Special Interview: James Keith

We catch up with country newcomer James Keith.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 8 and have always dreamt of playing on stage. I was in a band with my brother for 10 years and started writing songs for the band. I sustained a throat injury playing Rugby league and thought my singing days were over.

But when he didn’t want to sing country, my only hope of getting my songs out there was to do it myself, and here I am. I absolutely froth on going to live shows and have always wanted to be that person up there on stage.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? My kids and my life experience. I want to show my kids if you want something – chase it, and my passion for performing. I feel ALIVE on stage!

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

I want to tour the world. I want to sing with my Idols on stage and do big festivals.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

I have my debut album coming out early next year so I plan to tour that just after Tamworth. In the meantime I have several Sydney shows booked.

Head to jameskeith.au for more information.

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

I co-wrote this with good mate, Kyle Pearce, ‘No Hero’ has been more than a decade in the making.

KP showed me a song way back in 2010. We were sitting at a Matchbox 20 concert in the Hunter Valley and as soon as I heard the start I immediately fell in love with that riff.

The song didn’t go anywhere and KP was never happy with it. 

When I began writing for my forthcoming debut album I decided to unearth the old song and give it new life. “KP is now living in Germany. I showed him a revision of the song with a brand-new chorus, bridge, solo and outro, and he loved it.”

My music and my sound is a high energy brand of country rock, I’m still finding my sound but being the genre it is you can explore different avenues which I really enjoy. Also my songs are about positivity and were written to make you move.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

Definitely life experience. I’m 38 and have travelled the world and have lived an interesting adventurous life so far so I definitely draw on life experiences for songs.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? Yes. Every song has a positive message in it. Even my breakup song is about getting back up off the ground and moving forward. 

Success, what is the secret to it? Hard work, passion and persistence. Having the ability to believe in yourself after you get put down.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far? Supporting some childhood favourites in. Thirsty Merc. Jon Stevens, Eskimo joe. Also Meeting Jordan Davis and Hardy at CMC rocks.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

Matt Healy – 1975 absolute genius.

Zac Brown, great voice, phenomenal musician and explores the genre of country. And Hardy love his attitude.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline? Already writing my 2nd album and my first hasn’t been released yet. Every chance I get i’m writing and playing the guitar.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself in a few years? As long as I’m continuing to grow and developed as an artist we will be in a good place.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why? My Favorite would be getting messages from random people telling me they love my music. And seeing my kids enjoy my music and be apart of my clips etc. Least favourite – I love it all.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists. INXS all time fav. Grew up wanting to be like Chris Cheney from the Living End. 1927 and John Williamson.

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

I feel it’s definitely harder to get recognised as there are so many more ways to post music now. I hate the word influencer because people are trying to impress people rather than being themselves. I love being me, i’ll always stay true to that and if people like me then thats great.

How will you continue appealing to the international market? Writing, collaborating, testing the waters and trying new things. Going to Nashville and meeting people in the industry is important too.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list? Definitely Hardy or Zac Brown. Those 2 blokes are masters at their craft.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps? If you want it bad enough  you’ll get it. Don’t have a back up plan.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

I like Instagram as a way to express my personality and life experiences. Come up and say hi. Ask for a guitar pick and get amongst it. We’re all the same and country people and listeners are all the same. Good down to earth people.

Any last words?


Website: www.jameskeith.au

Facebook: @jameskeith.au

Instagram: @jameskeith.au

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