James TW on the differences between the US and the UK
The rising British star tells us about the differences between the two audiences, American cities he's visited, and his dream of headlining in the States.
Originally launched into stardom by none other than Shawn Mendes, James Taylor-Watts (known better as James TW) is an English singer-songwriter.
He just wrapped up a tour of the US opening for Andy Grammar, and his 2018 single ‘Say Love’ is currently climbing the charts. We caught up with him in the midst of all the excitement to hear more about the tour, the song, and the mundane things you have to buy when you move into your first flat.
Hi! Thanks for taking the time to speak to us. You’ve just got back from performing all over the US, can you tell us a bit about that?
I went on a 20-show run with Andy Grammar, and it was a great opportunity for me to play in front of American crowds for the first time in a couple years. I was excited to see existing fans and to find new ones along the way.
It also gave me the ability to test out some new songs like ‘Say Love’ before it had been released. And I finally got to see some new cities like Portland and Boston for the first time, which was pretty cool.
Do you notice any differences between audiences in the UK and the US?
Not really, actually! The only difference I’d say might be how they react to a joke I’ll tell in between songs.
Your latest single ‘Say Love’ has been stuck in our head for days, can you tell us a bit about the writing process behind it?
‘Say Love’ wasn’t my normal process of writing a song. Usually, I’ll come into the session with a few lyrical concepts in my mind, but this time it happened whilst in the room. The song started on piano and then transitioned to guitar.
It looks like you had a great time filming the video for ‘Say Love’. What are the best and worst bits about being on set?
The best bits were getting to drive a Jaguar F Type and getting to act a little bit. I like acting in music videos because it scares me. There really weren’t many bad bits to be honest! The whole experience was great.
It’s no secret that you’re currently working on new music, so what can you tell us about that?
Yes I am! I really feel this next wave of music shows progression in my writing, and I’m also experimenting with a different sounds and genres.
You’ve just hit a huge milestone in your career — generating 7 million monthly listeners on Spotify! What achievement would you love to reach next?
10 million monthly listeners is the next big goal of mine on the streaming side, and I’d also like to go out on a headline US tour for the first time.
We have to ask about your relationship with Shawn Mendes. He started following you on YouTube, helped you get signed, and invited you out on tour. What’s next for the pair of you? Can we expect to see any collaborations in the future?
Shawn was a great champion of mine a couple years ago. He really allowed me to grow on stage by taking me on tour and taught me a lot. Now I consider Shawn a friend whom I’m always excited to spend time with wherever we might run into each other.
You recently tweeted that you’ve just moved in to your first flat, congratulations! What’s the most boring thing you’ve had to buy for it? I once went for months without a tin opener.
Thank you! I had to buy a microwave. That was pretty boring and heavy. Also things like bin bags, soap, washing detergents… They’re all pretty boring and grown up.
Carrying on the theme of ‘Say Love’, can you tell us the thing you love the most in the following categories:
Junk food? Pizza
Vinyl record? James Taylor – ‘Sweet Baby James’
Clothing brand? All Saints
Part about being a popstar? Expressing myself through writing
Sports car? Audi R8
Book? ‘Noughts and Crosses’ by Malorie Blackman
Binge-worthy show? How To Get Away With Murder or The Office
Venue? Red Rocks (never been but would love to go)