A debut album is the result of a lifetime of experiences. And James Gillespie’s journey has been a life less ordinary.
Born in England but raised in Scotland, his nomadic existence has taken him from everywhere from the Caribbean to Finland. After numerous unlikely adventures the world over, he returned to London with a career in his music his allor- nothing ambition – and it’s beginning to pay off in often unexpected ways. He’s performed in front of huge crowds with P!nk, earned the support of Elton John and Radio 1 and accumulated 60 million streams – with a fanbase built largely via social media and time-honoured word-of-mouth.
Those stories resonate throughout his debut album ‘Safe.’ which is out now via Operator Records. They’re all there: the highs and the lows, tales of love and loss, of adventures and unfulfilled expectations. James’s rich vocal is powerful and carefully controlled, with a striking emotional resonance his biggest calling card. It’s the voice of a man who has lived through those experiences and come out the other side. Or, as one fan commented on Twitter, “James Gillespie’s songs get you right in the feels.”
“SAFE is massive part of my life that covers the sun, the dirt - the heartache and the confusion of the last few years. Ithurts to listen to half of them. In fact it hurts to listen to all of them. Its not a reason or explanation of me. Its heart-outthe-mouth without thinking. Its the late nights and the morning afters. The only time i felt safe was when writing them.Now they are all out to the world” says James.
‘Safe.’ combines his early fan favourites with some essential new tracks. ‘What You Do’, his most popular song to date with 25 million streams, sets the overall tone – deeply personal confessionals with Hozier’s sense of scale and a touch of James Blake’s sonic flair. Another established key song ‘Beyond Today’ is an immediate standout, mixing high drama with desperately desolate lyrics which capture a man at breaking point. Yet there’s outright positivity on display too, notably with the modernist Motown strut of ‘Good Life’.
The new material shows that James Gillespie’s songwriting talent continues to grow in depth and maturity. ‘ICFTI’ amplifies the dynamics and creative production embellishments before the contrasting ‘Love Lost’ is constructed around little more than layers of vocals and plaintive guitar. The adventure comes to an uplifting conclusion with ‘Home’ – the travails of the past are behind him as he looks towards a brighter future with his family.
James Gillespie co-produced ‘Safe.’ with Andy Hall Hall (Rag ‘n’ Bone Man) and Charlie Andrew (Alt-J). He’s signed to the London-based
James will follow the release of ‘Safe.’ by playing his first major European headline tour. The dates are:
16th - Hungary, Budapest, Garden Wonder
18th - Austria, Vienna, Fluc
20th - Switzerland, Zurich, Eldorado
22nd - Germany, Berlin, Baumahaus
23rd - Germany, Cologne, Helios 37
25th - France, Paris, Le Pop-Up
26th - The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Cinetol
28th - UK, London, Dingwalls
29th - UK, Bristol, Louisiana (SOLD OUT)
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