving to Phoenix. These jobs paid the bills, but they always felt like a waste of time.
No matter what, I’ve always been happiest working on something that was entirely my own. I wanted to spend my time using my creativity for something productive.
I’ve owned several other business in the past: including a mobile recording studio and a hip-hop jewelry store.
Even when my businesses were struggling to get off the ground, it always felt fulfilling to use my creative mind and business sense to build something new.
Paragon Booking has been the ultimate union between my passion for music and my love for creative value-forward businesses. I love discovering up-and-coming artists, helping musicians grow their careers, and helping bars, restaurants, and resorts create unique, fun atmospheres that set them apart from the crowd.
What should our readers know about your business?
Paragon Booking is the perfect marriage between my full-time gigging music career and my love for business.
I’ve spent the last 7 years as a full-time musician in Arizona with my band People Who Could Fly. We’ve had the honor and privilege to travel all around the Southwest performing our music with bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Weezer, Rick Springfield, and The Commodores.
I’m fortunate to have networked with the best bar/restaurants owners, promoters, and event coordinators, as well as Arizona’s most talented live performers and DJ’s. With my personal understanding of what makes spaces unique, Paragon Booking has been able to help build a powerful entertainment culture in Phoenix and its surrounding areas.
In the Southwest, we often see talented, creative individuals move to LA or Las Vegas to build their careers. I want to see Phoenix become the next hub for entertainment- with a thriving, destination-worthy culture that leaves a lasting impression on visitors and residents.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Visitors can catch live music and entertainment from Paragon Booking artists all around the valley!
A few must-visit spots:
The Living Room Wine Cafe – in Ahwatukee, Chandler, DC Ranch – Sundays 11-2 – Bottomless Mimosas and live music in a cozy wine cafe
Wicked Brew Burgers and Bites – Sundays 11-2 Bison BURGERS & house brews with live music
Pedal Haus Chandler – Sunday Funday’s 1-4pm on the patio with upbeat duos and bands
Rula Bula Irish Pub Tempe – Acoustic Saturdays and Sundays 2-5pm – The BEST fish and Chips and official Guinness “Perfect Pours”
Nanaya Arcadia – Acoustic Wednesdays 5-7:30pm Incredible Japanese Sushi, Ramen, and Wagyu sliders
Lookout Tavern Phoenix – live music Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, amazing burgers and beer with a view of Lookout Mountain
Sazerac Downtown Phoenix – Welcoming, posh hangout spot with incredible tacos, and live music Tuesdays and Wednesdays (dueling piano Wednesday nights)
Salt and Smoke Chandler – Live Jazz groups on Saturdays with smoked seafood and oysters
The Perch Brewery Chandler – Live Music Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday nights on Chandler’s only Rooftop Bar
Gecko Grill Gilbert – Delicious margaritas and vibrant patio atmosphere
The Local Chandler – Sports bar with 18 rotating taps, and lively performers on Friday and Saturday nights
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Dave Emran – The Living Room Wine Cafe and Lounge
Alexa Carvallo, Tyler Rehanek