Jay James first became a household name after appearing on The X Factor in 2014. Jay has since gone on to record an album and do shows alongside some of the biggest artists in the UK. He's back in Cardiff in September at St David's Hall and the Welsh lad couldn't be happier about being back in Cardiff performing.
W&W: Hi Jay, how's tricks? Tell us what you been up to?
Jay: Things are very busy but very brilliant. I'm currently at BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service), I've got a brand new show called The Big Friday Show which will start broadcasting on September 16th. I've also just signed a new record deal, so things are looking great, I'm starting to record a new album, lots of original music, get back to the music I want to make.
W&W: How would you describe the style of music your making for your new album?
Jay: Well anyone who bought my first album will know I'm a bit of a soul boy, so I'm writing and I'm producing the record too. I'm going back to soul.
W&W: And your special guest at The Overtones gig at St David's Hall..
Jay: Yes, I'm friends with the guys, we all met through Kev the promoter, he's a great guy! And St David's Hall, an amazing venue. I've been lucky enough to play there before with Rebecca Ferguson which was a sell out. The Overtones are great and I just thought it was a great opportunity to be their special guest and reintroduce myself. It's gonna be great to get back there and play new music plus I'm a Welsh boy so playing St David's Hall is a great thing for me.
W&W: No place like home! Do you go home to Saundersfoot often?
Jay: I do, my dad has just retired there and my Nan is still there. I'm very busy but I do try to get home as much as I can. I left there when I was 16 to join the navy and didn't really appreciate it but once I was away from there I missed it and couldn't wait to get back there, it's so beautiful.
W&W: So tell us how you got into music..
Jay: I never really thought about it, I was always into sport. I grew up playing rugby, cricket, football, golf, playing for Tenby United & Saundersfoot Football Club. I joined the Navy at 16 I was selected to become a physical trainer after 5yrs service and was playing rugby for the under 21's rugby union but then ended up getting into rugby league, I got six caps for the Navy Rugby League. I was focused on sport, then one New Years we was having a lads day out and suggested for a laugh I'll buy a guitar. So I bought this guitar with no intention of playing it, carried it round the pubs and tell girls I was on my way to a gig, I'd even taken the strings out of it. Then woke up in the morning with this guitar in my bed. Like I said I had no intention of playing it I had bought it as a joke so it sat in my room for a few months. Then I get this serious injury during rugby training and I was just about to join my first ship, I'd been written up for this outstanding contribution to the Royal Navy. So everything going brilliant, then this injury! I get sent on sick leave. So I'm sat at home and thinking to myself I've gotta do something and that's when I looked at the guitar and thought I'd give it a go. I started to learn it in no time I was connecting with music and found it a great way to express myself. I found it really good cause in the forces your trained to suppress your emotions and music was all about expressing your emotions and at the time I probably had a lot of emotions under the bonnet so it was a great way for me to release that. I suddenly fell in love with playing music and really enjoyed learning new songs. So that's basically how I got into music.
W&W: And you was picked up by DECCA Records?
Jay: Yes I got signed to DECCA which was a huge thing and I released a song online which went to number one in the online charts. Before I knew it The Sun newspaper had picked up on it as well as the tabloids and the Navy was saying 'what's going on here?' By that point I decided to pursue music. I'd completely fallen upon music by accident and it changed my destiny and what I longed to do. So I was with DECCA for two years and it started off exciting and I got to write loads of songs and things looked promising but after two years I could see it wasn't going to work out so I got myself out of the contract and went over to America. I was asked to write songs for Beyoncé I got to write with Nick Jonas I was in talks with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, there was a lot of labels trying to sign me but nothing seemed to materialise and I was becoming quite frustrated with the situation, nothing was happening quick enough. So I moved back to Wales, I was about to become a father and that's when I seen the ad for X Factor and thought I'd give it a shot.
W&W: So no regrets doing X Factor?
Jay: No, it's something I never thought about doing but I could see artists like Beyoncé going on the show and I knew the way they discovered artists had changed so I thought I'd give it my best shot. It was such an incredible feeling to have millions of people suddenly share my ambitions and dreams and they want you to do well and they want you to succeed. It's just an amazing platform to showcase your talent.
W&W: So what's the dream? What's the plan for Jay James?
Jay: I just want to write and perform my own music and provide for my family. I recently done a show in Shrewsbury with The Overtones and got to sing some original songs which was well received. It was a great feeling. I'd love to be a mainstream artist ofcourse and have a tour of my own. I work hard but it don't feel like work cause it's something I love doing. Also I'm really excited about the BFBS radio show, getting to play songs that I love to such a large audience. Busy times ahead!
Jay James is special guest for The Overtones at St David's Hall Cardiff on Sept 2nd.
Tickets available now!