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Jay Williams: Former Bishop’s Stortford High School student and Bentfield primary pupil releasing second EP, When I Lived in London

A Stansted singer-songwriter hopes his second EP can be a source of inspiration and hope for everyone who hears it.

Former Bishop’s Stortford schoolboy Jay Williams, 21, is preparing to release When I Lived in London, which features three original songs. The first track, Out of Life, is released on Friday March 1.

The EP sees the guitarist and pianist, who went to Bentfield Primary School in Stansted and The Bishop’s Stortford High School (TBSHS), open up about the emotional crisis he found himself in after leaving school.

Jay left TBSHS after completing his GCSEs and went to Hertfordshire Music College in Ware, but that shut after a year so, at the age of 17, he switched to the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance in Kilburn, north-west London.

“When I was at university in Kilburn I had a really rough time. I didn’t enjoy my time at all,” said Jay, whose new EP also features the tracks Want You to Know Me and It Can Only Get Better.

“I went to see a John Mayer concert at the O2 and seeing him live kicked off a writing spree which was my way of processing all the emotion.

Jay Williams is releasing his second EP, When I Lived in London
Jay Williams is releasing his second EP, When I Lived in London

“The three songs on this EP all came from that writing spree which happened in my flat in London. Hence When I Lived In London.”

Jay now works as a technician at South Mill Arts in Stortford, designing and operating lighting and sound for shows among other duties, and is a trustee of music-based wellbeing charity Retune, which was founded by fellow singer-songwriter and Indie music writer Tom Ryder. Jay previously worked at DeRosa Music in Water Lane.

Jay, who started playing piano at the age of four and picked up a guitar four years later, has been a music fanatic from when he could first hear. He’s been expanding on his emotive and honest style ever since, to the point he has amassed more than 30,000 streams on Spotify.

His songwriting journey started in early 2015 when he was awarded the Best Vocalist prize in a performing arts competition at South Mill Arts. On the back of that achievement he met experienced producer Ross Simpson and they have been working together ever since.

Jay’s first original release, 24 Hours, appeared on Spotify in November 2017 before featuring on BBC Radio Essex. The single was accompanied by a music video which received over 3,000 hits on YouTube within a year.

In 2019 he put out his 24 Hours EP which also featured covers of Under a Million Lights by Tom Chaplin and Lights Come On by Jason Aldean.

As well as John Mayer, he draws inspiration from artists such as Gregory Porter, Mumford & Sons, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Elton John and 10cc.

“I’m not like a lot of songwriters who write and write and write and only release the good stuff,” said Jay. “I only write occasionally when I feel a song needs writing.

“Be it an individual track, an artist’s full work or just an album or EP, when the time comes for me to write a song, the music I listen to is there supporting me in making my own new sound.”

Jay’s new EP features fellow guitarist Joe Hazel as well as Graham Instrall (drums), Mike McGibney (bass) and Slavic Selin (synths).

Find out more by following @jayclothwilliams on Instagram and Facebook and listen to his music at https://sptfy.com/jayclothwilliams.

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