DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: James Alexander Thompson | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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James Alexander Thompson is a pianist and singer. His debut release, Everything I Could Of Wished For, is available to download now via his Bandcamp page. He’s currently working on a four-track EP, due for release in 2016.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?
I’m James Alexander Thompson, a pianist, singer and songwriter from Durham.

What inspired you to first start making music?
I inherited my first piano through a family friend and my Grandad, being a classical pianist, inspired and taught me from age nine. He was the one that really spent the time helping me through my grades and kept me motivated. Whilst attending Leeds College of Music, I developed my song writing and really enjoyed releasing my feelings by writing songs. I did lots of co-writing there too with different artists and it’s continued ever since.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?
My biggest musical influences would be Ray Charles, Bon Iver, Stevie Wonder, Radiohead and Scott Matthews. They are all quite different but I guess I like them because they are great vocalists and play piano too.

How would you describe your sound?
I would say my own sound is very raw, I don’t play with a band so there is only me on piano and vocals. If you like stripped-back, acoustic music on piano, you will likely enjoy it!  My lyrics are very honest and tend to tell a story, but usually not about me. My songs have been compared musically to Tom Odell/Rae Morris/Jeff Buckley…but make your own mind up!

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?
At the moment I only have private gigs scheduled for the rest of the year, but I will hopefully have some organised for early next year to coincide with the release of my EP. If you see me play live, it will be solo, I will be nervous and it will be emotional, sound good? I have always enjoyed playing gigs in the North East as there is a close-knit group of great musicians, I hope we continue producing quality bands and artists as we don’t want London stealing the limelight forever!

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as an artist?
Earlier in the year, a song called Headrush I co-wrote with female singer Hannah Trigwell back in 2010 went to number one in three countries worldwide, that was crazy to find out! I have to say when we wrote it I knew it was a good pop song, just a shame it took people five years to realise!

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?
To be honest, I find every day in music a challenge. I am very self-critical of my own work and always strive to write better songs. But when I get it right, I get such a buzz from people liking my music, there’s no better feeling. My goals for what I call ‘success’ change every day and I think that’s a good thing most of the time. My current goal/challenge is trying to get a TV sync for my first single Everything I Could of Wished For as I think it is perfect for a movie or advert! (It’s hard work!)

What else have you got planned for the future?
I want to release an EP in early 2016, I would like to do some collaborations with dance music producers (apply within) and try and get one of my songs published!

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