So Gavin, you grew up in a musical family- your great grandparents were opera singers, your sister is a singer, how did this affect you as a musician?
My sister was a big part, she taught me loads of stuff- like how to sing, I was terrible! Then I grew up and grew up and tried to sing. My mum and dad had mad taste in music as well, they listened to everything from Carl Stevens to Bob Dylan as well- everything. My grandad was a really big part, he was a comedian. He did the late, late shows and things like that so I grew up with him, I was a bit younger than my other brothers and sisters so I missed out on that though, he was awesome. My great grandparents did a vinyl thing too that will be other there so I’ll have to find that.
So you were destined to be a singer!
I always wanted to be one, I did pub gigs for years, I loved doing that. I just love playing gigs- I enjoy it, it’s fun.
Your career seems to be full of collaborations- you’ve opened for Ed Sheeran on tour, you opened for Taylor Swift at Hyde Park, you opened for Sam Smith…
Yeah that was fun!
How was it opening for such big acts? Did you get to meet them?
They all came about very randomly, except the Taylor Swift one. I met Ed in Wheelens pub in Dublin which is a singer/songwriter kind of vibe. It was like two o’clock in the morning and we were just passing the guitar round and jamming for hours until the early hours of the morning. It was great he’s a really lovely guy and I just kept bumping into him and he kept championing me online- he’s a really nice lad. But he just shouted across to me in Wheelens- ‘do you want to do this gig, Grove Park’ and I was like ‘yes, yes I do!’
So going back to your music you recently released a new music video for your song ‘Nervous’. What is it that makes your nervous in life? How do you cope with it?
Twenty minutes before a gig I’m nervous. Nothing else really gets me nervous. Right now I’m fine but if it was twenty minutes before a gig I’d be quiet and in the corner, I’d be hiding! But yeah always just the gigs, it’s the worst nerves I’ll ever get.
So do you have a pre-gig ritual that you do?
I try and pace a lot, I get tired. All of the adrenaline comes before the gig and then I get super tired and then I just feel like falling asleep and having a nap forever. But I usually just pace a lot and do trumpet noises to warm up. Nightmare
So you’re currently on a UK and US tour in a few weeks…
Yeah I go to the US in 3 weeks
What’s after that? What are your future plans?
I’m writing a lot. The album wont be out for ages now I wouldn’t say as we are touring until after Christmas. After the US we go to Dublin and do a gig in an arena there- that will be mental it’s like 15,000 people. I haven’t done a gig like that.
That’s going to be twenty minutes of massive nerves before the gig!
Ah it’ll be the whole day and then ten or twenty minutes of insane nerves. So that’s pretty much what we are going to do and then after that I’m just going to write write write. I’ve written so many songs in the last year or so, so I’m just going to pick the best ones.
A lot of artists say they get more nervous for smaller venues, because in the bigger venues you cant see the crowd because of all the lights and everything. Is this true?
Yeah you can do a show in front of big crowds, but like here you need to be in with the crowd a bit more so yeah it’s more nerve racking. But if you’re doing a big gig in an arena you can just be like ‘hey Dublin!’ And you can have a script and stuff (I’ve never used a script!) but I don’t really know what I’m going to do because I’ve never done a show like that, you just kind of play it by ear most of the time.
Final question—what is a Gavin James show like? What should people expect when they come and listen to you?
Emotional? It’s sad(ish) songs, and then I tell some jokes in the middle and try to make everybody come back up and then right back down again.
So they come in, start crying, are happy again and then cry again?
We do weird things sometimes we open with Bump n Grind by R Kelly because it’s kind of funny and then you go and do a sad song. But yeah it’s different, it’s chilled with lots of banter and lots of melancholy songs. A lot of banter is good.
Have a great gig- break a leg!