“I think local music is so important to support” – An Interview with Jerry Williams

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After navigating my way through Portswood to The Brook, having texted Jerry about the interview I only learnt I was doing a few hours prior, I found myself inside a mini-flat upstairs in the venue – surrounded by plants and in front of Jerry Williams. We talked about how weird Portsmouth is to get to, about ‘Grab Life’ being her next release, and how incredibly cool Get Inuit are. Williams joins a whole host of super cool women in their twenties who are doing incredible things in music, so of course I asked her about Only Fools and Horses alongside some actual music questions.

Is local music something you see as important, do you like playing venues like this?

Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve played anywhere like this but it’s nice to play with local bands to a local audience as well. I think local music is so important to support, especially for the confidence of an up-and-coming artist. It’s nice to come and play a show close to home because I haven’t done it for a while.

Obviously, you came to Surge Radio’s 48-hour marathon and their show at Abbey Road, but what do you think about the changing state of radio? So many bands are breaking up because they just can’t get the airtime, and while there are some DJs playing music from smaller artists, a lot of the time it’s just “Here’s Katy Perry!”/insert popular singer here again. Is that something you’ve noticed since you started?

Definitely, it’s so hard to break in I find, I’ve been quite lucky with what I have had. It sometimes seems like these things just happen out of nowhere, you can’t control it and it’s just luck sometimes but obviously, mainstream radio is taken up by major label artists and pop – which mostly all sounds the same to me! I find it a bit frustrating but what can you do, it’s us against the machine. You do get some shows just for up-and-coming music so at least we have that, which is good.

You’re 21 – it must be so overwhelming!

It is, it feels like such a long time – so when things happen it’s like “Yes, all the hard work’s paid off!” and then you move on to the next thing. I’m just absolutely amazed at what’s happened so far, it’s been a long time coming and a lot of work’s gone into it, so I’m just so grateful for the things that have happened.

Are there any moments you’ve had where you’ve thought “Yes, I’ve made it, this is it – this can’t get any better”?

When I sold out Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth, that was a pretty amazing thing because that was my headline show. It was so surreal, people were singing my songs with me and it was just a dream. And getting BBC Introducing Track of the Week on Radio 1 was just amazing as well.

Are you excited for festival season?

Yeah, I’ve played a couple already which have been so much fun, I’ve been lucky this year to have been invited out to play bigger ones further away like Live at Leeds, BBC Introducing in Manchester, The Great Escape in Brighton, V Festival, and obviously Victorious Festival in Portsmouth!

What’s your favourite thing about the festival season?

Just the way everybody is, I love when people love live music and are happy, when they want to be friends with each other. I suppose when you go to festivals it’s like a little happy place and it’s nice to play to an audience who are there for that. Everyone’s so chilled and open-minded to discovering new music.

When did you start writing songs – have we heard any that you wrote when you were younger?

I started when I was 12, which was when I started learning guitar – my song ‘Feel The World’ is one I wrote in my bathroom, back to the radiator – that is probably my oldest one.

What are your tour/festival essentials?

Definitely a pillow for in the car, my headphones, make-up wipes for when I come off stage… my backcombing brush!

A weird question… You’ve said in the past that when you’re selling merch it’s out of a suitcase and it makes you feel like Del Boy [from Only Fools and Horses]– if you could be any character from the show, who would you be?

Mm… Derek Trotter, or the devil baby Damian!

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

It’s always been Chris Martin from Coldplay – if I could write a song with him, or even just to be in his presence would be incredible!

And finally – have you got a pre/post gig routine?

I always like to brush my teeth before I go on stage, and I do a short vocal warm-up. Afterwards, I’m so tired from a massive adrenaline rush that I just fall asleep.

Check out our review of her gig here and the music video for her latest song ‘I’m Not In Love With You’ below:

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Politics and International Relations graduate, Live Editor 2016-18, now a semi-functional adult and journalist. Fan of cats, gigs and a tea lover - find me rambling about the above @cmkavanagh on Twitter.

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