At just the age of 16, James is without a doubt one of the most compelling young musicians you’ll ever come across. His creative take on popular songs might just make you swoon, but his original songs will leave you wanting more. With over 600,000 collective views on Youtube and a Debut EP that hit #6 on the iTunes chart, James definitely deserves to be recognized and heard.
For everyone to know a little more about him, we asked James himself about his career, his interests, and what's it like making music while studying for school.
James: Thank you! I was truly overwhelmed with how the EP was received. A career aim of mine was to reach the top spot in the iTunes singer songwriter chart and to reach number 6 on the first go was a great feeling!
At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in the music industry? Have you always wanted to become a musician?
J: I started by playing drums when I was 10 and soon after I did my first gig when the drummer of my dad’s band had to drop out at short notice and that was when I found out I wanted to play music live and perform. I continued to pick up different instruments, and gradually over the next few years my passion grew and I think I decided it was definitely what I wanted to do when I was 15-ish.
Who/what are your influences and how do you incorporate them in your own music?
J: I take inspiration from many singer/songwriters like Ed Sheeran and Gabrielle Aplin but also electric blues guitar players like John Mayer. I try to mix the two and create a blend in my original tracks.
How does your songwriting process go? Do you try to find inspiration or do you let ideas naturally come to you?
J: I start out by coming up with a few chords or a riff on the guitar or piano and I will then write the lyrics to those chords. Song writing has always been my therapy for getting through emotional highs and lows in life. I find inspiration from life experiences and tend to like the songs that are closer to me more.
J: That is one of the most difficult things I have to do - balance. As I was revising for my GCSE’s I was also finishing my debut EP. Both deserve time and both are important to me but I managed to find enough time for both. Maybe there’s a tiny bit more music....
Do you have any pre-performance routines/rituals you do before you take the stage?
J: I do vocal warm-ups in the car on the way to gigs which sound strange. I also like to remind myself of the opportunity and potential of the gig. If I get the chance I like to meet some of the audience before I go on it is a real privilege that people have chosen to spend their money and time to come to see me perform and it really motivates me.
If you could somehow travel back in time, what musical era or which artist would you visit?
J: I would’ve loved to see Jimi Hendrix play as well as Led Zeppelin as I love the rock/blues guitar sound. I also would’ve love to see Amy Winehouse perform her Frank album.
If you ever get the chance to collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
J: I’d like to collaborate with someone like James Blake or Chet Faker and create a completely different sound and experiment.
At such a young age, how do you deal with the transition from being a normal teenager to a recognized singer/songwriter? How do you react to people admiring your music who are much older and/or much younger than you?
J: I am a pretty relaxed person so I tend to just go with the flow. I feel grateful things are going well for me and want to seize every opportunity. I don’t change personality between the stage or the library - what you see is pretty much what you get!
I take my music seriously despite being younger so it’s nice to hear positive feedback from older listeners as I feel they have listened to more music over time and it’s harder to get their approval. It’s also great to hear that young listeners like your music, it really motivates me.
Sincere thanks to everyone who takes the time to listen and support my music.
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Download his EP "Just A Number"
Thank you to the wonderful James TW for taking the time to answer all our questions!
*all photos courtesy of James TW*