James Paterson is a young singer/songwriter studying Commercial Music at BSU. A regular performer at the Nest, James is an honest musician of the acoustic pop/folk music genre. After supporting artists Mike Dignam and Natasha North last summer, he released his debut single Read Between the Lines. Now exactly seven months after the original single, the video for Read Between the Lines is set to be released. James talks to milk. about being compared to Ed Sheeran, the making of the video and what the future holds for him and his music.
What originally made you want to get into music?
I’ve been playing in orchestras and bands since I was very young and writing songs since I was even younger so it’s always been a part of my life as I was growing up. Also being raised in London so close to Camden was a big influence; there were so many opportunities to play my music because of its incredible music scene.
You have been compared to Ed Sheeran and the 1975, do you like being compared to these artists?
I suppose everyone gets compared to someone down the line. I used to hate being told my voice sounded like someone else’s but after a while it grew on me. It’s great to be compared to people who are so successful and I always bear in mind that it’s good to draw influences from other artists. I don’t necessarily want to be the next Ed Sheeran, but I do want to be the first James Paterson.
Has your sound changed and evolved since you started out?
The first YouTube cover I ever made was a cover of Jasey Rae by the pop punk band All Time Low and I put on a really cringeworthy American accent. Thankfully I moved away from that into more acoustic pop/folk music and singing in my own accent. I still play that genre of music but with a full band behind me of incredibly talented musicians. So, yes, my sound has definitely changed and has now evolved into a much more musically intelligent arrangement thanks to my bandmates.
What’s the story behind your single Read Between the Lines?
Read Between the Lines is a special song to me because it was the first song I wrote when I moved from London to Bath. It was Freshers Week and we were going out a lot. I couldn’t help noticing a few of the girls we saw every night who were wearing practically nothing and could barely walk. The song started out originally quite carefree and fun but during the writing process it began to turn darker as I thought more about what this type of recklessness could spiral into. It’s a song that I think people like because it’s upbeat and really fun to perform. But it’s also a song that a lot of us can relate to whether it’s personal or about someone we know, and it touches on a few delicate issues about our generation.
Tell us about the video shoot. Who did you get involved in the video?
Shooting the music video with the band and the actors was great. Filming took place over two days but the post-production took a lot longer. Because it has a storyline and deeper meaning to it we had to be really careful with the way we went about telling it. Amanda Hughson starred as the main girl in the song. She’s an amazing actress and a good friend of mine so we thought she was perfect for the role. There are loads of cameos in the video, from friends to other musicians I know. Each band member also appears at least once in the girl’s storyline, which I think is a nice touch.
Where are you next be playing? Any big plans for the future?
The band and I are playing at the Nest on 21 April, the same day the music video comes out to celebrate. After that we have a few more shows in Bath towards the end of April and early May and then we begin our UK tour in June. We will be touring America and Canada in July, which I can’t wait for! I’m hoping to release my debut EP before the tour, which contains songs you’ll recognise from my live shows. After that, who knows!