I am excited for my first interview on The M Word to be about getting to know Jimmy R, Birmingham based singer/songwriter and an artistic alias of James Riley. Read below to find out about his musical inspirations and upcoming releases, debut single “23rd April” releasing in July and EP “Warmth” coming to us in January! (I can’t wait!)
So, what first got you into music?
It’s so difficult to pinpoint a particular thing that got me into music, however, I’d always been into it when I was younger. My mum would play me loads of CDS when I was around 2 from different walks of life; Enrique Iglesias, Opera and when I was 7 we listened to a lot of Paolo Nutini. I also had a childhood friend when I was growing up who showed me bands like Enter Shikari and Fall out Boy, so I played those on repeat. I guess that’s where it all began.
How would you describe what genre your music is?
I’d say it’s Alternative Pop, which is quite a broad term. I love creating hooky choruses and everything is quite conventional, however, sometimes I like to approach things differently. For example, building layers upon layers of harmony with various things that often comprise of vocals and reversed recordings of guitars. Above all else, I love listening for interesting sounds in my daily life and incorporating them into my music. I went skiing at New Year and in the hotel, the lifts made loads of cool percussive sounds. So I grabbed my friend and he held my laptop, whilst I used my microphone to record the sounds it made (a very strange sight for a woman who got in the lift during this).
I’ve since taken the recordings and used them as part of the background percussion in a track that will be on my EP, so see if you can spot it when it comes out!
Who/what are your inspirations?
It’s so hard to pin certain influences, as my personal opinion is that our musical preferences are often burned into the back of our minds without us realising it and are often a result of our surroundings.
I just try my best to create something which mirrors who I am: deep and a little bit eccentric. I often like to think of my songs as a time capsule of how I was feeling when they were written. As lyrically they often encapsulate my thoughts and feelings at that specific time in my life. Although, like anything artistic, they can be interpreted in many ways so it's up to the listener what they believe the song is about.
Top five artists of all time, Go!
Oh gosh! You’re evil! All-time?!!
Ok, I’m gonna have to say 1: Nirvana. Listening to their music was a massive turning point for me. After them, Radiohead for the same reason. John Cage has also been a massive inspiration to me, so even though it’s not conventional, he has to be on this list. Fourth: Billie Eilish. She is amazing. Say no more. And finally, I’m gonna go with another less conventional one.
When I was 17, I studied a lot of different composers as part of my music A-Level, which is where a lot of the sophisticated nature of my songwriting comes from. So, I’ve got to say one of my favourites was Claude Debussy. His music is just beautiful, and he was quite a revolutionary for his time, so I think I ought to pay tribute to that.
How long have you been making music and are you planning any releases soon?
Gosh, I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember! I'd say that I properly started writing music at 17. I'd written songs before but was never outspoken about it, and that's when I started gigging properly.
With regards to release, I can't promise an exact date. But I'll be releasing my debut single really soon and most likely have it out by mid-July. What I can promise though is the title, "23rd April." From there, I'll be releasing more singles until January when I'll be releasing my EP, "Warmth".
Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming debut release?
So, 23rd April is a strange one. I actually wrote it and did the majority of the sound design in a single evening on the day in question. Things leading up to it had been really dark: I was miserable, sleeping in until 3 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon and I was wasting my life away. However, on the titular date, I threw all the negativity that had been boiling up into the song to shake off the hard feeling. So, although things were pretty dark and that does hold a place in the song, I like to think that there's an uplifting side to it that encapsulates the important fact that we can overcome anything if we really try.
Check his socials out for some updates!