This is not the first time James Bay has frequented the pages of Her.ie and it certainly will not be the last.
We featured the British vocal sensation as a ‘Name To Remember’ earlier in the year, and caught up with him once again ahead of his return to Irish shores for a headline gig at Dublin’s Academy.
With similarities often drawn between Scottish crooner, Paolo Nutini, and American singer-songwriter, Ray LaMontagne, it comes as no surprise that the 23-year-old has supported some of the most recent successful acts in the industry.
When we spoke to Bay last, he noted Hozier as the artist he would most like to collaborate with and six months later he is touring the US as the Wicklow sensation’s support act.
“Oh my god, that’s awesome,” he laughed. “We started the tour a few weeks ago and we got straight into it immediately. As a fan it was great to see Hozier live properly for the first time. We did two nights and he was incredible.
“Just before the third night in Atlanta he had to pull out because he was too ill and it took everyone by surprise a but. It was a 1200 capacity venue and the last minute thing they could do at that point was say to the people in line, because the doors weren’t suite open, ‘well look James is going to still play if everyone wants to hang around’.
“500 people stayed around and watched, so I got to headline a show essentially, which was bizarre. A couple of nights later I had to do the same thing in Dallas, so it has been an eventful start to the tour but he’s doing good and he’s back on track”.
‘Hold Back The River’ is the latest release from Bay and title track from his brand new EP.
Bay enjoyed fantastic success with track ‘Move Together’ and launched his debut EP in July 2013. The singer-songwriter released his second EP ‘Let It Go’ at the beginning of the summer and is about to release his third EP Hold Back The River on November 21st.
“I’m growing the sound across these EPs,” he explained.
“I started out with a very solo acoustic thing last year with Dark of The Morning and I’m sort of pushing things further towards the band that I’ve been playing with and that whole sound that I’ve been writing with in mind. The next EP is going to have some more electric guitar in it and some more drums, a bigger sound in that way.
“In the live shows there is always going to be a moment of solo, where I break everything down and it’s just me and the guitar”.
The beginning of next year is looking good for James Bay fans as the singer-songwriter hints at the release of an album. “It’s on its way”, Bay assures us.
With no great length of time passed between the release of Bay’s second and third EP we ask him about his songwriting.
“Over the past 18 months I’ve been writing song essentially with the album in mind but you kind of write more songs that can be fitted on an album so yea, I’ve had some of them on the back burner,” Bay revealed.
“I have stuff for the album but then I had songs that I really liked and wanted people to hear and trying to think of how to get them out. This EP is just what I’ve been up to”.
The phenomenal ‘Move Together’.
Out of all the material Bay has penned to date, we had to ask if there is a lyric he is most proud of?
“There’s a song that I play live, I haven’t released it yet, it is called ‘Scars’. That’s got some lyrics there that I’m really pleased with – it’s kind of about the whole song.
“You’ll be hearing it soon,” he teases.
Bay has toured with Tom Odell, John Newman and Kodaline and previously noted supporting the Dubliners in the Olympia Theatre as his standout moment to date but has this changed since we last spoke?
“I mean over that side of the world, Dublin particularly, one of the coolest things was Kodaline inviting me out on tour again and I got to bring my band and do main support. This meant I got to perform to a sold-out O2 arena of 14,500 people.
“I mean it is one thing to stand and try to keep it together and play your songs but they were all singing the words along, it was crazy,” he continued.
“I was playing songs that I had released on the previous EP and people knew them. It was amazing to be in front of such an enormous crowd and have people doing that. Dublin always brings that kind of crowd, which is very cool.
One thing we like to ask rising stars like Bay is about the music that they’re listening to now and those who they think are tipped for great success.
“There’s a guy that I just discovered, I think he is from New Orleans, he is called Benjamin Booker. There is a song of his called ‘Have You Seen My Son’, which you’ve just got to listen to”.
When it comes to our favourite question – if there was a song by another artist that you could call your own, what would it be and why? Bay finds it difficult to answer.
“That’s a tough one, there is a load. I sort of respect them too much to even wish they were mine,” he replied, “all I will say is that there’s a couple of classic that I’m a big fan of”.
“There’s a song called ‘Case Of You’ by Joni Mitchell, I just think that is brilliant. I don’t think it is perfect but it is really close”.
On the subject of awards and the dream accolade Bay would like to have on his mantelpiece, without any hesitation he opts for a Grammy.
“It has got to be a Grammy, no question. Who doesn’t want a Grammy?”
Stay tuned for a very special set from Bay for The Sunday Sessions coming later in the year.
Get your copy of Hold Back The River via iTunes and other digital retailers from November 21st. For more info check out jamesbaymusic.com, or follow all updates on the singer’s official Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.
We’ll leave you with one of our favourites, a bright and unforgettable anthem ‘If You Ever Want to Be in Love’.