I have been chatting with James Cramer….
about his latest track, Let Me Do Good, and why he decided to shoot the video in Mexico City. I ask what sort of sounds inspires him and whether there is more material coming later this year – he recommends an upcoming artist to follow.
Cramer discusses his touring plans and what he hopes to achieve before the end of the year; what approaching musicians should remember; how he unwinds from music – he ends the interview by selecting a great song.
Hi, James. How are you? How has your week been?
I'm sweet. I'm just back from Norway where I was writing and recording songs for my album. An inspiring place with very cool people.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is James Cramer. I'm a singer-songwriter from Dublin.
Let Me Do Good is your debut single. What is the story behind the song?
Now, that would be telling! It's a mixture of a lot of things and people I observe up-close or from far away - and I lay it all out for people to make their own mind up on this one. I do not do this all the time but this song is a special one so I don't want to ruin it for you!
Was it cool shooting the video in Mexico City? Was there a reason for locating there?
Yes. It was very cool. The idea came about whilst myself and my manager were having coffee and we started coming up with places and scenes where we would love it to be set. The guys did a beautiful job. It's visually stunning and gives the audience a challenging contrast of the song. It's a cinematic piece so where better than Mexico City in all its glory would capture that.
Is there going to be more material coming next year?
Yes. We will have another single out. We are going song-by-song at the moment. The album is nearly finished but I'm always writing and exploring musically. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it doesn't work out…but it's all part of the ride.
Who do you rank as music idols and inspirations? Did you grow up around a lot of music?
Roy Orbison, Van Morrison; Bob Dylan and John Lee Hooker.
Not really. There would be parties and people would have sing-songs but nobody I knew was playing any instruments never mind writing their own songs. I would of secretly felt very out of touch with everyone who I knew and grew up with.
Looking back; was there a single moment you knew you had to follow music and do it as a career?
School never worked out for me - I just couldn't settle in that environment. I thought I was a bit crazy as, in class, melodies, rhythms and lyrics would pop in to my head. I thought it was just me it happened to; then you meet a small minority of people and they have it too so you get that it's fine: you’re just a creative person and doing metalwork had no appeal whatsoever!
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
To finish my solo debut album and get it ready to roll for release in 2019.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
There's been a lot. I've been so lucky to have travelled the world because of my songs: no other reason would I have done that, so I'll say that. The music brings you to strange and beautiful places for sure!
Which album means the most to you would you say (and why)?
Mine would be Into the Music by Van Morrison (side-two particularly!).
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
The Rolling Stones; why not. I reckon I could give 1970s-Stones a good run for their money!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
If it's in you, you'll know. Follow it; work at it. You will struggle with it but you just keep going. If you quit then it wasn't in you from the start. Find some people who believe in you and who can give you honesty on your work. Go for it and make no apologies in doing so.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
I'm off to Belgium next month. We headline Rusilelde Festival on October 19th and Dranouter on 20th.
IN THIS PHOTO: Gráinne Hunt
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
She's not new - but we are always new to someone. An Irish singer songwriter, Gráinne Hunt, is a great vocalist and songwriter who works hard. Check out her debut E.P., Firing Pin.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Yes, I do, but it's hard to really switch off at a dinner or a party so I like to go boxing and train hard and to go to art galleries. My mind is gone in those places.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Van Morrison & John Lee Hooker - I Cover the Waterfront
Follow James Cramer