Indie Artist James Hampshire fka Jay J Fresh
is Featured on the Dubb Spot Today!
As always we find out the story behind each indie artist!
Check out below what the indie artist James Hampshire had to discuss with Dubb Spot Records.
DSR: How old were you when you developed an interest in making music?
JH: I’ve always loved music and loved listening to it, but actually making music, i’d say around age 8.
DSR: What formed your love of music in your head and inspired you to start making music as an indie artist?
JH: Curiosity really, the wonderment and awe at an early age listening to cassette tapes and wondering how in the world they were creating those worlds and all that orchestrated sound and magic. Not just the music itself, but I was also curious about the whole production and recording of it.
DSR: Let’s get to know a little more about you and how you grew up. What was it like in your hometown? What kind of kid were you?
JH: I was born in Calgary, Canada, but from the age 3-11 I lived in a country called Vanuatu and more specifically, the island of Efate and town Port Vila and for our latter stay in Espiritu Santo in the town of Luganville. What was it like? Well it was a paradise really, living by the beach, freshly grown tropical fruit everywhere and lots and lots of beautiful music, live local traditional stringband music as well as American Reggae and Hip Hop music playing from the speakers of boom boxes kids would carry around.
What kind of kid was I? I was a kid full of imagination, which served me well, because growing up in the islands and not having TV, a computer or video games and just the electricity our hand cranked generator would provide for a few hours a day, one had to produce their own entertainment. I would be perfectly fine walking up and down the white sandy beaches, or through the jungle alone, lost in my own thoughts and imagination. But also enjoyed playing sports like futbol (Soccer) with the local kids my friends. I’d also love to swim and climb trees.
DSR: So let’s talk about your music. How would you describe your sound to another indie artist or someone who has never heard it before?
JH: My sound is unique, but not unusual. I grew up inspired by my top three Artists, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and Phil Collins. So my music is a nice blend of Reggae, Hip Hop and Pop, with a bunch of Island music influence as well. I can’t take credit for the following term, but i’d sum my music up as Urban Island Style Music.
DSR: What is the significance of your name?
JH: James Hampshire is my birth name. I’ve released music in the past under my alias Jay.j.Fresh, but plan to use my birth name for music released from here on out, including my latest release. The name Jay.j.Fresh comes from my more Hip Hop/Breakdance influenced days.
DSR: There’s a part of the industry that irks me the most, where a talented indie artist gets overlooked because they don’t fit a mold. How frustrating is that for you, if people seem to think that you don’t have that sound for radio?
JH: It doesn’t bother me, I believe there is a place for everyone, we just need to find our own niche and audience. The industry is a big business and as such their main focus is product and they have to be picky in my opinion and generate product that the masses will love and not the minority, because if not, then they will not survive. But what is inspiring to me is those artists out there that not only are talented, but are also independently finding ways outside of the box, to still produce and play the music they want, while still making a decent living and in some cases even comparable income to Major label artists.
DSR: What do you think needs to be brought to music in this decade and how do you plan to add to that as an indie artist?
JH: I think more artists need to be less scared of making the music that they want and that they love and not try to just copy or cover what’s currently on the radio. Because as i’m sure you know, music becomes stale fast when everyone keeps putting out that same cookie cutter sound that has been selling. How I plan to add to this is continuing to make the music that feels good to my soul and never be scared to try something different and not just stick to what i’m comfortable with. After all, music is art and art always evolves and changes.
DSR: What do you think of the music that came out in the last decade?
JH: No matter what the decade, I feel like there will always be bad music and good music and music is such a personal preference and taste. Put it this way, if we’re talking strickly major radio music in the past decade, i’d say for a few years there it got quite stale to me, as mentioned above, it seemed once the cd sales started dropping big time, everyone it seems freaked out and figured the only way to survive was to make that cookie cutter music formula type music, because that was what was selling and people were just scared to make a song outside of that, in fear that it wouldn’t do as well and they would suffer. I’m speaking of radio artists and especially their major labels. But what is encouraging to me is that you are seeing artists starting to think outside of the box and being less afraid to try new things and that gives me hope in the future of music.
DSR: How would you rate your skills when compared to other artists heard on the radio?
JH: Well i’d say I am talented in what I do and the type of music I make. I wouldn’t compare myself to another indie artist, but i’d say instead that I have evolved and grown my talent throughout the years and have no plans of stopping ever.
DSR: Have you learned any lessons so far and if so, what are they?
JH: I’m always learning and one of the lessons I’ve learned is that as an indie artist, I can only be happy with the songs I put out, if I make music from my heart and my soul. I must be in love with the music I make first, if not I can not expect anyone else to be attracted to it. And I cannot copy another artist out there, I must be genuine and true to myself like I say, not be scared of trying new things and evolving as an artist. Having said this, I believe as music makers, we can learn a lot from those who have come before us and be inspired as I have been and continue to be.
DSR: Are you working on any new projects with artists or have any projects that you are promoting right now?
JH: Yes I just released a new self-titled 16 song Album on itunes and cdbaby under my birth name James Hampshire. I also produced a collaboration with an artist in Australia named Misdivine (Tania Hannah), titled ‘So you say’ and is featured on my album as well. You don’t wanna miss this one, especially this collaboration I mentioned, I have received much great feedback for both thus far and believe that this Album is my best yet.
DSR: As an indie artist have you entered any competitions and won?
JH: No and I have only entered a couple songwriting competitions.
DSR: Where can we find your music online?
JH: You can find my music on iTunes under my name James Hampshire
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/james-hampshire/id710026588 as well as two great previously released Albums of mine under my former name Jay.j.Fresh. You can also find my music on Cdbaby under both names.
DSR: We ask every indie artist that we interview, what’s the best piece of advice that someone has ever given to you?
JH: That would be to do me and represent my true self always.
DSR: Is there anything else that you would like to include in closing of this interview?
JH: Yes, first off, thank you for this interview, I’ve enjoyed it and think you’ve had some great and effective questions. Also that you all can expect much more great and true music to come from me in the future, thanks for your continuing support. One last thing, if you’d like a physical copy of my Album, professionally printed cds are available, but only through me personally. Contact me at jayjfreshproductions.com and we’ll make it happen, autograph and all.
Thanks James Hampshire it’s always a pleasure to talk to an indie artist with fresh new music!