Music is a great tool that has been used for years in order to engage listeners to hear about greater causes. We’ve all heard charity single releases for the numerous different charities. James King is a twenty-year-old singer songwriter whom is heavily involved in the ‘Breathe’ campaign that teaches school children about the environment and how they should treat it. I was able to interview James King on how his single ‘Breathe’ has helped the campaign.
What is the ‘Breathe’ campaign about? The ‘Breathe’ campaign is an initiative for change focusing mainly on the environment and the way we treat it. Our main task at the moment is awareness. We believe changing just a few opinions could create a ripple effect through word of mouth and sudden realisation. Most people I personally interact with are teachers and pupils and it is amazing to see young people embracing such a large task.
What does the ‘Breathe’ campaign mean to you? The ‘Breathe’ campaign to me is something much more than just a song and some people nagging to others about climate change. This campaign unites and inspires people, while educating them on the real issues and how to tackle them. I enjoy it mainly because it means I can use what I’m good at. For us and for generations to come.
How do you think the ‘Breathe’ single will help promote the awareness of the campaigns aims? The song ‘Breathe’ doesn’t exactly sound like a charity song and therefore widens the market for it. Most charity songs I’ve heard are too persistent and blaming. ‘Breathe’ is a mere question, not a wagging finger. So with this in mind, people are receptive to the fact that we are not telling anyone what to do. I see the song changing a lot of minds as it carries on growing.
Did you write the song ‘Breathe’ on your own or with other writers? I didn’t write the song, it was actually written by Luc Floreani, and all I did was give it a make over. I did this on my own with a lot of ‘going back to the drawing board’ occasions. The James King team and I put a lot of hard work and time into getting it just right because we feel people deserve that.
How did you approach reworking such an important song for the campaign? When I started reworking the song, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t worked into an alienating genre that only certain people would like. I wanted it to be much broader than that. Something that would, unite instead of segregate. It also had to be something that I was proud of, so that I could get fully behind it and have no reservations about. So all details were finely combed to make sure it was to the standard I was happy with.
Where have you been touring in order to promote the campaign? We did a 60 day schools tour with the first 40 being done in just over a month, sometimes doing 2 schools a day! We even visited my old school to let them know about what we were doing. I really wanted to make sure we were pushing this as much as possible. With such a driving force behind me (the team) it was hard not to be working at 110% all the time. We have scaled the full length of the UK and it has been amazing.
Are you a writer whom writes typically about issues? (Environmental, social, political) My writing is more specific to me than everyday things. I feel like everyone is different in the way we think, even the most normal people can have very interesting minds. So I love playing on that multiple meaning idea, people then can personalise my song to themselves. That way the song means one thing to one person, but to another it can mean something else, that way the song is part of them. Obviously it has a general theme but then after that the song is completely for the listener to decide what it is about.
Have you been receiving a good response from the schools you have been visiting? The school tours really developed me as an artist because as we all once were children, we all know that the attention span is a lot shorter than adults. So I learnt how to engage better and captivate them. All the young people I have played to seem to really enjoy the performance but also really delve quite deep into what I care about and the campaign. This is probably down to the fact that young people are so receptive to new ideas and embrace change. They seem to really care.
Will you be releasing an E.P or anything this year, as an artist? I will be! The E.P will be comprised of 3 songs; all very different from one another, each having it’s own background and topic. We have held the E.P back for about 6 months now because the ‘Breathe’ campaign was far too important for me to miss out on. The E.P will be coming out at the start of summer. I can’t wait for people to hear it, although the songs have been already played once or twice on radio.
How do you think music helps such campaigns, such as ‘Breathe’ air pollution awareness? I think music is a great way to engage people, they will often feel as if you are laying all your cards on the table. It’s a very interesting teaching method, as most of it is subconscious and doesn’t feel like teaching. It’s not only the music that helps, it’s the conversations in between, the eye contact, the way you hold yourself. All of these are factors that will make people either respect you and hear what you have to say, or switch off. Also if you team music up with the Internet, it’s a great platform to show what you’re about, without having to read an ‘about’ page or some strange Facebook post.James King’s involvement in the ‘Breathe’ campaign is invaluable, giving the children something to listen and sing along to will help engage their minds and will defiantly leave them with an ever-lasting message.
To find out more about James King and the ‘Breathe’ Campaign, click on the links below and keep yourselves updated:
Written By: Samantha McQueeney