Union J’s Jaymi Hensley Talks To VanityHype

Check out the full interview in issue 35!

Jaymi vanityhype 2014 small
Union J popped up on our screens via the ninth series of the X Factor in 2012 with the name Triple J. When George Shelley joined the band (he entered the X Factor as a solo artist and got thrown out during Boot Camp!) they changed their name to Union J and came 4th on the show. Since then they have sold out shows, brought out a range of merchandise and been on a headline tour… Oh, and appeared in the likes of Kick Ass 2 and brought out a sticker book!
It’s nice to see then, that the lads are still down to earth 2 years on. We caught up with Jaymi Hensley to discuss the new music, his wedding and shopping at Toys ‘R’ Us….

Your new single ‘Tonight (We Live Forever)’ is about the special relationships in life that make us happy. Why did you decide to write a song inspired by that? I think it’s just about the fact that we have had so many major experiences in the last few years, that we just wanted to say that you can do anything in the world. You can be as successful, as rich, or as poor but as long as you’ve got people around you that you love, that’s what’s important. We’re so lucky that the four of us get on so well and we love each other, have a great team around us and our family is so heavily involved, that it makes those days that are long and a bit shitty better, you know what I mean? Like, oh my God, I get to experience these things with the people I love! So that’s where it came from.

Any personal connection for you with your wedding coming up? Kind of yeah. The wedding’s been pushed back a bit because although we know exactly what we want, our schedule with Ollie being so successful in his line of work, is a bit hectic. We wanted to make sure we could do it without rushing and have the time to relax and enjoy the whole thing.

You only do it once right?

We’re so lucky that the four of us get on so well and we love each other, have a great team around us and our family is so heavily involved, that it makes those days that are long and a bit shitty better

So the single is taken from your second album, which will be released later this year. How different is the second album from the first? Can you hear a progression in your music style? Massively. I think there’s a massive progression for us and we really wanted to show what we could do. Coming off the X Factor and going straight out to release an album, it was very pop based and I think people just pigeonhole you. We have such distinct music tastes between us though. We wanted to create something a little bit different to what they expected of us – we wanted to push the boundaries and ourselves, to the limit. It’s about growing and we’re in such a lucky position that we get to do a job that you can grow and take new experiences into. It was important to put pen to paper and write our own album.

Jaymi and fiancé Ollie

Jaymi and fiancé Ollie

So you say your first one was a pop album, can we expect a shift in this one? We’re still staying pop but maybe not so clean-cut, a bit more edgy with the lyrics, some rock tones and a more organic live sound, you know what I mean? We’re a boy band but George plays instruments so we are very heavily influenced by country music and guitars and drums, and we wanted to bring a ‘real music’ sound to it rather than it being very synthesized.

While working on the album you have been writing the music in the UK and USA with some talented people. Do you get a buzz from being in that sort of environment? It’s unreal! I was saying earlier that the one thing that sticks in my mind was that we worked with Diane Roberts who is one of the most glorified songwriters of all time. She wrote Aerosmith’s ‘Don’t want to miss a thing’ and has worked with Whitney, Maria, Beyoncé – you name it, she’s done it. A surreal moment for me though was when we were in LA. I walked past a golden disc of Celine Dion – ‘The Color Of Love’. That album was what my mum and me used to listen to when I was growing up. We used to sing along to it in the car! I rang her and said, ‘You’ll never guess what! That album we used to listen to in the car, I’m working with the woman who wrote it!’ and she said, ‘I’m listening to the album in my car right now!’ It was a total 360 for me, all my life I’ve listened to this woman’s work and now I’m so privileged and lucky to be working with her.

Want to read the rest? Grab issue 35!

Words copyright VanityHype 2014

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