Watching your own downward spiral from the detached vantage point of a spectator is nothing to scoff at. Turning it into a song is something to be commended – and this is what ‘Hall of Fear’ off James Billett’s debut EP, ‘What Will They Say About Us’, is.
Written in the wake of walking away from James Billett’s original music career, signed to a major record label, the song is a testament to the strength of Billett’s convictions of himself as a songwriter and artist. In the past, Billett had already begun establishing a music career for himself. He was signed to a major record label and gathered momentum and interest, before deciding that it wasn’t right. Walking away from a path to stardom so perfectly laid out for him would not have been an easy decision to make.
“I started to hate the idea of becoming famous if all it meant was wearing the right things and singing songs you didn’t like,” says Billett.
Having felt stifled creatively and trapped during his time on the label, James Billett was then free to write his own songs.
No subject is off limits amongst the other tracks either, as political topics such as the #MeToo movement, police brutality and gay rights are all tackled with sensitivity and politicised lyricism. Lead single ‘Faith Over Family’ is a sombre yet beautiful damnation of the religious attitudes towards homosexuality, played out as the observations of a father and son’s differing attitudes. It’s the universal played out in the personal – a brilliant way of exploring the topics and a testament to Billett’s skills as a storyteller.
‘What Will They Say About Us’ is the definitive statement of arrival from one of the most exciting new musical acts on the folk scene today.
The ‘What Will They Say About Us’ EP is released on the 25th September 2020.