Liverpool singer, Jamie Webster, has announced the release date for his debut album, and caught up with Getintothis’ Amos Wynn to discuss the exclusive news.
In the midst of everything that is currently occurring across the world, people are in need of good music and strong lyrics, especially when politicians are failing to connect and represent.
The 12-track LP, which was recorded at Parr Street Studios, is set for release on Friday 21st August, with a promise of songs that the everyday person will be able to relate to.
The 26-year-old exclusively spoke to Getintothis’ Amos Wynn to express his delight in having reached a great personal landmark.
“I’m absolutely made up with it, I’ve wanted to be a musician since I was 14 so an album is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m happy with how it is sounding, all the production is spot on, so I’m really lucky.”
He continues, “You always have dreams, but you never think they’re going to come true. The fact that people are listening to what I say in my music is something I never thought would happen, especially when I started as an electrician on a building site. It is great the way things have gone.”
Discussing the content of his album, Webster states that it paints an image of what it means to be working class.
“It’s a document of the escape, struggles and joys of working-class life, just nit picking at the feelings you have going through the grind on a day to day routine. I like people listening and going ‘yeah I’ve been there, I know that.’ I’m just trying to engage and relate with people, because music brings you together in lots of ways and brings you closer.”
He adds, “you won’t find a tune written by me where the lyrics are mashed together behind a nice melody, it will always have some sort of structure and story behind it.”
The Liverpool singer is very pleased with the title, We Get By, as well as everything else that went into the creation of it.
“It’s short but could be iconic, so I’m buzzing with it. I have structured it how I wanted to and been given a load of guidance. I have not written an album of singles, so I am hoping it stands the test of time and can be related to this period. I don’t care for Spotify algorithms, I just to tell the story I want to say.”
Webster is grateful to the people around him for being there to give support and offer advice.
“I’m thankful to everyone for putting me in with the right names and putting the right people around me.”
In particular, the singer is pleased with the musicians he has alongside him.
“They’ve all made my life so much easier in a live aspect, they’ve brought it to life and enhanced the experience, I didn’t have to tell them what to do because they’re absolute pros and capture the drama in what I do. Hearing my songs sung back to me live is something that you dream of.”
Webster has three singles to his name so far that will all feature on the album: Weekend In Paradise, Living for Yesterday and Grinding the Gears.
With the first coming out in November, the Liverpool singer has been pleased with the reaction he has received.
“It’s great, my first absolutely smashed it and blew my reputation out the water. Living for Yesterday was also really strong number wise too, and whilst Grinding the Gears is a little bit slower it’s going up solidly.”
He adds, “to have that guarantee that someone is always listening to your music is what you want. It is surreal in a way, especially when you see your name above Ed Sheeran or Drake, even if it is for a day.”
The 26-year-old believes his most recent release is up there with some of his best lyrics.
“It is a different kind of song, and not an instant foot stomper like the other two but I’m confident once the album is out it will be one of the big sets. What I’m saying is a little bit deeper and more complex, I think it is my best work as a songwriter, and I’m really proud of it.”
Webster knows that it is important to keep building on his first three singles, as he prepares to release, We Get By.
“I just need to keep pushing on because the more people who start listening to me as an original song writer, the more it will grow. I’ve had some great feedback from people saying it got them through a tough time in this lock down, and it’s about coming out of the other side of a rut.”
The singer-songwriter states the difference that lyrics can make is something he feels is important.
“Bob Dylan is one of my biggest influences, both his acoustic and electric stuff, because everything tells a story with something going on behind it. When I heard Hurricane for the first time, I realised it was true story and was a massive issue, music should be there to tell stories.”
He continues, “that started shaping me as a person, because this person was dragged down because of racist policies which made me think that you shouldn’t always believe what you are told because there could be an underlying hurricane story, from then on my lyrics started to question things too. I also like (Paul) Weller’s stuff with The Jam, because it was quite political and that is what drives me.”
Webster believes that coming from Liverpool has helped to shape his lyrics and his outlook on life.
“I have gained a left sided mindset, where no one is worth more than anyone else. Liverpool is a very multi-cultural city that has people from all walks of life, and whatever orientation they are does not matter, people are people. It is very socialist, and we believe in what we believe, and I’ m just a normal estate kind of lad.”
Despite that, the Grinding the Gears singer believes it is very similar in other big cities too.
“I’m proud of my city, but what someone goes through as a working-class lad is the same in Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Glasgow and Dublin, as they face the same sort of problems and have the same releases of joy. Where you come from definitely shapes who you are, but where you are at in your head is also an important thing.”
He continues, “I’m trying to speak on the behalf of the everyday average Joe in my album, the vibe of it is the idea of coming together. The platform Liverpool Football Club have given me is unbelievable, but it’s about crossing over because my songs are for everyone.”
Webster feels it is important that there is music for the working classes that taps into their lives.
“The music industry has so many people from working class backgrounds listening, so it is silly not to speak to those people. I always write my lyrics as if I was having a conversation with someone. I’m not saying every song has to be dark or a call of arms to the government, but it is massively important to speak your mind and to have little quirks.”
The Liverpool singer pinpoints the success of other artists down to being able to summarise the life of others.
“Music should be a reflection of who you are, look at the lyrics of Oasis and Arctic Monkeys when they first broke out. The reason they took off is because so many people from their background understood what they were saying and felt like they were living the song.”
He adds, “music should make you dance and sing but it should also always speak to you. I would not feel right writing a song about drinking champagne or flying first class, if you get those luxuries it’s fine but that’s not reality. You have a better time singing a song with your mates about things you feel strongly about and not just a catchy line of a chorus, but if you can do both then you’re onto a winner.”
One of the tracks on Webster’s debut album was inspired by Hollywood film, The Joker, and shares the same name.
“I liked the concept of how much shit someone goes through before they turn into a bad guy and how they are abandoned by the system in society before their life turns to pot. The song started writing itself whilst I was watching it, because everyone knows someone who has been dealt a shitty hand time after time and the chickens have come home to roost somewhere along the line with his life down the drain.”
The singer-songwriter believes The Joker could be one of the strongest songs on the album.
“I think it’s the best on the album as it’s about how many times this person has been abandoned or cried for help before they’ve been left in a bad situation. It is sort of like my Slide Away, as there are the big singles on the album, but this could be the iconic and less obvious track. The lads who played on it were perfect, and the only part that could be better is my bit.”
Webster’s first memory of music was sat in the back of his mum and dad’s car asking for the songs to be turned up.
“I knew all the words to David Bowie, a load of Genesis and a lot of Frank Sinatra by the time I was six or seven. My mum used to like The Lightning Seeds, and I remember the Jollification album because it had strawberries on it, which I loved- funnily enough I now share a drummer with them.”
As he grew older, he began to discover different strands of music, and continues to be inspired by artists around Liverpool.
“I was into scouse house and rap at school, but when I was 13, I discovered Oasis and The Beatles and really got into them. I picked up a guitar and tried to strum a few chords, I was hooked. I was also into a lot of the Kings of Leon’s early stuff which led me to Bob Dylan, who is someone I could listen every day of my life.”
He continues, “in Liverpool, The La’s are one my favourite bands of all time, some of their music is unbelievable, even now on the music scene there are loads of young bands making noise, and of course The Beatles are a given.”
Webster is also impressed with a lot of new acts and is excited by the competition in the music scene.
“I’m listening to new bands like DMA’S and The Lathums, who will follow in the same suit as The Courteeners. I listened Gerry Cinnamon for a long period of time, and what he has done in music is unbelievable, even if I do not listen to him as much anymore. I like The Snuts, and there is another young musician in Liverpool called Mason Owens, and to say he speaks from the heart is an understatement.”
As well as releasing his own music, Webster has also embarked on playing them live, with great success which has seen him sell out venues including a hometown show at the Arts Club.
“It’s amazing, the first one I did have to be upgraded and then sold out again in three hours, and that was before my first singles. There are some artists who do well stream wise but who might struggle live, but I seem to be doing well.”
He continues, “the two main bits of enjoyment is being in the studio and bringing songs to life. The connection with the fans and the feeling on the stage at the Arts Club was unbelievable, the crowd knew the words from YouTube clips so seeing them invested made it worthwhile.”
On the back of his debut album, the Liverpool singer-songwriter will play at the O2 Academy on the 26th September, in a gig that has already sold out.
“It has been a gradual thing, I started with the smaller venues which created a buzz where people wanted to get in, and its naturally grown. I hope to god I will be able to play it as it’s such an iconic venue.”
Webster is eager to continue and aims to keep building up the venue ladder in Liverpool.
“I’ve got massive ambition, I would never ever stop and be happy, but selling out the O2 Academy is a massive accomplishment because there has been a load of massive artists in there. Being in your own city is great, I just hope to build on that and smash the sales and tour.”
As part of his September tour, he has plenty of other shows up and down the UK including Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow, as well as playing Liverpool again for the rescheduled Sound City, which takes place between the 25th and 27th of September.
Made up to see that loads of you have still been buying tickets for my album tour throughout this lockdown. Hopefully have more news on it soon. Thanks for sticking with me, all the waiting and uncertainty will be worth it I promise 👊❤️✊🏻 pic.twitter.com/tp8OKInI4E
— Jamie Webster (@JamieWebster94) May 13, 2020
He admits it is a completely different feeling to play his own songs live compared to being on tour for Liverpool FC.
“The nerves turn into excitement for Liverpool, even in front of 20,000 people I just go and smash it. With my own stuff, I’m really nervous playing a tune the first couple of times because it is sort of the unknown and not set in stone, I have to really concentrate. I’m very critical of my own stuff, and a lot more protective, but excited to look at what happens.”
The singer-songwriter admits that playing in front of Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, is a whole different kind of pressure.
“He is just a different ball game, he’s got a presence that you don’t realise until you come into closer contact, you just can’t help but tense up and admire what he is saying. He is a special man, the best manager in world football, and just a genuine fella and sees himself as a normal person but I automatically start trembling in his company.”
He continues, “He’s taken time to have a bevy with me when we were in New York. On one night of a pre-season tour, where he wasn’t obliged to do anything for sponsors, he decided to come down to a gig and surprise me, I think that shows the kind of person he is. At the Champions League final party, I tapped him on the shoulder and he just disregarded everyone else and gave me a massive hug.”
One thing Webster has learnt during his rise, has been not to give up.
“I jumped off the tools last June as an electrician, and my dad has never been so happy to get me off the site and seeing me standing on my own two feet, with both him and my mum made up for me. If you asked me two years ago that I’d be on the verge of releasing an album, then I would’ve told you to get fucked.”
He adds, “I will never take things for granted but sometimes you don’t know if it’s real. If people like the album, then I will move on to do even better stuff with the confidence it will give me, but I am enjoying the ride at the same time.”
The Liverpool singer is also eager to continue to build on the foundations he has laid down for himself.
“I’m writing for the next albums and knocking some demos up, I’m never going to stop, you can’t just stand still otherwise you will get left behind. I will always stride to be better, I’m learning the piano every day and trying new writing techniques, which is a work ethic I got from being on building sites.”
Going forward, Webster states that Coronavirus could be something that will influence future lyrics.
“Once it’s all said and done and people are safe and key workers are rewarded, then I will start working on things. The way this government has dealt with the situation has been shambolic, everyone feels confused and misled. If people don’t think I will have a dig, then they are soft because you write from your emotions.”
He continues, “I will start pointing fingers and speak about what has happened. People are being shown that the government are doing a good job, and loads believe, some are ignorant whilst others don’t know any different so it’s not their fault.”
The Liverpool singer believes a difference of opinion makes life interesting.
“If we all thought the same way then it would be boring, if people don’t like what I have to say then it won’t bring me down. Not everyone I mix with in the football world has the same political views but that doesn’t affect me as they’re still pretty nice people.”
Ahead of the release of We Get By, the 26-year-old says that he will be patient to see how it does.
“It could take a while for it to catch on, everything takes time. Look at Gerry Cinnamon and his story, he was only selling venues on the day a few years ago, but now he’s selling out arenas in seconds. I could be like that and start smashing records, or it might not, and I’ll go back to the drawing board. It all depends on what happens to me as a person what I will write about.”
Webster admits that with current worldwide events, he is unable to predict where he will be this time next year.
“I think if Coronavirus hadn’t of happened then I would’ve had a decent idea. This was going to be the summer of my life, travelling all over the world with my LFC tour as well as the album release. I wouldn’t want to put my finger on it but I want to do as much as I can, and I’d like to be doing something every day.”
He continues, “It doesn’t feel like work, and that’s how you know it is something you love. No matter what time I get up, I find it exciting. If I can continue along this path then that will be enough for me, because if I have two albums by the time, I’m 30 then that will be a massive success for me.”
We Get By Track-listing:
- Down The Road
- Living For Yesterday
- Stop Living Blind
- Out On The Street
- The Joker
- Something’s Gotta Give
- This Place
- Grinding The Gears
- Common People
- Weekend In Paradise
- We Get By