Indie rocker Derek James—with his sultry voice and genuine talent— has been called a bluesy Buddy Holly for the iPod generation, and his life has been as eclectic as his music. Stray, James’s debut album, was written while he was working as a live-in nanny for a suburban New York family. At night, while the family slept, James stayed up writing songs in his basement quarters in the company of Clueless, the family dog. He repaid Clueless’s devotion by titling his album Stray and his record label Howling Clue. Nanny no more, James is now making the rounds at premier East Coast music venues.