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Irish Singer-Songwriter Gavin James Talks India, Touring with Ed Sheeran

Making his India debut at the Music Stage at Jaipur Literature Festival last week, James is prepping for a new album release later this year

Anurag Tagat Jan 29, 2020

Dublin singer-songwriter Gavin James. Photo: Courtesy of artist

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It’s about 11 am and Dublin singer-songwriter Gavin James picks up the phone and tells us he woke up just about 30 seconds ago. “I’ll be here for three days and definitely have to book another trip over here. I’ll have as much fun as I can,” he says in a voice that doesn’t sound one bit gruff.

The 28-year-old, for all his two billion-plus streams of conflicting yet comforting songs like “Nervous” and vulnerable tunes like “Bitter Pill,” comes across as exactly the kind of person you know from his music. It’s something that he perhaps feel resolved to continue, considering the pop stars he’s toured with – Ed Sheeran, Niall Horan and Sam Smith – are all, according to James, the same people on and off stage. “I pick up about how people treat other people outside of the gig. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them and they come across as really amazing people on stage but they also come across the same off-stage. They’re just normal lads,” he says.

In the decade or so that James has gone from playing pub shows to supporting biggies like Sheeran, he counts streaming and specifically Spotify as a big win. “For me, Spotify and all the streaming platforms has been one of the reasons for any of my success anywhere. We were in South Korea for Christmas and we checked on Spotify and found loads of people listen to particular songs in the country, so we figured out our setlist that way. It was mad, it was great,” he says.

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He admits he’s always nervous before shows, like his India debut at the Music Stage as part of the Jaipur Literature Festival earlier this month, but also talks away his time on stage. About India, he’s quick to mention he’s heard about it from his neighbors down the road in Dublin, indie rock band Kodaline (who recently headlined Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune). James adds, “Most people I met from India or who have been to India say that the people are amazing and it’s lovely and nice. In Ireland, everyone is really welcoming and open and stuff. So, it kind of reminds me of Ireland a bit – it’s very homely.”

James has collaborated with the likes of producer Alan Walker (“Tired”) but he’s now concentrating on a follow up to his 2018 album Only Ticket Home. “I have a new single coming out in March. Then I’ll release an album. I’m going to try to release as much music as possible this year and the next,” he says.

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