Musician James hopes new single will strike a chord for mental health

PUBLISHED: 07:40 27 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:01 11 May 2020

Saffron Walden musician, James White. Picture: ARCHANT

Saffron Walden musician, James White. Picture: ARCHANT


A Saffron Walden musician is set to launch a new single and donate the profits to a mental health charity.

James White, 30, was born in Ipswich but has been living in Saffron Walden since 2011. He is a board member at Saffron Walden Town Football Club and is preparing to make his musical comeback.

His new single, Citizen of Nowhere, will be released on August 30. It bears the same title as his EP, which will be launched in three months' time, because the single 'has done better than expected', according to James.

James is hoping to raise money for mental health charity Mind, which is close to his heart: "I have been on anti-depressants since I was 14," he said. "I attempted suicide when I was 15. Mind were incredibly helpful to me when I finished university, they helped me get my life back on track.

"A lot of people, if they have mental health issues, they can't go to their boss because there is a stigma around it. I don't believe in ghosts because I have never seen one and it is the same with mental health. Someone could get into a shop and you wouldn't know they suffer."

Over the weekend, James's track ranked sixth on Amazon across all genres which, James said, was 'higher than Ed Sheeran'. This made him very happy, after struggling with a lump in his throat and oesophageal problems for the past few months, which made it hard to sing.

He said: "As a 14-year-old, these are the things you dream of. I had such a difficult time, but ultimately I just want to make money for charity."

The name of his first single and of the album references a conference speech given by the former prime minister, Theresa May.

James said: "[Mrs May] said if you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere. I started focusing on politics, this song in particular references the divisive stuff happening in the UK.

"I do consider myself a citizen of the world. I date someone who is Italian. I would love to do those tests that tell you where you come from. I love Europe. I spent most of my touring in Europe. I have been to the Netherlands, Belgium and I will finish in Germany."

He added that the reason he loves touring abroad is that he perceives "a greater level of respect for his music" on the continent.

"The music industry in this country is quite corrupt, it's really about who knows who. There is a culture here that glorifies karaoke because of the X Factor."

Although he loves touring in Europe, he has a local musical presence too, in the town that adopted him for the past eight years.

"I played a show with a group of musicians in Saffron Walden for Jo Cox's memorial event. If this album goes well, I will do a free show in Saffron Walden," he said.

His new single is featuring Billy Lunn from The Subways as a guest vocalist. James describes Billy as "an inspiration on a human level as well as a professional one". Billy, who is finishing his English literature degree at the University of Cambridge, is the one who lent James his guitar for his second EP.

The second track, 'And You', will feature 2017 The Voice semi-finalist Georgie Braggins, and all the money raised from the release will again go to Mind.

"I met Georgie in an open mic. It was three years ago in a music venue in Saffron Walden that is now gone, Ed's Garden", James recalled.

His EP will also contain a song about James's dog and cat, as well as music about his youth and issues he had with mental health.

The alternative rock album will be digital-only, in order to "help the environment a bit" and facilitate donations to charity. It will be on various platforms, such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon.

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