Interview: James Mackenzie

Alternative-rock singer/songwriter James Mackenzie has recently released new song “Champion“, taken from his forthcoming, crowdfunded, debut album: The Honeymoon. We learn more about James’ music, his influences and future ambitions in this interview.

Your new song, “Champion”, has just been released. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it?
Champion is a song I wrote a couple of years ago during a period when I had a conflict between my music job and my other job. I was struggling to find the balance between the two. I then turned to my girlfriend, she told me everything was gonna work out and that I’ve always managed to find the balance since I first picked up an instrument. She gave me this idea about strength and support from loved ones and those that are special in your life.

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
I would say alternative folk with an influence of rock in there. My music is appealing to those that have day-to-day problems, have been in love and know what it’s like to hit rock bottom. I tend to find that life experiences give me the best influence when writing songs. I’m a massive fan of Irish artists like Kodaline, Snow Patrol (adopted Scots!) & Glen Hansard and Scottish artists such as Paolo Nutini and Amy McDonald.

What have been your highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
My highlights have been the amazing support slots, opportunities and stand-out solo shows that I have had thus far. Also getting playlisted, twice, on BBC Radio Scotland. I want to keep going, growing and getting to the next stage of my career.

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
Right now, I really have a desire to support other Scottish acts. Amy McDonald would be the main one; she has a tour scheduled for this year. Glastonbury is the dream gig for me!

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
On my playlist right now are Blue October, Samantha Fish, Ólafur Arnalds, KALEO and Skerryvore.
I change every month!

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