It all happened pretty quick for Starsailor, from Wigan pub unknowns to supporting the Stones in the blinking of an eye. The band sold over 3 million records but found growing up in the public eye difficult to cope with.
When Starsailor eventually went ‘on hold’ at the end of 2009 it would have been easy for frontman and songwriter James Walsh to head back home and disappear into a life of chocolate Hob Nobs, Sky Sports and obscurity. Instead the Chorley born Liverpool FC fan got busy, earning himself a reputation as a talented (and in demand) song-writer, working with a wide range of artists including Suzanne Vega and Beverley Night.
Since Starsailor have been on hiatus you have been collaborating with a lot of different kinds of artists and songwriters. . .
Its been a fantastic learning experience working with a number of different people all with different ideas and styles of songwriting. From Eliot James who has worked with Alan Pownall and Andy Burrows to Sacha Skarbek who’s worked with James Blunt and Adele.
Its enhanced my songwriting working with such great people. I just love writing melodies so if the backing track has a totally different sound than I’m used to then all the better. It creates a great mix.
Here is Robotic Heart Foundation a project James has been working on with Swedish producers Nikolaj Torp Larsson and Andreas Olson.
Has it changed the way you write songs?
Not really, it hasn’t changed the way I write songs but it has made me more prolific. I write all the time now. I know if an idea is good but not right for me I can find a good home for it so to speak. Before I would scrap a lot of things because they weren’t right for the band.
Did you enjoy playing at the recent Zermatt Unplugged show in Switzerland?
I played a mixture of solo songs,covers and also had a late night jam with One Republic at Zermatt. There were people making videos of this momentous event but there was a lot of beer and champagne drunk so its pretty loose that’s for sure! Great fun though. I like those lot.
What are the films you have been writing for?
I have written songs for a film called ‘Powder‘ its a rock n roll movie set for a premiere in Liverpool. The trailer is doing the rounds now.
Its important with film music to enhance the scene rather than take over. Its great having an inspiring script or book to draw from. I can imagine if you do a soundtrack for a god awful movie for the money it can be harder.
Luckily I’ve only been asked to do low budget but high quality stuff.
Who are the Wildflowers?
The Wildflowers are a Nashville band signed to Interscope. Like a lot of acts that come through Kensaltown (the studio in Westbourne Park). They came, we wrote a cool song and they went on their way.
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
Previously I would have said I want to work with Springsteen or Neil Young but now I think there’s not much I could add to the genius! They are legends and I would be in their shadow for sure.
Now I think I’d prefer to work with a great female artist (Adele, Rumer or Robyn) or an amazing musician/producer like Danger Mouse.
Are you looking forward to touring with Simple Minds?
Yes! It will be great playing Forests for a nice change. I’ve met Jim Kerr and his crew before and they seem like top people. Most people at that level are very humble and grounded because they’ve been through the ego phase years ago.
Has becoming a Dad given you more things to write about?
Being a Dad has definitely informed my writing and my life generally. Its a big responsibility but very inspiring. Also my kids sing the words back to me in the car so they have to be a)clean and b)good because I hear them so much!
Where is your favourite place to be?
My favourite place to be is at home with my family in Belfast after a busy week. There’s nothing better than chilling out when you’ve earned it.