The Dublin Sensation, Gavin James, Chats About Touring with James Blunt, Ingrid Michaelson and Why He Loves Touring in Europe!
Posted On 24 Jul 2014
Tag: AER TV, Belgium, Believe Recordings, Beth Orton, Biffy Clyro, Birdy, Coming Home, David Gray, Dublin, Edison, Fete De La Musique, Frank Sinatra, Gavin James, Good Soldier Songs, Hotel Cafe, Hozier, Ingrid Michaelson, James Blunt, Kodaline, Lewis Watson, Lianne La Havas, Meteor Choice Awards, MUSExpo, otis Redding, Paris, Sam Cooke, Say Hello, The Forrest National, Whelans
The 22 year old Dublin based singer-songwriter Gavin James has a vocal range far superior to something that you would expect from someone so young.
Gavin has developed his songwriting and performance skills through a series of live residences in Dublin’s pubs over the last three years. He released his debut No.1 EP Say Hello in Ireland through Believe Recordings in 2012, with the title track winning the much coveted “Song Of The Year” prize at the Meteor Choice Awards 2013.
I saw Gavin perform a couple years ago when he attended a radio/music event that I was working at so I was eager to see him play again. I got the chance on Wednesday, July 23rd at the intimate Hollywood venue, Hotel Cafe. Despite his short set, I instantly remembered what I loved so much about him. He has an exceptional voice. I could honestly listen to him sing all day long.
He’s already selling out his own headline shows in Ireland and has performed alongside Ingrid Michaelson on her UK tour, Lianne La Havas, Lewis Watson, Beth Orton, Kodaline amongst many others.
A few weeks before his show in Los Angeles, I interviewed Gavin and here’s what he had to say:
Take me on your musical journey so far? What has got you to this point in life?
I started off doing cover gigs around Dublin, so I kinda learned how to write and sing from countless residencies in pubs then I found my manager Edison and we started off doing showcases in LA which was fun, and that led to signing with Believe Recordings! I’m heading back over to the states to do my first NYC shows and some in LA too. I’m after signing with Good Soldier Songs recently so I’m very exited about everything !
Anyone who has heard you sing knows that you have an amazing voice! Did you have voice lessons growing up?
Aaah thanks very much! My sister is a gospel singer so she showed me a couple of things growing up. Gigging constantly since I left school helped me learn to control my voice better too I feckin love singing so I still have so much to learn!
Tell me about your songwriting process. Where do you get your inspiration from? Are you constantly trying to write new material?
A lot of my songs are about relationships whether it be about past girlfriends, friends and just generally people that are in my life at the moment. I write at weird times. I usually end up writing a song at 5am because I get an idea and I can’t sleep till I get it out, other times it takes a while. I’ve been sitting on a lot of half-finished songs that I need to get finished as well.
Who are some of your music influences? What are you listening to right now? Any new artists that you are currently loving?
I am loving Hozier at the moment, he’s from Wicklow in Ireland and his
voice and lyrics are ridiculously good . I tend to listen to a lot of old stuff like Sam Cooke , Frank Sinatra , and Otis Redding.
Tell me why this lifestyle of performing and touring all over the world is one that you are willing to follow?
I love the fact that touring takes you to so many places that you never thought would be possible to visit . Even going to New York to play shows is crazy! I’ve never been so I’m gonna get up to everything there. I’m very exited !
What has been your favorite venue to perform at so far?
I played a gig in Belgium in a place called The Forrest National ! It was one of the biggest gigs I have ever played and I was extremely nervous but it ended up being my favourite gig ! The crowds all over Europe are amazing!
Tell me about this publishing deal that you just landed with Good Soldier Songs?
I’m delighted with it. The people I get to work with are great and we all seem to be on the same page musically. They have some crazy good artists on their roster too like David Gray, Birdy, Biffy Clyro and more so I’m honoured to be on the same roster as all them
You performed in the maritime museum in Dublin. Tell me how that all happened and what was that like?
It was in summer last year for AER TV. It was great to have the whole museum pretty much to ourselves because it was so early in the morning and the acoustics in there were unbelievable .
You will be heading to Paris soon for the Fete De La Musique. Do you speak French or any other languages? How have the fans been in other countries? How are the fans different here in the states?
I did take French in school for years but I’m absolutely terrible at it. I can speak a little bit of Irish but that’s about it! I would love to learn French though.
The crowds have been amazing in France and all over the place in Europe. They’re very attentive and they listen to every word when someone’s playing which can be daunting but it’s great. I’m heading over to the states to do my first gigs in the 21st to the 24th in NYC and LA . Last time I was there was for MUSExpo which was my first intro in the states though the crowds were great. I’ll need to calm down on my Irish accent when I’m over there though !!
How was it touring with James Blunt? Did you learn a lot from him and if so, what exactly? What about Ingrid Michaelson? And Kodaline?
James Blunt is a machine! He just keeps going and he’s such a great performer. I was on the bus with him and the lads for the tour so it was great fun. The Kodaline guys are great they’ve had me on a few tours with them so I’ve known them for a few years. They are great guys. My first big tour was with Ingrid Michaelson. She is lovely and I was a huge fan before the tour so I was nervous to meet her !
How have social networks and sites such as Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram affected the way you promote your music and interact with your fans? Do you use all them actively?
They’re great for promoting shows and putting up videos on Facebook. It’s the only real way to reach fans nowadays so I try to be very active on each platform.
If you had the opportunity to work with any act/artist from the past, present or future, who would it be?
Frank Sinatra! I would absolutely love that. I have been listening to his voice since I was a kid and there’s no one else I would like to sing a song with more.
When you aren’t performing or writing new material, what do you enjoy doing for fun?
I play a lot of pitch and putt. I’m also am a huge fan of going to the cinema! I go about 3 times a week sometimes! I’m a big movie buff and all that.
My whole family has been behind me on it since day one. I love the touring part, you get to meet so many interesting people along the way and I have my buddy Edison (my manager) with me along the way! I hope in the future to expand the musicians I play with so I can bring all my mates that play on tour !
What is your favorite song to perform live? And so far, where has been your favorite place to perform?
My favorite song of my own to play live is “Coming Home”. It’s the one where I try get everyone singing and it’s always great to hear a crowd sing something you wrote. I love playing in France- the crowds are great over there!
Is there anything else that you want potential new fans to know about you and your music?
I’ll have an album out soon and before that a live EP. I’ll be recording in Whelans when I get back home from America.