You are English but there is a strong sense of American influence in your music. Who are the artists that inspired you?
I’ve definitely been inspired by a lot of American music. Carole King, Ray Charles, John Mayer, Kings Of Leon, Feist and Ray Lamontagne. English artists like Adele, Ben Howard and The Stones are big influences too, and of course Fleetwood Mac - a huge influence of mine, coming from both the UK and the States.
Hailing from a small English town, did you ever thing you would get noticed?
I always hoped I’d be able to take my music further than my little hometown, Hitchin. I made sure I was always playing live, be it 2 or 3 nights a week or more. If you want people to know about you, you just have to get out there and play as much as possible.
When the calls came in for your music from a major label from Republic Records, what was your reaction?
When I found out a record label as big as Republic wanted to fly me over to New York City to hear me play live, I lost my mind! I probably dropped the phone. That kind of thing doesn’t happen everyday.
So much of yourself is in your songs, do you feel that you have to get so deep to make a connection with your music or are there things that you still hold back?
With a few exceptions, I believe the best song writing is always the most honest. At least, my best songs seem to work that way. When I write, I try and focus on real life and things that I’ve actually experienced. So, yeh, I guess I do have to dig pretty deep when I’m writing.
You recently released your debut EP, what was that experience like?
Recording and releasing my debut EP “The Dark Of The Morning” has been incredible so far. Recording the songs gave me the chance to breath life into them again, but in a new and different way to when I play them live. So far (since releasing the EP) the response has been incredible. The excitement just keeps growing.
Is a full length album in the works?
Of course! There’s so much in store. I’ve started (on TDOTM) where I began as an artist, solo and acoustic. But my music is definitely going to get bigger; I’ll be getting the band in for the full-length record. I can’t wait to plug in and play loud! An album is definitely on the horizon.
At 22, you are still very young but sound like you have lived through so much. What are some of the experiences in your life that have altered you and shaped the man you are?
Travelling has been a big one. Coming from a small town I was never much of a traveller before, always comfortable in that familiar environment. But since signing in New York I have been travelling back and forth from the UK and all over America, and I think that’s definitely shaping me as a writer and a person. At about 18, I was pretty keen to get out of my parents house and find my own place to live – so that newfound independence that comes with leaving home has really shaped me over the last few years too.
You have been on the road in the US, how have the shows been? How are American audiences different from audiences back home?
Playing in the US is incredible, for so many reasons. I only realize now how much of a big deal it is for me. Over the years, I’ve read so many stories about my favourite bands and artists going to America for the first time and how huge that was for them - and that would always get me dreaming about maybe doing it myself one day. And here I am! It’s only the beginning, I’m barely scratching the surface, but playing to American crowds has been amazing so far.
Traveling in the US, what has struck you the most that you have fallen in love with?
The busy, bustling electricity of New York City never fails to blow my mind. I’m still so new to it, but I love it more every time I return.
What is next for you?
Next is my first ever full-length tour. I’m playing coast to coast throughout the whole of the US. After that, and more shows back home in the UK, I plan to get stuck into making my debut album.
What has been the best thing about being James Bay these days?
I think the real prize has to be getting to wear my favourite hat all.the.time.