Q&A with James BayApril 1, 2013
RR: When did you realize that you wanted to become a musician?
JB: As a kid, when I started playing guitar, I would listen to my favourite artists, watch them playing live and imagine how incredible it must feel to be able to call that your actual job!
But also, as I got closer to finishing school, the idea that I might have to put my guitar down for a while terrified me. That’s when I realized what I wanted to do, it was all or nothing.
RR: What’s your favorite era of music?
JB: You can’t round it down to just one era! The explosion of soul and rock n roll in the 60s was incredible; the singer songwriters of the 70s, the larger than life pop stars (Prince, Michael Jackson) of the 80s are all amazing to listen to, and learn from.
RR: What drew you to artists like Carole King, and James Taylor?
JB: Listening to other artists that came from around the same time as them, such as The Eagles, Van Morrison etc. – they drew me quickly to names such as Carole King and James Taylor. But also my own and my friends’ parents had those records in their collections and I remember putting them on as soon as I stumbled across them – maybe because I liked the cover, or recognized track names. It feels like it was quite a natural discovery.
RR: Who’s better CSN or CSN&Y?
JB: CSN. Neil’s great, but they didn’t need him.
RR: Give us some of your background?
JB: I come from a tiny little corner of the world called Hitchin, in the UK. I’ve always been creative, it started with painting and drawing – I’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember, and listening to music, too. But, I didn’t start playing music until I was about 11. It was the first time I heard the riff on Eric Clapton’s Layla that I ran to the nearest guitar.
RR: What it’s like growing up in a small town?
JB: It’s comfortable. And that can get very boring, very quickly. As a little kid the ‘comfortable’ bit totally worked for me. But as soon as I started growing up I just wanted to get out. So, it gave me a great incentive to go and find the big wide world.
RR: Ok. The Stones. Hyde Park. Discuss….
JB: The Stones are just a massive deal. Some say they’re too old to still be doing it, but the fact is they ARE and every show still sells out in a microsecond! I grew up on the Stones, my Dad’s a big fan and has seen them a million times – so I cannot wait to see them in Hyde Park, it’s going to be ridiculous.
RR: If Jagger dragged you out on stage to sing with him which Stones song would you pick?
JB: VERY good question. One answer simply won’t cover it.
Choose from the following: Gimme Shelter, Honky Tonk Women, Tumbling Dice, Shine A Light, Wild Horses, Sweet Virginia, Loving Cup…the list goes on.
RR: Do you have any preconceptions about America?
JB: That a lot of amazing music was born in America. And big food – huge steaks and cheesecakes, which totally works for me.
RR: What do you want people who listen to your music to walk away with?
JB: A hard copy.