Jamie Scott has worked with some of the biggest names in music. Be it as a writer, producer, and often both, he has made a name for himself as the ‘hitmaker’ who has penned songs for everyone from Justin Bieber to Rag ‘N’ Bone Man. In fact, his writing and production credits amount to 50 million albums sold, 50 million singles and 10 billion streams on Spotify. By impressive comparison, his own artist projects, Jamie Scott & The Town and Graffiti6 have clocked up a combined 65 million streams on Spotify.
Jamie taught himself the guitar at the age of 7yrs and the piano at 12yrs old. His parents introduced him to Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, and he entrenched himself in singer-songwriters such as Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, Carol King, and Joni Mitchell. In 2007 he released his first single, and by 2009 he was actively working as a songwriter, having penned hits for JLS, Enrique Iglesias, and a new boyband called One Direction.
At the end of 2019, having spent over ten years in the studio writing for other people, Jamie decided to take stock of where he was personally. The death of a dear friend and mentor, Jamiroquai’s Toby Smith, had had a profound effect on him, having been one of the first people to show him the real process of music production. Revisiting songs that he had written over the last few years, he cleared his schedule and started recording. Locked away in his home studio, he recorded most of the instrumentation himself and, without really intending to, finished an entire album’s worth of music in just 5 weeks.
The result is possibly the most significant and personal body of work that he has released to date, How Still The River. Through the marriage of brilliant writing and expert musicianship, Jamie takes you on a journey of memories, love and loss, where even the more optimistic songs have a tinge of sadness.
“I always seem to be able to write better about the idea of loss rather than love. I think the feeling of ‘want’ is better than ‘have’ when writing songs. And so when looking at the songs on ‘How still the river’ the whole body of work is really a tribute to my old dear friend Toby Smith who died recently. He was single-handedly the most important person in my learning and discovery of music…”
In a slight move away from the bluesy, soul-inspired style that he is known for, How Still The River is more gentle, a little more folksy with elements of pop, rock and even country. Jamie has often spoken about feeling an attachment to certain songs and wondering about their fate. A song can sit on the shelf for several years before it is taken by an artist or label. This was certainly true in the case of his biggest hit to date, Cold Water, which was picked up for Major Lazer feat. Justin Bieber three years after it was written. It is also at this point that a song can be changed quite considerably from the original demo, in order to fit a certain sound or market. In the making of this new album, which includes a number of high profile co-writes and a cover of a song originally written with One Direction, Jamie has been able to record the songs exactly as they were intended.
“Cold Water is a great example of why I felt it necessary to record and release my album. It was just an acoustic demo that I wrote with Ed Sheeran and Benny Blanco in Benny’s apartment in New York that I never thought anyone was really going to hear. Then 2 and a half years later I got a call saying Diplo and the Major Lazer guys wanted to release a song, and the rest is history. This started in me a process of listening to all the songs I had in my library, picking 4 or 5 of the ones I’d loved from the last five years or so and it got me thinking about how I was going to record them…”
The first single from the album, Friendly Fire was released in May. Co-written with Theo Hutchcraft from the duo Hurts, the song has already picked up support from BBC Radio Two, Pop Justice and a whole host of official Spotify and Apple Music playlists. Further singles include Emily, a summer-drenched tale of unrequited love written with Hudson Taylor, and This Time Lucky, a collaboration with Birdy with echoes of Paul Simon. Upbeat, jazzy and full of love, fourth single New York Nights is a personal dedication to his wife, followed by final release I Never Want To Hurt Again Like This, at the end of July.
Strikingly emotive, and paying tribute to the great writers of the sixties and seventies, How Still The River is a delicate blend of influences, brought together through his rich vocal delivery and musical detail. Raw and honest, Jamie Scott has truly found his voice.