This week I had the pleasure of talking to Tim Prottey-Jones about his upcoming single ‘Fire’, his radio show ‘Homegrown’ and making the transition from being a part of a group, to going solo.
A Bit About Tim
Tim Prottey-Jones lives in London with his Wife and 2 year-old Son, and works primarily in music producing, either on his own stuff or with other artists across the UK, US and Canada. Lockdown, no doubt, allowed Tim to focus his time on his own music and career direction - he wrote and produced a large number of songs that are ready to release, which means that there is plenty of material coming our way!
Having been a part of bands throughout his musical career, taking the step out on his was an ambitious and brace one. Tim describes being in a band as having its pros and cons. Logistically it can be very difficult, with multiple personalities and ideas, goals and ambitions which require a of negotiation and compromise. Having a band where each individual has the same drive and passion can add incredible value and enhance the dynamics which is great…. But this doesn’t happen very often. However, when you are in a band you always have someone who understands how you feel, whether it's how tired you are, the passion you have for a certain arrangement or how much you miss home. With a band you have more equipment, more stuff to haul around with you and more people to keep happy. Comparing this to a solo career, it can be quite freeing only having to worry about yourself and what you want to achieve. You can try the ‘out of the box’ approaches as and when you want to - if they work they work, and if they don't, you pick yourself up and try again. Each has its perks but Tim is looking forward to pushing the boundaries with his solo career.
Moving UK Country Music Forward
During the lockdown pandemic, Tim was able to begin his own radio show on Chris Country called ‘Homegrown’. Having worked with Countyline for some time, and knowing a lot of people within the business, he was an easy choice when it came to looking for a UK show and host with a plethora of knowledge in the genre and industry. Tim described it as ‘an easy choice’ to say yes. Having all the equipment and home and having dabbled in radio previously, it was a big opportunity and one he felt really would work. The show creates a platform for other artists to showcase their work. When it comes to country music in the UK people only think of the older country sound from America and done necessarily conceive the diverse nature of the genre. Having this platform allows other voices to be heard and the sheer magnitude of different sounds within the country genre in the UK.
Tim believes in order to get the country sound out to other people, it is going to take a movement by all artists. Artists such as The Shires have paved a way for smaller artists to be noticed and Tim hopes the show will also highlight as many artists as possible. However, in order to get on the show, it is really importance that the artist looks to “Make the production amazing!” Having a finished product and something that has a high production quality and is ‘radio ready’ will go a long way in ensuring the radio station wants to and is able to play it.
Furthering our conversation on making country music more mainstream in the UK, Tim rightly suggested there are no rules anymore. Inspiration and influence has come from everywhere to make country music what it is today. When you ask any artist who their influences are, they don't all say people from the traditional ‘Country’ genre, it's from every genre, in every decade, and from all over the world. One piece of advice Tim gave to fellow artists is to not "jeopardise your music to fit other peoples narrative of what’s acceptable”. Music has always been subjective but country artists have the ability and freedom to pull from other genres and create a unique country sound. In order to stand out and pull away from the crowd, create a brand ready for success. Tim has experience in dealing with every area of the business and has seen artists fall down because they don’t have the complete package together. Not every artist wants the same kind of success, and artists will measure this differently. Some want to play their music in front of people whereas others want to record, chart and do interviews. As an artist, you can decide what fulfils your desires and what is identified as success. As well as being ‘radio ready’ and having a brand ready to go from the off, Tim also advises artists to “Just keep pushing” but be prepared for whatever your destiny holds.
The Brand New Single 'Fire'
Something that is destined to be a hit is Tim’s new single ‘Fire’, already a favourite with my 8 year-old Son. Tim asks ‘What do you do when the spark is gone?’ And ‘Do you feel passionately about it to kick start it back into action?’.
Although the intent was never to write something deep, he loved the symmetry of singing about fire. Pulling inspiration from one of his favourite artists, Lady A, he wanted to capture the energy and passion they bring to their music. Including loads of vocal harmonies and a catchy chorus with an up-tempo beat, he captured this perfectly. Having spent a lot of time on his guitar Tim felt the urge to switch to piano for this song. This particular song was a long-time in the making; he wrote around 4-8 lines of lyrics and had an opening piano line a long time before he had a chorus. One day something twigged and, he soon had three different choruses so he decided to use them all in the song.
What's up next?
Tim is very much looking forward to a good few months of shows, both solo and as a full band. He is very grateful for the time he has had to focus on the next steps and being able to find the most incredible, talented and reliable musicians for his band. At the time of interview Tim was up in Birmingham just about to head off for rehearsals with the guys. Catch them all at Buckle and Boots Festival at the end of the month.