Issue 109

Monthly newspaper and online publication targeting 18 to 35 year olds. The ultimate guide to the hottest parties, going out and having fun. Music, fashion, film, travel, festivals, technology, comedy, and parties! London, Barcelona, Miami and Ibiza.

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Page 40 of 59

How did you go from being in the Navy to becoming a musician? It's pretty nuts because I signed up to the Navy when I was 16 for 22 years and it was really all I wanted to do. When all of a sud- den when I get drunk, buy a guitar then three months later get injured then start learning how to play it then find myself in music. It's so random. But it's been amaz- ing. What crazy stuff did you get up to in the Navy? Other than getting pissed up and getting random tattoos? It's amazing stuff, really, in the Navy. You're very much in and around a community of just going out with the lads all the time, lots of banter. I'm more of a mischievous type character to be honest with you, so I'm always causing trouble, sort of like to see the funny and lighter things in life. What are the wildest things you have done since X Factor? I suppose the wildest thing I've done is a combination between singing in front of 91,000 people at Twickenham stadium for the Army-Navy Rugby Match and also performing on American TV in front of Bill Withers, and then meeting Bill Withers be- cause I'm such a massive fan of his. What about the judges, where any of them just huge twats? No, they were all really nice. Louis Walsh was a lot funnier than I thought he would be. Simon Cowell is genuinely a lot nicer and has an incredible instinct for what he does. Cheryl Cole and Mel B are lovely. One day Mel B might be a bit angry with you and not talk to you, the next day she'll be hugging you and all that sort of stuff. But with Cheryl, she was really lovely, which was maybe quite contrary to the things she was saying to me after a performance. Do you have any weird fans? Yeah, I did a gig and I was signing auto- graphs after and you get the odd person who asks you to sign their forehead or sign their breasts, and this girl asked me to sign her arm and I was like, 'are you sure?', and she was like, 'yeah, do it in perma- nent marker". And so, I signed her arm in permanent marker and she was like, 'I'm going to get this tattooed tomorrow'. And sure enough, as it happened the next day, I got her notifications and people comment- ing on Twitter and this girl had literally had my signature tattooed onto her. It's quite sweet. Utterly bonkers, but quite sweet. So why did you decide to follow the path of soul music? I think soul music is about expressing what's honest to you. I think in the music industry, you're sort of pigeonholed towards what you want to do and if what you do is honest and what you are feeling, that's soul music. I try and be as honest as I can really, and I try and sing and write about what I see every day on a deeper level. That's probably where I align to people like Bill Withers and Otis Reading and the old school cats. Do you get up to any rockstar stuff when you are on tour? I mean, I'm not the type to be throwing TV's out the window, especially the TV's nowadays, they're massive! But really to be honest, the buzz is in the performing. I'm only 33 but I still want to go out and have a laugh and have a few beers and stuff. But I'm excited to perform all this new stuff that people haven't heard. It's been in the sys- tem quite a while now and I'm wondering what people will think. What's the best piece of advice you can give to people hoping to make their way into the music industry? II would say that remember it's the music business, it's called the music business for a reason. It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice. We're so en- compassed about trying to make music and then trying to make money from it and try- ing to build that fanbase and trying to get those likes and trying to get those Spotify listens, that it becomes so much of a busi- ness that you kind of forget what you're in it for. And that is to enjoy yourself making and performing music and so if you're try- ing to make it in music, don't get lost in the trying to, just enjoy what you're doing. Whether you're performing to 2 people or to 3,000. You should be enjoying it as much as you can. Ultimately, if you don't enjoy what you do, you shouldn't do it. Finally, are aliens real? Absolutely! I'm sure I just saw one. It could have been an alien or it could have been Boris Johnson. 2018 / ISSUE 109 39 HIP HOP & RNB " IT'S NICE TO BE IMPORTANT, BUT IT'S MORE IMPORTANT TO BE NICE. " After coming eighth in 2014's X-Factor finals, Jay James' life could be described as a genuine inspiration, having had his life turned upside down when he went from living a life in the Navy to becoming a successful pop star. We caught up with the man himself to discuss drunken tattoos, performing with legends and erm…aliens. follow @JAYJAMES Grace Barnott | Guestlist

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