In conversation with songwriter-musician Second Hand Poet

Jamie Tipson a.k.a. Second Hand Poet is a singer-songwriter that touches on matters of the mind and heart with grunge stylings, one could easily mistake for an old indie rock gem that still tugs at the heartstrings today. The musician has received noteworthy support from Amazing Radio, BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 6 since the release of his mini-album Songs For The Pyre back in 2018. 

Amidst the pandemic, the musician put together his first full-length album An Avenue of Honest News, along with a collaborative compilation to aid Help Musicians UK all via his imprint Pretty Thing Records

Second Hand Poet shares his experiences working as a musician in this day and age below.

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

Hmmm, I remember me and my cousins would sing & dance to songs in our Nan & Grandads front room! In my head, there are conflicting memories that involve The Spice Girls & Sum 41…thanks for bringing that up ha.

In terms of production, I used to record little demos in my bedroom on Garageband. I even put them on various CDs…they were such bad quality! I thought they were great at the time.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

My phone voice recording app is the most used during the writing process!

There are all sorts of random ideas, a hummed melody, an 8-minute version of a track with different lyric ideas.

I then pick one and work on it, I’ll never really demo an album in full…I record most of the vocals/guitars at home anyway so I just play until I’m happy with a take!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Sometimes I’ll look up the tab to a track I really like and switch the chords around, or just sit and listen to a record with my guitar at hand. I just have to be in the right mood, to be honest! I don’t like planning to write!

As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?

It’s a murky place on the business side of things. In all stages in the art, you have to dabble into it sometimes, whether it’s doing your PR or trying to get a show.

It’s excruciating at locked out you feel. Submitting all the time. Just to be heard. 

If you play a show, you should be treated right. At the very minimum travel should be included, there should always be a merch table available for all artists. And somewhere to go prior to the show preferably with alcohol.

I haven’t even mentioned payment, streaming increases, more support opportunities, more arts funding. That’s how big of a problem there is.

Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?

I prefer the recording and creative process, I love the feeling after playing live. But the build-up is sometimes absolutely crippling! If there was more of a need for an upcoming artist to perform with some of the above comments thrown into action. I think we’d all feel a bit more needed in the business!

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?

There are a few different responses that make me happy. The silence at a show is probably the biggest form of respect for an artist. Especially when performing without a band. Just for it to be part of someone’s day is enough you know?

What’s on your current playlist?

I’m trying to just listen to albums in full tracklisting order at the moment, mainly on vinyl! I’ve been listening to a lot of Elton John, Janis Joplin, Keaton Henson…Bowie.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?

I’ll still be plugging my record, maybe try the sync root, playlists too! I’ve started writing the next record which I’m hoping to release next year! Gosh, maybe even some shows?

Famous last words?

Thanks for asking me to do this! And thanks for reading! Stay Safe x

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