A couple days ago, I got the awesome chance to talk to my hero, Jimmy Needham. Turns out, he is an awesome dude! We talked about his music, his roots as a Texas soulster, and why he does what he does. You can pick up his new album “Clear the Stage” in stores and on iTunes now!
Where are you from?
“I’m a Texas boy through and through man. I grew up in Dallas, and relocated to Houston with my family when I got married.”
When did you start playing music?
“Professionally about 7 years ago. But I’ve loved music my whole life.”
Your new album “Clear the Stage” just came out about a month ago. How was the writing process for this record different than the writing process of your previous ones?
“Well, I get song lyrics in my head all the time and I’ll record them on my iPhone. And I’m always playing guitar and then try to marry the two. Co-writing with Ed Cash has been great. I don’t ever want to give off the vibe that my way is the only way that works.”
Who are some of your biggest influences in your life? Both in your personal life, and with your music?
“A lot of the musicians that have impacted me with their music have also impacted my personal walk. Ben Stuart speaks for an on campus ministry at Texas A&M and he is the one who taught me how to love people and just love the Word. Shane and Shane, Ross King, Derek Webb, Lecrae, these are guys that are so comfortable with challenging the status quo of Christianity.”
How did you and your wife meet?
“We were at Texas A&M. I heard that she played violin, that she loved Jesus, and that she was smokin’ hot. I asked her to be play in my band, and then I asked her to start dating me. And a couple months later, I asked her to started marrying me. We sought counsel and got green lights from all the people in our lives and got married. From 1st date to “I do,” it was nine months.”
What is your favorite food?
“That’s easy. Chipotle. I eat there and honestly it makes me a better husband.”
Have you ever had any embarrassing moments while you’re out on the road?
“Oh absolutely. That’s all my life is, one big embarrassing moment. I was playing in Jacksonville, Florida, at Celebration Church and I was playing for a college group. There were maybe 300 in the church and I got up to go up on stage and decided to just jump up on stage instead of taking the stairs. My feet clipped the front of the stage and I fell face down right on the front of the stage. And the worst part was, it was just me. It wasn’t like the band was playing in the background, just introduction, run run run, face plant. And I tried to make it into a joke, so instead of getting up right away, I just laid there for about 30 seconds. Instead of being funny it was just awkward.”
What about most awkward encounter with a fan?
“You have to have an awkward encounter with a fan in order to be an artist. There’s some super Jimmy Needham nerds that bring posters of my face or have pictures that they drew. The awkward moment occurs when the fan hands me a picture that they took 5 hours to draw and stare at and I don’t know what to do with it.”
How do you decide which songs make it on to your records, and which ones don’t?
“Pretty much all of my songs make it on to my records. I don’t mean that arrogantly but it’s just that I don’t write that many songs. When I come to a record that I need 10 songs for, it’s mostly me bringing 9 songs and I usually write one in the studio. Pretty much every album you’ve heard is all the songs I’ve written in my studio. It’s a humbling thing to come to a record and go “I don’t know if I have any songs for this record.” and to truly rely on God for it.”
What is your biggest pet-peeve?
“Do I have any pet peeves? Hmmm. That’s a tough one. It’s actually kinda lame. I would have to say that my pet-peeve would have to be when I’m in the turning lane, and there is a car in front of me that isn’t turning, and I totally would have been able to turn if I would have just been in front of him. It’s lame, I know. But it’s annoying!”
Were you always this smooth, jazzy, soulster? Or was high-school Jimmy a bit different?
“I think I started really coming into my own vibe about late high school early college. I would say that most of my influences were very motowny very soulful. I listened to a lot of Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, and Johnny Lang, so that definitely helped form that side of me. Actually, about 3-4 of the songs on my first record were written when I was a junior in High School.”
My name is Branden Brown! I from Florida, but I live in New York! I love to play and write music, and play basketball. I’m passionate about People, Music, Sports, and Jesus!.