Jamie Kimmett is from Kilmarnock, a small working-class town in Scotland. He's an up and coming artist who's already making an impact on the Christian music industry. Jamie's relationship with music started when he was a boy.
"I first fell in love with music by watching my dad play songs he had written for me and my brother. We also had a lot of music playing in our house," he says. "The first time I felt inspired to sing was hearing Michael Jackson as a boy on the radio. Like many kids from the UK, I was raised on football (soccer), and wanted to be a professional footballer till about the age of 16 when my dad bought me a guitar for my birthday. Writing songs was natural for me because I loved to sing and it was a way for me to express things that were happening in my life: often pain and struggles that I didn’t know how to talk about."
I connected with Jamie to talk about his music, his career, and his future.
How would you describe your music?
In terms of the sound, it’s hard to put into words: soulful, rhythmic, Christian Pop would be about right for the most part. I have a very unique guitar style mainly because I’m self-taught and listening to Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and guys like John Mayer on repeat have made me a very rhythmic and percussive player. I also wasn’t really in bands much. I never had bass players or drummers. So I would end up hearing those parts in my head and just playing them all on my acoustic.
In terms of the message and style, I love to tell stories especially about my faith journey. My love for Jesus is a central part of my music now. I love to write music that brings people to Christ and create songs born from the truths of the Bible--the reason being that it is God’s word and spirit alone that can change a person’s life. Also because He has been so good to me.
You came to faith later in life. Tell us your story.
The short version is I set off for Los Angeles about ten years ago to pursue fortune and fame as a pop artist. I met a lot of record labels and was offered a big recording contract but God had other plans. Everywhere I went people were talking to me about Jesus. Through a series of unusual encounters, I finally made a deal with God that I would go to church. In a small church the following Sunday, I found myself in tears and blown away by what I heard. I was convinced that the Bible was real and that Jesus really did die on the cross for my sins. Since finding faith in Christ, that belief has only grown as has my love for the Christian message.
You've worked with some of the biggest names in songwriting, such as Babyface, and Randy Jackson, from American Idol? So, why Christian music? Why not go mainstream?
I want to create music that makes a lasting difference in people’s lives and I know Christian music is the best way for me to achieve that. That and the fact that God told me to make music for Him. The story of how He called me away from mainstream and into gospel music is pretty overwhelming. Let’s just say it was made pretty clear my music and faith were to come together.
How do you approach your songwriting?
I write about things that are real to me and hopefully others. I write to glorify God. I also get beats, rhythms, melodies, lyrics, and sermons popping in my head all day. I usually record them on my phone immediately then decide later if it should be a song, a talk, or if it needs to be deleted! Ha.
What's the story behind "Prize Worth Fighting For?" When can we see a full-length album?
"Prize Worth Fighting For" is about holding on to your faith no matter what because we have a hope that is bigger than our circumstances and God is worth the suffering we experience. As Christians travelling through this fallen world, we know we have a destination beyond this world: a place in glory with our Creator.
Christian isn't easy! Just ask the 12 disciples of Jesus. They all ended up being martyred or dying for their faith. Three years ago, I was really struggling and tempted to give up. I wrote the song to encourage myself to keep going and to pray to press on. My best friend Lorna Farrell who co-wrote the song also recently became disabled, so a lot of her pain and, ultimately, her hopes are in the lyrics, too. I have a six-song EP releasing in the fall and hope to have a full album out soon after that.
What are some of your favorite artists and music that you listen to and why? Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
I've been enjoying Crowder and Kirk Franklin of late. I think because they just sing about the gospel and it's believable. Yes, they’re definitely two brothers I wouldn't mind jamming with in the future.
What's next? How can we be praying for you?
I'm heading out on tour with Casting Crowns in the fall and have a new song called "Burdens" releasing. Pray that the new song helps bring people to Jesus and that I bring all God wants me to on this tour. Thank you.
Paul Phillips is a Canadian journalist with over 10 years of experience writing and editing digital and print content. He specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, and travel. He loves music, movies, and, of course, living for Jesus.
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