One of the latest additions to Heist or Hit's roster, Leeds based JWestern is wasting no time in defining himself as an alt-pop star with bags of potential.
Following up his slick and confident debut single, Call You Right Now, new single Check In sees him building on his luscious, jazzed up electronic pop and maximising the influences of Gus Dapperton and King Krule to put himself properly on the map.
We caught up with JWestern following the release to chat influences, dream tours and everything that's going on in Leeds at the moment.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been making music for?
Hi! I’m JWestern, I’m 20 years old and I’m currently living in Leeds in the UK. I’ve been making music since I was about 16 but playing instruments since I was about 6 years old so it feels so good to now be putting out my music!
At what point in your life did you decide to make a career out of your music, and what influenced that decision?
I think I decided really early on that I wanted to make career for myself in music. It was the one thing for me that from a really young age that I was always interested in, I tried my hand at football and didn’t get as good results haha! My dad used to play in loads of bands as well so when I was younger there was always music playing in the house and I thought it was the coolest thing when my dad would play me his old demos, it really inspired me to want to do the same.
What is the main source of influence for your songwriting?
For me, I think experiences I’ve had in my life and what’s going on around me are the two main things I draw from for my writing. I find it impossible for my emotions and how I’m feeling to not have an impact on every aspect of the music I’m making; I find music to be an extremely emotive medium and it’s how I mainly process a lot of things in my mind.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself through making music?
To always trust your instinct and run with the first idea you had rather than overthinking it. This ones still a massive work in progress for me but it’s all about having confidence in the music you’re making. If you like it go for it.
What is something you wish you’d known when you first got into the music industry?
To trust the process. Be as patient as you can with yourself and enjoy the journey. It’s really tricky to not get caught up in everything and begin to doubt yourself/what you’re making.
Who are some of your favourite upcoming artists from the city you live in?
Leeds has got so so many amazing artists but if I had to narrow it down to a couple the first one would have to be ‘Master Soul Boy’. He makes the funkiest tunes that just gets your head bopping and your body moving. My go to tracks would have to be ‘Jungle’ and ‘Catharsis’, so much groove. My next one would have to be ‘Nix Northwest’. I’m not entirely sure if he’s still based in Leeds but if you’re after some jazzy breaks with some crazily good production this would be the guy for you. Perfect for really early morning or really late at night, that might be the same sort of time but it’s definitely the vibe. Go to tracks would have to be ‘Love’ and ‘Early Rising’.
What would your dream tour & rider look like?
My dream tour would have to be one going all over Europe. If I’m able to see the world playing the music that I love I don’t think I could ask for much more than that haha! Rider would have to be full of Graze BBQ packs, Ryvita thins with some sour cream dip and some tinnies for the road.
If your music was to soundtrack any film or TV show, which would you choose?
One film that I would’ve loved my music to have been featured in would have to be ‘Trainspotting’. Not sure if my tunes would have been gritty enough but I remember watching it with my dad at a young age and thinking how brilliant the soundtrack was, it’s stayed with me this whole time so if there’s ever another one made I’ll be straight on the phone to Danny Boyle!
What’s the bucket list goal for you as an artist?
One of my main ones would have to be playing Reading and Leeds Festival. It’s one of those festivals that everyone knows around the world, I’ve been a couple years myself and seen some of my favourite acts so to be able to play on the same stage as them would be crazy. Another one would be to support artists that I hugely admire and love like Still Woozy, Easy Life, Arlo Parks - too many to mention haha!