Essentially Pop Talks to James Poole


James Poole is a singer-songwriter with a voice that sets him apart from the rest. Described as being able to “stir the soul”, James has the charisma to engage an audience and the vocal ability to hold it.

James has a very loyal fanbase (one of his many fans contacted us on Twitter to ask us to check out hiis music), and has had over 100 thousand views on his YouTube channel. Additionally his Twitter following is currently around the 23K mark.

We’d like to thank James for agreeing to an interview.

Thanks for speaking to us today. Firstly, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Hi! Well, I’m a London boy and I’m currently writing and producing an album in the safe haven I call my bedroom! I’ve just released 3 tracks on my debut EP and now here I am, answering your questions 🙂

How would you describe your music to someone who’s not heard it before?

I guess it’s ‘James Poole’ haha and if I had their ears for a moment, I wouldn’t bother describing it, I’d just hit play! Seriously though, it’s hard for me to put a label on it, each track draws on different influences although some I’d say remain consistent through my sound. The three tracks I released from my EP over summer have drawn comparisons with Adele, Sam Smith, Elton John, even Meatloaf – it’s an incredible feeling to read those comparisons and I just want to continue evolving around the voice and sound that people associate with me.

You often play a mixture of large and intimate venues. Which do you prefer, and why?

Large is incredible, you can feel the energy of the crowd and that energy becomes part of the performance. I’ll always feel at home in intimate venues as that’s where I first started learning my craft; learning that patter to get the audience on side, singing for your supper so you had to be half decent!

When covering another artist’s song, do you tend to stay close to the original version, or do you try to put your own spin on it?

I try to tip my hat and respect the original version but the thrill is seeing how fans of the original artist react to you transforming what has already been done, whether you can make it your own, maybe even improve it or just make it accessible to a new audience. There’s only one rule – don’t destroy it!

You have a large international social media following. Do you feel it’s important to be able to interact with fans in this way?

So important. My fans are incredibly understanding in that music for an unsigned artist is a 24 hour job and often that doesn’t even include writing and producing new songs. I always do my best to make time to interact around my commitments. Through Twitter especially, I have been fortunate to meet some incredible people. So many of the opportunities that come my way, stem from online interaction, from fans who are on this incredible journey with me, who help promote my music and get the word out. In today’s music industry, it’s invaluable and a loyal fanbase is the key to any successful artist who’s seeking longevity.

Do you feel other artists could benefit from using social media in the same way?

Certainly, especially artists who are working towards a deal,who want to grow their brand, you have to put in the ground work yourself – it takes time and sometimes complete luck to stumble upon the people who really want to support you in the right way. I’ve worked hard but I don’t take for granted that I have been lucky with the people I have met so far.

Your new EP, “For Your Ears Only”, has received much critical acclaim and we loved the haunting melodies. What would you like listeners to take away from each of the three songs?

Thanks, really glad you enjoyed it! Yeah it’s been a tad crazy reading the feedback – you always hope that people will like it as it’s a little piece of me they’re getting, wrapped up in each song. The three tracks are all piano ballads – you’re naturally going to get the Adele comparison so to hear critics and bloggers saying it stands up is incredible. I hope the EP so far has the listener connecting with each song in a way that they feel able to attach their own personal meaning to it. The songs in the EP are very personal to me, they’re real and cuttingly honest. When a song becomes so meaningful to someone that it will stay with them for life, that’s special and that’s where a lot of the magic in what I do comes from.

We love Runaway! Was there any particular event which inspired this song?

That’s a relief! Would’ve been an awkward question if you hadn’t! Thank you again. Yes, although I’m afraid it’s not my place to speak about it. Runaway was born as a song for a friend of mine who is also a singer-songwriter but, as the melody evolved and the lyrics gradually started coming to me, I realised that the song had changed and that it was now meant for me. I spoke with my friend and we agreed I’d made that emotional connection with it and it was right that it should be my song.

What made you choose a musical career?

The clinical insanity which I’m currently seeking therapy for. Ha, no, life pushed me towards it, I don’t think I ever really made a choice. Music’s there whether I’m on top of the world or feeling six feet under, there’s always that urge to make music and to sing. Thinking about it, I’ve always loved learning languages and I suppose music is the one I feel most at home communicating with – it’s the most effective universal language.

How do you relax? What do you like to do away from the music?

I’m a sucker for a good series; Game of Thrones, American Horror Story, Breaking Bad. I do have a mild Hell’s Kitchen addiction… I have a little book of Gordon Ramsey quotes which I often shout at my friends when we’re cooking, in jest I may add, no one’s been kicked out of the kitchen yet. I love a duvet day with all the right movies and all the wrong food. I love random things like paintballing, archery, kayaking, outdoorsy type things.

What has been the highlight of your career so far? Or do you think the best is yet to come?

There have been so many ups and downs. I am so grateful for everything that’s brought me to this point but I have the goals in my head, when I achieve them, those will be the very highest of the highlights.

What does the future hold for James Poole?

Wait and see! One thing’s for sure though, it’ll be an adventure.

Thanks so much for having me, it’s been a pleasure!

James can be found all over social media. Check out his YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Listen to the gloriously haunting “Runaway”:

James Poole spoke to Juliet Barrable and Lisa Hafey

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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