Signed to Kiefer Sutherland’s Label, Ironworks at a Young Age, Rock Soul Singer-Songwriter JIM STAPLEY Has Plenty To Share About The Music Biz And More!
Posted On 02 Feb 2016
Tag: Al Green, All Access, All Access Music Group, Band of Skulls, Bruce Springsteen, Canton, Concert Review, Harley Davidson, Hollywood, Hotel Cafe, Ironworks Music, Jim Stapley, Jude Cole, Keifer Sutherland, Kenny Jones, Long Time Coming, Los Angeles, MITA Records, New Orleans, otis Redding, Paul Rodgers, Rihanna, Rival Sons, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Sam Cooke, Small Faces, Steve Marriot, Temperance Movement, The Faces, The Graveltones, The Who, UK, Universal, Vintage Trouble, We Found Love
Jim Stapley is a UK artist that was signed years ago to Ironworks Music (Kiefer Sutherland and Jude Cole’s label) but the label up-streamed into Universal at the time and Jim got lost in the shuffle.
Plus, his record label in the UK had him focus there and now we finally get him back in the US!
Jim certainly has a true rock vibe that sounds reminiscent of old school Rod Stewart. His newest release is called “Long Time Coming” but he hopes to put out more new music later this year.
Last week, this soul-rock singer-songwriter performed at LA’s intimate LA venue, The Hotel Cafe. His voice easily filled the room and commanded everyone’s attention immediately. There is no denying that Jim is a star and born for the stage. He has one incredibly strong and powerful voice.
All Access recently caught up with Jim right before that gig at Hotel Cafe to chat about his newest music, biggest inspirations, working with Kiefer all those years ago and much more. Enjoy!
Thanks for your time today! So, how’s 2016 been treating you so far? What were some highlights of 2015?
Thanks for interviewing me! 2016 has been pretty busy, I’ve been getting ready for the show here- putting a band together in LA whilst living in New Orleans was slightly nerve wracking, but it’s turned out great.
2015 was a great year for me on a personal level. I moved countries; from the UK to the US. I got married, twice….to the same woman… (a long visa-related story). Professionally, I finally got around to building a home studio and put it to good use writing a bunch of new material, some of which I’ll be playing at Hotel Cafe. I’ve also been involved in a couple of side projects that really moved forward last year, and continue to do so this year, things are going well!
I know it’s been awhile but can you talk a little about getting signed to Kiefer Sutherland’s label, Ironworks Music? In a nutshell, what was that experience like for you?
I look back on that time as a huge learning curve for me. I learned a lot from Jude Cole in the studio, I learned a lot from Kiefer out of the studio, and I made some life long friends. The actual process of getting signed was a little crazy… I’d never been to America before, and on my first day I was at the studio, surrounded by Jude and Kiefer’s incredible guitar collection, singing my guts out to the both of them, with everything I had. It was a ‘no room for error’ day… I loved it. We made a great record together. I’m still disappointed that it didn’t really get a shot…. but these things happen a lot in this industry, you move on.
Growing up, did you always want to be an artist? Was your family always supportive of you and your musical goals? Can you imagine seeing yourself doing anything else today?
Actually I was obsessed with flying, and wanted to join the air force and be a fighter pilot. I even took some flying lessons through the cadets in the U.K…but music slowly took over. I didn’t really realize that I could make any sort of a living from music until I was around 16. I always thought it would be a great hobby for me. So far I’m still trying to make a living from playing music.
My parents were and continue to be incredibly supportive. My school didn’t really push musically ‘gifted’ kids…it wasn’t one of their strengths. Luckily my parents put me though music lessons outside of school, bought the guitars and amps, shipped us to and from rehearsals unit l could get there myself. They continue to try and be at every show they can. They’re great. As are my brothers, we’re a very musical family. We all sing and play together when we can.
There’s nothing I think I’d rather be doing today. I reconciled myself to the fact that I’ll be pursuing this art for the rest of my life, regardless of the level of success, if any. It’s who I am.
Can you describe your songwriting process? How has it changed over the years?
Well, I hope I’ve got better at it. I now have a lot of recording equipment I didn’t have when I first started. It enables me to really finish a song- to produce a rough demo at the end of the process, which is exciting, and really helps me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
The basics are always the same though, a guitar or piano, a lyric and a melody. In no particular order. Sometimes the music is the most forthcoming aspect, if that’s the case, then I run with it. I try to keep the pressure off myself to write a certain type of song. A lot of the time, I feel like the song is already there, and I have to go through the process of finding it. I think a lot of songwriters feel the same. I’ve been writing on my own a lot more recently. The last record I released, Long Time Coming (MITA RECORDS)- has only 2 co-writes. The rest is all me.
I will say that I have been working on my lyrical content lately. I think I’m trying to say more than I used to… Delving a little deeper than just the surface level… I can thank my wife for that, she has a great library started at home and is an incredible writer, she’s inspired me to raise my game.
What bands have consistently inspired you and your music? Who would you love to work with in the future?
I’m a lifelong Bruce Springsteen fan. If I ever got to share the stage with him, I’d probably weep like a child watching Bambi for the first time. I’m a huge fan of the great soul singers – Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Al Green…. and then the singers they inspired. Paul Rodgers and Steve Marriott are just a couple who I have happily stolen licks from over the years.
More recently I’m loving bands like Rival Sons, Vintage Trouble, Temperance Movement, Band of Skulls, etc…. It really feels like they’re bringing great guitar music back, with great voices to boot. I’d love to work with any of them.
Besides your upcoming LA show at Hotel Café, do you have other shows coming up? What’s been your favorite gig so far? What made it so great for you?
I have a show next week in Canton, GA- it’s a very stripped back acoustic thing, which I’m looking forward to. After that we’re looking at booking more shows, hopefully on the west coast. I can’t wait to get out on the road.
My favorite shows are hard to place, a couple with my U.K band stand out- we’ve played a few shows for Harley Davidson that were pretty crazy – massive crowds which is always nice, and a KILLER stage crew. That always makes a gig feel great, knowing everyone has your back.
Playing with Kenney Jones and Ronnie Wood was fun too. That was a while back though. Hopefully after the Hotel Cafe show, I’ll be saying that was one of my favorites. I’m always trying to improve, so it should be the best yet.
When do you plan on releasing more material?
Well, I’m writing a lot at the moment. SO I’d like to work toward getting an EP together soon. Hopefully in the next few months, but my main focus right now is getting some shows booked.
What’s been the most surprising thing to you about the music industry? What’s been the best advice someone has given you about it all?
Ha…after being around for a while, I think everything becomes a little unsurprising… the music industry is a very weird world. However, there are still great people doing great things, supporting real music, and putting their money behind great acts. I’ve been pleased to see the rise of some smaller indie labels championing great music over the last few years. It’s great to see bands like ‘The Graveltones’ getting out there with no label at all, just a killer management team and an insane work ethic. It shows it can still be done. Which amongst other things, is reassuring.
The saddest thing to me has been the demise of the album. Both the longer form body of work, and the great artwork. Yet I’m seeing more and more artists release to vinyl again, so all is not lost….
The best advice was from Kenney Jones (Drummer of the Small Faces, The Faces and later The Who). He told me ‘Don’t sign anything, don’t change for anyone and to never stop learning’… pretty smart….
I’m not sure I’m trying to get across a message with my music. I think that’s probably out of my reach at this point. I think I try to invoke a feeling or emotion. Whether it be the need to get up and dance like a nutter, or cry, or laugh. I hope what I play makes people feel something. It would be terrible if it made them feel nothing.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
Check out my website at www.jimstapley.com and I hope to see some of you on the road soon!