Introducing Jake Houlsby

maxresdefaultWhen I first listened to the music of Jake Houlsby I instantly knew he was an impressive talent. His song ‘Yannina’ with it’s delicate acoustic sound was captivating and I wanted to hear more. I checked out his EP of the same name and because of the high calibre of his songwriting it was clear to hear why he has been catching a lot of people’s attention with this release.

Jake Houlsby has been involved with music since an early age and has previously created music under the name of Suntrapp. During this time he received the Alan Hull Award for Songwriting which resulted in him performing at the Roundhouse Rising Festival. In 2014 he took a break from his music to decide on what direction it would take. He then returned with his EP ‘Yannina’ recorded under his own name. Since then he has been busy performing and fine tuning his songwriting craft. To help give you more insight into the music world of Jake Houlsby I decided to ask him a few questions. He was kind enough to do so and this is what he had to say:

Who or what inspired you to become a musician and which musicians have influenced your sound?

I think, like most musicians, music was just something I fell into by accident at an early age and then became something so ingrained in my thoughts and personality that there was no active decision to be a musician. It was just something happened. I’d say my current sound is influenced by musicians like Damien Jurado and José González who have taken the blueprints artists like Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell have laid down and expanded upon them to make them relevant and new in a modern setting whilst still keeping some common thread.

You have a great song writing talent, do you have a set process when writing songs?

Thank you! I couldn’t say I have a ‘set process’ as per say but I also couldn’t say I don’t have a ‘set process’ at the same time. Most of the time, I’ll start with the guitar and add a vocal melody before deciding on lyrics. For me, melody is the key to songwriting. You can train yourself to hear fragments of a melody and know where it wants to go and what it wants to be about.

Talking about writing songs, which is your favourite from your back catalogue and why?

My favourite song from the ones I’ve released is probably Carousel. I think it’s just that little bit more sophisticated than anything on the Yannina EP. The lyrics are probably the best lyrics I’ve ever written too. It’s rare that you’ll say everything you want to say in the exact way you wanted to say it but I think I did that with Carousel.

My favourite song that’s not currently recorded or ‘out’ is a song called Half-Light. It just reminds me of home and my adolescence and my family and my old friends that I don’t see anymore and just how lucky I am to have done what I’ve done.

If you were headlining a world tour, which 2 musicians/bands would you choose as YOUR support?

It must be really strange to have your heroes support you! If I was some huge megastar and could afford to go on a world tour, I’d love to have Damien Jurado and Willy Mason support me. I just think they’re both really awesome songwriters. Carry On by Willy Mason is one of my favourite albums and the stuff Damien Jurado has done with Richard Swift is really incredible. I’d kind of want to bring Sufjan Stevens along too just so I could hear him play every night. Funnily enough, I’ve just bought tickets to see Tallest Man On Earth with support from Damien Jurado so that’s gonna be one hell of a gig.

What are you future plans and goals for your music?

I’ve got the new single, Carousel, coming out on 15th April and have already got to work recording the EP which will follow it so I’m really just hoping to build on what I’ve done before and get the music out to as many ears as possible. It can seem like a long road with payoffs that are few and far between but it’s always felt like a pretty special road to me and one I’m thankful to be on. It’s cliched but my goal is just to make great music that give people the same pleasure artists like Damien Jurado and Willy Mason give me.

‘Yannina EP’ is a wonderful collection of songs that will captivate thanks to it’s gentle flowing feel. From listening to this release you can tell that Jake has been writing music for a while because of the strength of the songwriting that is being showcased. A great example of this is the arrangement of his music as on the surface it seems simplistic but I think it’s actually very clever what he has done. He has created a low key sound delivered primarily by his guitar which changes between intricate finger picking to great sounding strumming patterns. This helps to capture an atmosphere to reflect the tone of each song which lets him deliver his fantastic way with words. Listen to the song called ‘Spring’ as this is a nicely worked instrumental that shows off this music arrangement and guitar skills.

11174815_625310460903510_5756816708751071534_nNow let’s talk about what impresses me the most about the music of Jake Houlsby which is his lyrical talent which is shared by his authentic gentle tone. Like his overall sound, his wordsmith skills are subtle but offer so much as they paint pictures for each song. He uses this ability to connect to his music which is clear to hear when he sings. My favourite song ‘Beyond all This’ is a perfect example as you drift away with its story. He manages to balance detail but easy to follow stories which as a listener I really appreciate. If you were to ask me which song stands out the most for me from this EP then I would choose ‘New Morning’. This song brings together all what makes Jakes music stand out and fits together like a jigsaw. The positive vibe of this song blends with his guitar style to confirm his impressive song writing talent.

Overall, this is a gem of an EP which showcases a talented songwriter that is one to watch. If you enjoy music with an gentle acoustic sound with great lyrics then Yannina EP from Jake Houlsby is for you. You can head over to Jake’s YouTube page to listen to more of his music. You can purchase a digital copy of this EP from the usual sites of Amazon and ITunes or for a CD copy head over to HERE.

As Jake has said, there is a new EP on the horizon and going off the calibre of his latest song ‘Carousel’ (also available from Amazon and iTunes) then we can expect something special. This song confirms that his music continues to grow and his song writing becomes even stronger. It has already caught people’s attention and has had major radio airplay.

If you want to find out when this will be released or want to learn about this talented musician including upcoming gigs then head over to his website at JakeHoulsby.com. Alternatively, you can keep up to date with his world by following him on his social media sites including Facebook and Twitter. As always, the usual reminder that if you like what you are listening to then show your support by purchasing the music and spreading the word. If the music of Jake Houlsby is ticking all the right boxes for you then go and tell the world about him today!