Updated: Friday, 22nd August 2014 @ 6:18pm

Interview: Jay James Picton eager to return after Bridgewater Hall show

Interview: Jay James Picton eager to return after Bridgewater Hall show

By Francine Ponticelli

After gracing Manchester’s Bridge Water Hall, Jay James Picton returned to the tour bus and granted MM a little talk time.

Jay James’ first time performing in Manchester as the support act for 2010’s X Factor runner-up Rebecca Ferguson was a huge success.  Speaking of the experience he said: “It was fantastic. The whole day was wicked.”

He admitted to feeling a little surprised and overwhelmed by the audience’s response to his songs, but thought the whole evening was great, as he remarked: “I definitely want to come back.”

For Jay James to feel a little overwhelmed is no surprise as having a singing career was never on the agenda for the 26-year-old sports fanatic from Saundersfoot.

“It’s a little bit surreal and quite crazy,” said the singer, whose life before a knee injury was very rugby-orientated.

“It’s crazy when you look at the grand scheme of things. I have a different life now.

“I feel like I have had three lives, but things happen for a reason,” he added.

However, proving that he is ready for a new challenge, he said: “I’ve almost been locked in the studio for the past year, so it’s time to be out expressing.”

After some time spent in New York, where he recorded his debut album, Jay James surprisingly admitted to not being aware of his soulful voice before he learned to play guitar.

“I played sport every day of my life. No one in my family sings, both of my parents are tone deaf. I owned no CDs and I generally didn’t have a musical awareness,” he said.  

After an injury prohibited him to play rugby he began to teach himself how to play guitar from online tutorials.

“I wasn’t forthcoming in telling people I was learning guitar. I’m from a different world, you know,

“My best mate was the first person to hear me sing and he told me I sounded like Al Green. I didn’t know who that was,” he recalled.

Jay James has come a long way from those days and he explained: “I’m learning a lot. I’m like a kid in a sweet shop. I love it.”

A complete turn-around in lifestyle would not come without some memorable experiences and the 26-year-old had some to share.

“I had a few quite surreal experiences. I got to work with Booker T. Jones in L.A and that was a highlight.

“Writing with Booker was immense. He is grounded and a lovely, lovely human,” he stated.

He was also invited to sing three songs by the American lyricist Hal David at the ASCAP awards, for pop music, in his honour which he described as ‘a bit of a dream’.

As a self-made success, which Jay James is, it may seem strange that this soulful singer performed as the support act for a singing competition contestant. However, this is no problem for him as he is in full support of his fellow artists.

“I put Rebecca Ferguson’s success down to her song writing ability and her talent. She has made a mark in her own way.

“As far the X Factor goes, it’s a good way to get into the industry, but I wouldn’t have gone on it,” he concluded.

A broody and moving voice, as well as a refreshing talent, Jay James Picton is man with a lot more to give, so watch this space.

Jay James Picton is to release his first single Play it by Heart next month. For further details on his tour dates, visit http://www.jayjamespicton.com/