Artwork by @mystupidsketchbook
WHO is he?
“I am James Leonard Hewitson, I’m 23 years old and I’m from Hartlepool, England. I liked to sing pop songs and I was learning classical trumpet when I was in primary school. Then, through secondary school I taught myself some guitar and bass guitar, and formed a few DIY bands with friends (one of them got on Reading & Leeds BBC Introducing Stage in 2010 – ‘Arcs & Trauma’). However, I’d never really done a solo project, and I kept having ideas for indie/pop songs. When the time came around to move to university, eventually, all of my bands from home disbanded as everyone was on their separate paths, including myself.”
“At 20, I started playing shows around Newcastle alone, and managed to gather some friends to record some music as a full band. From that point, the project was real and I could start to build on it. I also played trumpet for Frankie and The Heartstrings and Kingsley Chapman and The Murder during my time at university, which gave me more insight into touring, performing and songwriting. In 2016, I launched ‘James Leonard Hewitson’ with my first single, Care Less, Love Less.”
James Leonard Hewitson’s double A-side Sometimes/Experience Song is out now.
WHY did he get into music?
“I don’t know why I started playing music. I think I enjoy entertaining. Some of it thrills me – writing a piece of music you’re happy with is like a really challenging puzzle.”
WHAT is the inspiration behind his songs?
“Musically, I am inspired by anything that is simply just good at what it does. I really love The Hives, Adam Green, Gang of Four, Jonathan Richman, TOPS and a load more. Lyrically, I take into account my Hartlepool accent and my lazy deliverance when writing lyrics. There’s an intentional half-arsedness about my lyrics, but I think people sort of enjoy it. With these two songs, Sometimes and Experience Song, it’s mainly about feeling underutilised socially, professionally and romantically, recognising that, and doing nothing about it.”
WHERE did he grow up?
“I grew up in Hartlepool. It’s a small seaside town in the North East of England, and publications like Vice, The Guardian and The Economist try and milk it for its post-industrial greyness and political uncertainty, but I quite like it. I’ve lived in both Hartlepool and Newcastle – both teeming with lots of musicians, and thus, musical communities to participate in. I think that’s certainly helped me develop my writing. I currently live in Hartlepool, where there are few places for artists to perform in, yet there are lots of artists around. I’m actually starting a new project in September with Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre called ‘Town Hall Live’ to help bring more artists and communities together in the town.”
WHEN can I see him live?
“I will be playing with my band at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington, London on Wednesday 13th September.” Catch him live also in Manchester at Eagle Inn on 12th September and in Newcastle at Surf Cafe on 15th September.