You’re on the road and getting to perform live! How awesome Jameson! Has it been a surreal experience so far?
I have to say yes, it is surreal to be back out on the road and in front of bug audiences again after all this time. It’s a dream! Was cooped up for quite a while like most of us were, it’s great to be back out. Especially to be with Rival Sons who are so so great, and to be in all these cities across the US that I never had the chance to see before. I’m having a hell of a good time honestly. All of us musicians and fans of live music went through some serious trauma when everything shut down. So now the pleasure of being able to do it again is even more intense. I know for me I have a renewed appreciation for getting to make music in front of people again, it’s wonderful.
What’s it like moving from city to city and getting the immediate reaction from an audience?
Being on tour, everything you do day to day centers around the show. And the next show. That’s the moment you’re there for! And it’s the best feeling to get on stage in front of an audience and perform and share that one moment in time with them. So all the travel and hours on the road every day, loading in and out of hotels and venues, settling into a routine to take care of your body and mind and your voice, all that is all just leading up to the show. So when you get on stage there’s this added weight to the moment that you’ve been working towards, and then you leave all the other stuff behind and just play! I love the whole process and even more I love the music and the moment I get to share it with the audience in that city. It’s all worth it for that moment.
What stories do you want to tell in the music you put out?
With the music and the words I just want to say something interesting, to tell a story worth listening too. And for it to be as personal as possible, intimate. That sounds obvious maybe, but really that’s the thing for me is to stay interested and to keep pushing myself into new territory as an artist. I never want to try to repeat myself or settle into a comfortable groove, I always want to keep moving forward. And the stories themselves, the stories of my life keep revealing themselves, keep happening. That’s how it is for all of us I think, but as a writer the job is to keep paying attention and grab the moments that are significant and emotional and powerful in your life, and lean into those moments, feel them completely. And then try to pull something unique out of them and put it into the music.
Are there any rules you set for yourself when you know you have to concentrate on making music?
Absolutely. Both for when I’m touring and for when I’m making music in the studio, I think discipline and setting boundaries for myself is crucial. For touring and playing live it’s mostly physical discipline and routine: taking care of my body and my voice on the road, sleep, everyday, lots of water! And, we’ll, some tequila in there too. Just keeping myself in a good and relaxed headspace is really important. Exercise and some meditation really helps to put me in the right spot to perform.
As far as rules in the studio, just simply setting up some parameters or restrictions in terms of what instruments you’re going to use going into a session sometimes helps focus the creative process. We’ve got these, let’s say 4 tools…let’s see what we can do with them! Sometimes endless options nowadays actually slows down the process of creating something good. We’ve been trying to keep things simpler lately with the production and I think it’s paid off.
Do you ever feel like you need to label yourself as an artist?
I hate to label myself. And I’m not very good at it. But yes you’re presented with that need from the outside everyday. “What kind of music do you do?” It’s a totally normal question but one that’s always been tricky for me to answer. For people that haven’t heard me before I feel like they want a simple answer or a specific genre and that’s tough for me. I’m a singer-songwriter, and when I play solo like I’m doing now on the road with the Rival Sons, that’s the best answer: singer-songwriter. I sing the songs I wrote and play guitar! But that’s usually not a good enough answer for people. It’s funny, I’m always trying to come up with music that’s just ME, and is interesting and unique, so that’s a fight against genre. But you still have to have an answer to the question over and over. I understand the question, maybe it’s just my problem! Probably a lot of the artists I like feel the same way.
Is letting the music talk for itself a rule of thumb for you?
I wouldn’t say it’s a rule, but that’s really the best case scenario. I never mind talking about the music or the words or how it came together, but really the best thing and the point of it all is to let the listener here it and take it as they wish…Enjoy it (hopefully) or not, and make their own interpretation of what it’s about and what it means to them. I don’t know, I think that’s one of the main functions of art in any form. It’s always more interesting to me what someone thinks a song of mine is about compared to what I “know” it’s about. If the music doesn’t speak for itself ultimately, I guess I didn’t do a good enough job!
What are the interactions with your fans like when you hear feedback from them about your music?
On this tour now with Rival Sons the response from the audience has been really lovely. On stage in some ways I’m in my own world, but in the middle of a song if I hear people whistle or clap or yell out at a certain moment, that’s such a rush. It’s really just wanting to connect with people and have what I do resonate with them right where they stand. So when I can feel and hear that happening from the stage, there’s nothing better than that! Also meeting people after the shows and hearing what they thought and if they enjoyed it, if they were surprised by what I did, that’s a huge compliment to me and it touches me every time.
What is a golden rule in music that you will always uphold?
My aunt was an artist, an abstract painter who did amazing work. When I was young and becoming a musician and artist she told me, “authenticity is everything.” I agree and I’ve always held to that. Whatever I do has to be genuine and has to come from the core of my soul. If you do your work that way, no matter what anyone says, people can love it or hate it and say what they want, but you know you’ve given your true self and put it on display. In the entertainment business I’ve encountered a lot of temptations to stray from that, to take a detour from what I feel is completely my truth, from what’s right for me, and I’ve succumbed to some of those opportunities over the years. But you learn and you go through phases and you hopefully continue to spiral your work inward to that bullseye that no one can hit but you.
How do we keep up with all that you do?
Keep your eyes peeled! I love to see you at a show or here from you online. Thank you.
YOU TUBE: YouTube.com/Jamesonmakesmusic
Photo Credit: Joe Lyman
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End of Interview