The Brighton-hailed singer talks inspirations, The Great Escape, and his new song “Better Man”
Back with in-depth lyricism and breath-taking vocals is Brighton-based singer-songwriter Jamie Mathias, with his new single “Better Man”. Following his emotional tune, “ Love Ourselves”, Mathias touches on his troubled childhood with layers of melodic guitars and soaring pop-filled choruses. Speaking on the track the singer said: “‘Better Man’ is a very personal song about my own experience growing up as a child around abuse and addiction. It reflects my very strong feelings about not wanting to go down the same path as my father and make the same mistakes. Ultimately I want to be a ‘Better Man’ and when I decide to become a father, I want to provide the best possible life for my future children.”
Accompanied by a beautiful and scenic video, Mathias lends a caring and supportive role to the younger generation of his family. Having cracked the Top 40 Album charts with his 2017 album The Great Escape, Mathias is making waves in the industry with his acoustic pop sound. We caught up with the rising star talking inspirations, new music and what’s next.
Check out the interview below…
Hi Jamie, how has lockdown been treating you and how has it influenced your creativity?
Lockdown has been very severely unkind to my waistline! Creatively it’s been a bit of a mixed bag, I’d say overall it’s been stifled quite a lot. Having cabin fever isn’t a positive thing for an extrovert but I’ve been finding ways to manage it. I’ve recently had a bunch of zoom sessions with a bunch of writers and producers I’m used to working with and come out with some great new songs. Nothing beats being in the studio in person though so I’m itching to get back! I also invested in an inflatable hot tub for my front drive as I don’t have a garden and needed something outdoors.
Who did you grow up listening to and how did this influence your sound?
I grew up on Oasis. I know I’m supposed to come out with a collection of sounds that shaped my childhood but that’s pretty much all I remember being on in my house. I’m an early nineties baby so it was a mixture of them being in the stratosphere at the time and having a father who was always drunk and obsessed with football and I’m pretty sure their sole demographic was stadiums of 40,000 shirtless, beer-bellied football hooligans. I still listen to them now but I’d say a lot of my own music was probably shaped by the noughties indie-era like The Kooks and Arctic Monkeys, rap music , Eminem will always be a God, a local Brighton band that sadly don’t exist anymore called Floors & Walls and the meteoric rise of a certain ginger singer-songwriter. I’ve always enjoyed being able to be versatile with my own music and cross over genres but I’m finding the deeper I get into the industry, the more I’m encouraged to find my own sound and stick within those boundaries. As long as I have balance everything is all good.
How has it been putting out art and music in such uncertain times?
It’s strange isn’t it! It’s definitely had its challenges but I’m not complaining. I’d have rather have had some of the resources that would normally be available to assist with promotion but the upside of it is that there’s not really been a peak time to post things you have to wait for. Everybody has been glued to their phones. I’m fortunate that I had a lot of the music I’m due to release wrapped up before lock down started so it was nice to not have to panic getting the tracks finished. I definitely wouldn’t want to release this way forever though!
Congratulations on “Better Man” – how was it putting out something so raw and personal to you?
Thanks a lot! First and foremost I make music for myself so putting out something like this feels very natural to me. I feel like if I don’t write about subjects that are a reflection of the way that I feel or are based upon my own experiences in some way, then I’m not staying true to myself and ultimately I wouldn’t feel a connection to my own music.
You’ve always delved into important issues in your music and lyrically – has music always been a cathartic process for you?
100%. Fundamentally that’s what music is to me. A lot of the time, I don’t even understand my own feelings until I start writing music and it gives me a sense of understanding about myself that’d probably take weeks in therapy. I’ve always felt grateful to have this outlet because I immediately feel better about things that are beyond my control once I’ve written about them and then I can move on. I think that’s why I’m actually such an outwardly happy person, because the things that could bring me down get left on the paper.
Your last single “Love Ourselves” looked at the damaging effects on social media – has this observation become even more heightened during lockdown for you?
Actually I think a little bit of the opposite, I think lockdown has been a bit of a leveller. I think it has helped people to realise a lot of the trivial things we normally get worked up about don’t actually matter that much. People haven’t been able to go anywhere and portray perfect lifestyles that usually don’t exist or are at least exaggerated. We’ve all been unable to get haircuts and beauty treatments and I think not being able to see our friends and families has, at least temporarily, made us realise what is most important.
Since your last album The Great Escape, how do you think you’ve developed sonically and lyrically?
It’s incomparable in my opinion. To the point where I’m considering ripping down all my old music and starting fresh with what I’ve made within the last year or so. It doesn’t even feel like the same person. I’ve been blessed to work with some amazing people which has helped things sound great but I have learned so much, developed a lot and I’m getting really impatient wanting to show everyone what I’ve got up my sleeve. Patience has never been a trait of mine.
What are you excited about in 2020? What’s next for you?
For it to end! Fingers crossed lockdown is all over soon. I have a couple of singles still to release this year and then 2021 is where it really kicks off with a new EP and hopefully live shows that never end. That’s real happiness.