Divine Magazine is thrilled to welcome Jobie Baker to the list of wonderful artists we’ve interviewed. In a sleepy village in Suffolk, our Editor in Chief shared a quiet drink in a local pub with Jobie and was able to chat with him up close and personal.
Let’s tell you a little bit about Jobie. His first year as a solo artist has seen him showcasing his depth as a songwriter. Working through the motions of self-discovery, love, heartbreak, mental health battles and grief, Jobie has taken us on his journey through the first chapter of his solo career.
As the son of a musical director who toured Europe with The Rocky Horror Show and many other shows over the last 30 years, he was immersed in the atmosphere of live music from a young age, and greatly understands the importance of storytelling.
First, the silly question part …
What’s your favourite Milkshake flavour?
Skittles. Literally, like to taste the rainbow whenever I can (odd selection but you can thank Shakeaway for that) ????
If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
Turtle and Orangutan… oranguturtle if you will… strength of a strong shielded swimmer and cuddleability of a long armed furry gentle giant!
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As a kid were you ever frighted of a monster under the bed or in the cupboard?
I was mainly frightened of inflatables, not monsters ???? there weren’t any inflatables under my bed haha but it took a few years to be able to climb the slip and slide at the local pool!
Who would you want to play you in a film of your life?
The first half of my life Dan Levy and the second half of my life would have been Robin Williams! Legends and absolute favourites.
If you were a fashion designer, what style of clothing or accessories would you design?
Jobie Merch! I’m joking (partly), but if I was a designer… probably shoes for giant footed humans like myself.
Now to the serious questions…
Do you write your own songs and what inspires you?
Yes, I write my own lyrics, I’m passionate about song writing and it’s my favourite part of the process. I love performing live but there’s something about putting your emotions in words that really resonates with me
Which comes first, the lyrics or the music?
More often than not I’ll come up with an idea for a song, or I’ll think of a melody that sounds like it could be a hook. I think with me the melody normally comes first. Sometimes I’ll wake up humming a melody then I’ll grab my phone and record it as soon as I can.
Do you play any instruments at all?
No, I can play Yesterday on the piano but that’s about it. But I do have a party trick. I can wiggle my ears ???? My niece loves it when I do that because I’ve told her secretly it helps me fly, like Dumbo…
Tell us a bit about being part of a musical family and how you got into it all as a performer/songwriter.
Well, my dad was the inspiration. He’s worked in theatres for about 30 years now, he toured with the Rocky Horror show around Europe and he was Head of Music in a school. He’s obsessed with music, and he passed that passion down to me.
I didn’t start singing until I was 19 when I joined the university to study Paramedic Science. I finished my GCSE’s and left school because school wasn’t a happy memory for me. I did some work experience at the school my dad was at, and while I was there a job came up with a little boy who had special needs and they asked me to help him in the classroom, helping him with his homework and stuff. It was very rewarding.
You mentioned studying Paramedic Science. How did that come about it, it’s such a huge change to being involved in music.
Yeah, there’s a bit of a story behind that. I’d always been obsessed with hospital and medical programmes like Casualty and Chicago Med and I had this urge to try help people. I didn’t want to become a doctor, so it was a choice because paramedic or nurse.
What made you choose to become a Paramedic? And how did you achieve this goal if you left school with on GCSE’s because you’d have needed A levels?
I liked the idea of being on the frontline, and emergency care. And yes, I had to go back to college for two years to get my level 3 diploma in health and social care, and one in applied science. I worked very hard to get those. I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. I applied for Uni and there were only 20 places on course, but 600 applicants. I didn’t think I’d get in. But my parents said to me ‘Just go in and be you’ and I did and I got the place.
You didn’t complete the Paramedic Science degree though. Can you tell us why?
So I did a year. I did a full year and we had a placement in the second half of our first academic year. So, placement for five months. And we were out on the ambulances sort of shift work as a paramedic would. Cause we had to tick off certain practical skills within the field as well as our exams and written work. And we went to a particularly bad collision on a road. It was a head on 70 miles an hour crash. But we got there, and it was absolute carnage. The driver was someone around my age at the time, in the driver’s seat, who went into cardiac arrest as we arrived. And his dad was in the passenger seat. He got out absolutely fine, which was a miracle. But the mum…she was in the back seat, and she wasn’t good at all. I helped worked on her, and kept her breathing till the air ambulance came but it was too late. She died while I held her head in my hands. I like to think I was some solace to her in her final moments. The son survived too.
That sounds terribly traumatic for a twenty-year-old new to the actual day to day emergency care of the world.
Yeah. I went back to the station, feeling so emotional and decided I didn’t think I had it in me to do that. Especially when one of the other paramedics said, ‘You’ll get used to it.’ I knew then I didn’t want to get used to it. I finished the year, got a first, and left. People tried to convince me to stay but I simply didn’t have it in me.
Well, the one good thing about that is that it brought you to us as a musician. I love your music and I’m sure plenty others so too.
I joined a gospel choir which was the best time of my life. Rehearsals and performing with them were absolutely wonderful. It taught me harmonies, and how to use my voice, we did some capella, and it brought me opportunities. I was able to become a backing singer for Britain’s Got Talent, X-Factor, and The Voice. I did that for about 7 years.
You write songs about things you experience personally. Tell us a little about why you write what you do.
Black and White was a breakup song effectively. I wanted all of the verses to sound almost the same in the sense that the word cold, bold, sold, and told, are at the beginning of every line in all verses. It was a very deliberate attempt because, for me, it represented how many times this situation’s happened to me before. So apart from it being rhyming and working really well for a song, it was a way for me to repeat in my head and remind myself of how many bad things I’ve been through, but glad I am where I am now.
How have you found being gay in the music industry? Is this something that has hindered you at all?
Not really. There was a particular moment when I was in the band Reno and Rome, and our manager said something at the time which was sobering. We did something called Prides Got Talent, which I was a part of last year as a soloist. It’s basically a competition to play at London Pride at Trafalgar Square in front of 10,000 people. It was huge. And one thing he said, which was completely harmless, is that ‘we don’t want to be labeled or get stuck in that ‘category ‘of ‘that band with the gay singer.’ It rankled a bit because I’ve never sold myself in that way, I’m a singer/songwriter and being gay has nothing to do with it.
Effectively. And that was, he didn’t want that to seem like our target audience, I think was what he was saying. And he didn’t mean any malice by it. But it really affected me because I don’t want to be pigeonholed as a gay artist. Yeah. I’m an artist. That’s it. That’s all I want to be known as. And I see being gay as a bonus for me, it’s a great life and I have amazing people around me that love me. Not for that, but despite it, it’s irrelevant.
Tell us a bit about your future plans.
I’m currently booking gigs to showcase my music up and down the country, developing my second body of work and preparing for live shows, so 2023 is set to be a busy year.
My intention is to put my songs Crash, Black and White, Return to Sender and Prophet into an EP of sorts. That’s the sort of era that I want to start in. Dark pop and misery basically. And then the next five songs are lined up and the demos already -we’re just working on them now.
I was recently on the BBC Introducing platform. They put artists on festivals and have gigs celebrate introducing local artists. And they also submit some people to Radio One and Radio Six. Recently my song Prophet was submitted to Radio One and Radio Six, I don’t think it’s been played, I would’ve been notified of that. But just the ability for them to have that contact to submit your music so that it’s heard by those people is amazing. And that in itself is a win for me.
Jobie, it was lovely talking to you, and we wish you all the very best for your career and your incredible song writing. Thanks for being here with me.
I’ll leave you with this very honest Jobie point of view ????
‘To people who tell me to get a proper job, hey, what I do now is a proper job. I put the hours in, I work my arse off to get what I get out of it. I’m the artist, the songwriter, co-producer, manager, agent, publisher, everything. And it’s a lot of work. Social media, all of that stuff. I hate social media with a passion because it can be the most amazing thing that could ever happen to you, but it can also drive you down. But it’s necessary evil so I do it. Because it’s part of the job.’
You can find out more about Jobie, his music, and his plans down at his website or social media channels.
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