ARTS AND FEATURES — 08 October 2013

By David Hennessy

The modest Choice Music Award-winning singer Gavin James has in the past described his headline shows as like a 21st birthday in that “you don’t know if anyone is going to show up”. It was apt then that on his own 21st birthday, the singer was signing a record deal. Talk about a present exceeding expectations. After supporting Ingrid Michaelson, John Murry and most recently Kodaline, 22 year old Gavin is now touring the UK in support of Ryan Keen, just ahead of releasing the EP Remember Me, his debut UK release, on October 21.

“I love it, it’s just a different crowd from the one you get over here (Ireland). Any opportunity you get over there as well is very hard to get so any time something comes along, I’m very happy to do it,” says the Dublin singer on supporting another act in the UK.

The Irish World was there to see Gavin going down well with the London crowd when he warmed the crowd up for Kodaline back in April and Gavin is looking forward to meeting the fans and friends he made last time around: “I’ve noticed on Twitter and stuff like that that a lot of the people who would have come to see the Kodaline gigs are nearly all coming to the same gigs because we’re kind of going around the same places. It’s cool.”

It was in Scala in April that Steve Garrigan told the packed house how good it was to play to such crowds after doing so many gigs for just four people (and two of those were in the support band). Gavin knows what this is like also after learning his trade on the pub circuit: “It was mad. Some of the gigs, you would be doing a hotel lobby and there would be one person and you would say: ‘What the f**k? What’s the point of me playing in front of one person?’ Even my own gigs would have been the same back then because I wouldn’t have had a clue how to get my name out there and stuff.”

The experience helped to make Gavin the experience he is now: “I wouldn’t change it at all. I did it for the guts of four years. I was crap at the start until I gradually learned stagecraft, how to talk to the crowd and stuff. There’s nothing worse than when you’re talking to people in a pub that don’t want to listen to you. You’ve got to try to get them to listen to you a bit. It’s a great way to bust your chops really.”

Another route many use is to gain exposure via the vehicles of reality talent shows. Did this ever tempt Gavin? “Oh God, no. I wanted to stay away from them because once you do them, you’re always gonna be ‘that guy who did The Voice’. I wanted to stay away from that. I’m sure it popped into my head a couple of times when I was like: ‘Aah, this isn’t really going anywhere’. I’m delighted I didn’t do it because I know really, really great singers who have done it and they’ve got nowhere. I’m not the stereotypical boy band looking lad that goes on so I wouldn’t really be bothered with it.”

2012 and 2013 has seen Gavin steadily increasing his fanbase with a highlight most certainly coming when he beat The Script, Delorentos and Le Galaxie to having his Say Hello voted as the best song of 2012 in March: “That was mad. I was over recording (in London) when the awards were going on so I flew back the day of the awards and basically 20 minutes before they announced the award, some lad just kind of grabbed me, pulled me backstage and I was  like: ‘What the f**k?’ It was a bit mad because of the people in the category that would have had a lot more followers than I did. It was a community thing, everybody was voting every day. My dad was standing on Grafton Street handing out leaflets to everybody so it was great.”

Is Gavin’s aim now to replicate his Irish success in the UK? “Yeah, as much as I can really. The main thing is just getting the EP out, we’ll hopefully be doing a video next week somewhere in England. Hopefully get that out before it and get the ball rolling.”

Remember Me by Gavin James is out on October 21. Gavin is currently touring the UK in support of Ryan Keen. For more information, go to: http://gavinjamesmusic.com/.

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