Jamie Webster interview: “I’m really just trying to do my thing and make my way”

Jamie Webster first found success last year when he provided the soundtrack for Liverpool’s Champions League victory; with his rendition of ‘Allez Allez Allez’ becoming somewhat of a cult favourite. The artist’s folksy guitar anthems have struck a chord with the nation’s working-class for their relevance to the strifes of modern life, and, with his brand new single ‘This Place’ released today, and his debut album due for release next month, CelebMix decided to catch up with the Scouse icon to discuss his career so far.

Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us. How has life been treating you?

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Obviously, I’m missing live music, but this lockdown has been a good time to write some new material and record some new demos. I’ve also had the album campaign but I’ve also been trying to exercise more and eat a bit better than you would if you were on the road. Prior to the lockdown I had a really busy schedule so at first it was nice to have a bit of a break, but as I said at the start, I’m really missing the audiences that make my gigs so exciting and can’t wait to get back to it. 

So, starting at the beginning which artist was your gateway into music?

I grew up listening to music through my parents, in particular my mum. The first bands that spoke to me were The Beatles and Oasis, which lead me to my all-time biggest influence,which is Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan made me realise that it was possible for me to write songs that matter, because all he was doing was playing a few chords and telling the truth in his lyrics.

And when did the idea of pursuing music full-time properly come to fruition?

I’ve been playing live music for over ten years, but it’s only become my full-time profession and job in the past 18 months or so. It’s been a dream of mine to do this since I started playing guitar. 

Your songs detail the everyday struggles of the working class in Liverpool, and indeed all over the country. Do you feel that growing up in such a setting has made you the artist that you are today? And how effective do you think music is in helping to voice concerns over social and political issues?

Wherever anyone grows up, that shapes them for the person that they are today and I’m very proud of my upbringing and the people that I represent; for me that’s the working classes. I worked as an electrician from being 16 and, before that, I had a paper round, so I’m not shy of a day’s graft. I understand and sympathise with what the average working person goes through. Music is an amazing way of bringing people together; nearly everyone listens to music and once something catches fire it spreads.  If the message in the tune is strong enough, it’s only a matter of time before that message starts bringing people together and things start to happen.

The Liverpool Echo has named you as one of the most influential people in Merseyside. How does it feel to be bestowed such an honour in your hometown?

It’s always amazing to have the love of your own people. Without the initial support of my fellow scousers, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be answering these questions today and I certainly wouldn’t have done half of the other things that I have up to now. I’m not too bothered about the actual title of being an influential person; as long as I’m making people happy and have a hand in making them sing and dance then that will do for me. If I’m doing anything else then it’s a bonus.

Do you find the whole prospect of being known as an influential figure daunting?

I don’t find it daunting because I’m not the type of person to dwell on that sort of thing. I’m really just trying to do my thing and make my way. I’ve always tried to set an example to the younger generation whenever I’m in the public eye and I’m generally a friendly person. The main things in acting responsibly and with decency are covered off, so there’s no added pressure.

You are an avid Liverpool F.C supporter and provided the soundtrack for the club’s Champions League victory last year. How did this journey come about?

It’s been a long process, over ten years, but this journey just exploded the past couple of years, a lot of it down to Liverpool’s success. But I think the key to my success is authenticity. I’m just a local lad with a passion for music, the people around me and my football team. Artists get the strongest reactions from fans who identify with them and I definitely see myself reflected in every person in the crowd, so it’s a mutual respect. Social media also has its part to play. My passion will always be my music and playing to people.

Growing up as a football fan, is it surreal to think that you are now a figurehead for your local team?

I feel like the luckiest lad in the world to have done what I have with Liverpool, the only thing that could top it would be for me to put on the number 8 shirt and play in centre midfield. I really don’t see myself as a figurehead, I’m an excited fan like everyone else. What I do doesn’t work without the hundreds and thousands of fans I have in front of me singing along and sharing the same passion. Thankfully, fans of other clubs come with me for my non-football songs and gigs, so it’s not only a Liverpool thing. Not by a long way.

In these strange modern times when live shows have been temporarily stopped and football has been put on hold, have you found it difficult to reach out to your fans given that you are predominantly a live artist?

It has been tough, I think anyone who says they connect with their fans just the same during the lockdown is lying. Live music brings me and those fans together, and makes us feel part of something very special. When I’m on stage with my fans in front of me, I feel like there’s nobody else in the world besides us. Don’t get me wrong social media and live streams keep us in touch but there’s nothing like the real thing. 

So, your debut album ‘We Get By’ is due for release on August 21st. How did the writing process start off?

I just try to be real in my lyrics and try not to over complicate the music. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager and it just comes naturally. When I’m writing a song that I like I get a strong feeling of euphoria running through me as I’m going, so I just try to ride that feeling and see where it takes me.

As a live artist, do you find it difficult to capture your sound in the studio?

Not at all, thankfully. I have had the privilege to work with some great producers; and great producers know how to get the best out of their artists. I feel comfortable performing in all environments and, more importantly, I enjoy it. You called me a “live artist” which is a fair comment at this moment in time, given my history, but I honestly get a similar buzz and energy being in the studio watching my music come to life. Hopefully once people listen to the album, they’ll agree that I create the same energy and emotions in the studio that I do on stage. 

It’s been a real pleasure speaking with you. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers to finish things off?

Just thank you, really. Thanks for reading, thanks for listening the tunes and coming to the gigs. And keep an ear for the album it’s definitely not going to disappoint, whether you’re an old die-hard fan or you’re reading about me for the first time. My music is for all of you and I can’t wait for us to meet again.

Watch the visual for Jamie Webster’s brand new single ‘This Place’ below.

‘We Get By’ will be released on August 21st via Modern Sky. Pre- order the album here.

Written by Alister

I am a journalism student at Robert Gordon University. Follow me on Twitter @ross_alister