This week James Smith joins us in the studio for our first ever in-person episode. Since his break-out appearance on Britain’s Got Talent in 2014, James has steadily grown his fan base and recently landed a Top-40 hit with his single ‘My Oh My’. The vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist from East London chats to us about the challenges faced by young, developing artists.
We start by finding out what James has been up to lately. He tells us about spending the summer in Amsterdam and getting involved in the music scene over there. It follows a long period of hard work in his studio over lockdown, which he says is leading to a few more singles, a small album and a feature on Conor Albert’s upcoming project. He has released a multitude of singles and EPs over the years, but he talks about his latest work with all the enthusiasm of an artist who is reaching maturity.
‘I still don’t feel like I’ve started yet […] I’m still figuring out my sound. I started really young.’
Next, we discuss James’ preferred recording environment. Since age 14, he has been working in studios with professional sound engineers. He realised early on that he was more comfortable recording vocals at home alone. This is where his experience in music production began. He now produces and writes for others, and expects that this is the direction his career will take further down the line. Additionally, James theorises that we will witness a massive change in production settings in the next few years – with ‘laptop producers’ becoming increasingly common due to lockdown.
However, James shares some of his concerns about the impact technology is having on the creative capacity of musicians. Particularly, the workload of content creation and social media management, which he says he ‘hates with a passion’. Although he loves having the ability to connect with fans, we discuss how damaging the pressure to upload, obsession with engagement and amount of screen time can be. He shares his admiration for full-time content creators on platforms such as youtube and instagram, explaining that he feels people often underestimate their workload.
‘You have to do social media to be successful now, which is such a shame […] I’m trying to write an album! How can I be in album mode and also think about uploading content?’
We wrap up the episode with a quick overview of James’ plans for the near future. Unsurprisingly, getting back to live shows and touring is first on his agenda. Be sure to follow his socials @jamessmithvocal for updates and releases.
The full episode of In Time with James Smith is available on https://www.InTimePodcast.com. You can also listen on Spotify, YouTube and Apple Music. Follow @InTimeUK for all clips & episode information.
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