Jamie Scott Interview: New Album, Writing With One Direction + More [EXCLUSIVE]
If the name Jamie Scott is familiar, it’s likely because he’s written hits for many huge names, including the folky radio smash ‘Story of My Life’ for One Direction. But songwriting for other artists isn’t where his talents end, and he’s proving he’s a force of musical talent with his upcoming album ‘My Hurricane.’
The LP is a long time coming for the 30-year-old singer, who’s been building up to his solo release for the last seven years. That isn’t to say the Brit hasn’t been busy in the meantime. In fact, he’s been so busy, it’s hard to pick out what huge accomplishments to focus on from his extensive resume.
In our exclusive interview with Jamie, we chose to focus on his work with One Direction, what we can expect from his album and how he’s juggling his demanding schedule.
Your album has been a long time in the making. What can we expect from ‘My Hurricane’?
It’s just 12 honest songs about life, and going through life with somebody… It’s a bit like a film, where you see the end of the film, and then you go back and watch the whole film and work out how you got there. That’s my album. I’m kind of at the beginning — this old couple, they die together right at the end of their lives, and it’s a song called ‘Lights,’ which is where they pass away together. And the whole album is leading back up to that point. It’s my way, I suppose, of dealing with having a family and… trying to get used to the idea of eventually losing people and kind of making sense of different things, the way you feel about certain things once you have a wife or a baby.
I’m sure your perspective has changed since you and your wife just had a baby boy.
Everything changes. It’s really weird… I just found the best place to make sense of that was to write an album about it.
The lead single ‘My Hurricane’ sounds like a love song, but the lyrics are a bit melancholy, too. How does it tie into your album’s inspiration?
The main philosophy of ‘My Hurricane’ is basically like, look, no one’s perfect. We’re supposed to be upset sometimes, we’re supposed to be imperfect… We could be a hurricane, you and me. It’s kind of a bittersweet thing, because it’s not saying we could be the most amazing, perfect thing. It’s saying we could be a hurricane, which is very vicious, a whirlwind, but that’s the whole idea. That’s how things are supposed to be.
Watch Jamie Scott’s ‘My Hurricane’ Lyric Video
What does your solo album mean for the future of Graffiti6?
At the moment, it’s kind of on hold… Graffiti6 was a project I did with Tommy [Danvers] that was something that I wanted to do, and at the moment I don’t. One day I might want to write another record with Tommy, but maybe I won’t, I just don’t know yet. It was something I enjoyed doing a lot, I loved doing it, but I like doing different things in my career. It just felt like I hadn’t released a solo record for seven years, and that’s really what I was just dying to do, so that’s where I am at.
You’ll be opening for OneRepublic in August. How did that opportunity come about?
I know Ryan [Tedder] very well. We work together a lot and go way back… I’m so excited to get out there and start playing. It’s gonna be amazing.
With releasing your album and going on tour, you’ve got a lot going on. Are you pausing your lyricist work in the meantime?
[Laughs] I’m trying to, but not having much luck, actually. ‘Story of My Life’ has kind of done a lot for me, because I suppose a song that crosses over, that’s not an out-and-out pop song — people want those kind of songs, want songs that are going to be around in five or six, or maybe even 10 years’ time. Since that came out, I’ve had to turn down other things that I would’ve naturally wanted to do if I wasn’t doing my career as well. There have been some sessions I can’t talk about, because there are some pretty big artists which haven’t announced things yet, but there’ve been some things that I haven’t been able to say no to.
You’ve mentioned before that One Direction helped you finish ‘Story of My Life.’ What specifically did they change to make the song their own?
They’ve been very instrumental in a lot of the writing we’ve done… They just change little things that they think suit them more, and I can’t even remember the specific things that we changed, but it’s normally lyrics and making sure the song means as much to them as it can.
So the song was mostly finished when you brought it to the table?
We [Jamie, Julian Bunetta and John Ryan] sat down and wrote the song and played it to the boys, and wanted to get their take on it at quite a raw stage. Then we finished it with them. But we definitely started the song before we spoke to them.
You’ve worked on all three of One Direction’s albums so far. Can we expect to see your writing credit on their fourth album?
We’re working with the boys, working on some good material right now, actually.
One Direction aside, you’ve written for a lot of big names. How does that process differ from sitting down and writing your own music?
They’re two completely different things. When I sit down and write a song for myself, I only have one critic, and that’s me. I’m very particular on what to do in terms of myself. When it comes to someone else, then I completely relinquish that duty to the people I’m working for, because they are the artist… When you’re working for an artist, whether it’s One Direction or Christina Perri, these people very much have an artist integrity and know what they want. You’re there to write music that is going to work well for them.
Have you ever felt reluctant to give up a song you wrote to another artist, or wish you could keep it for yourself?
Only once, actually. That was on this record with the song ‘Unbreakable.’ It actually almost did get cut by a different artist, but it just felt like one that I wanted to keep for myself. I would see my album being a float record, one that sits very much in the genre of float music… but with ‘Unbreakable,’ I had a song that crossed over to maybe being that record that a lot of people can relate to. I made it a bit more folky, a bit more like my record, and it’s turned out to be one of the key tracks on the album.
Watch Jamie Scott Perform ‘Unbreakable’