Jamison Murphy, 24, feels like he’s starting his music career with a pretty big break.
The relatively unknown independent singer and songwriter, born in Burnsville and raised in Lakeville, is getting ready to go to Los Angeles to produce his first record with Grammy-nominated producer Warren Huart. The producer has worked with The Fray, Augustana and James Blunt, among other big names.
“I’m so excited for this experience,” Murphy said. “Since it’s my debut record, I feel like I’ve spent my entire life working toward this moment. You only get one ‘first record,’ so unfortunately, I’ll never get to relive this experience in quite the same light again — I’m not taking anything for granted …”
Murphy’s genres include light pop, rock and alternative pop. He tells stories in his songs, so some argue that he has some country sensibilities, too.
In college at St. John’s University in Collegeville, he wrote music and posted YouTube videos of covers and original songs. That led to a mutual friend introducing him to Huart.
Murphy has been saving money for the past two years to buy studio time with Huart. “He told me at our first meeting he wanted to record me, but I was a broke college grad with loads of student loans,” Murphy said. “I moved to NYC and modeled for a year to save up as much as I could. It’s still an insanely generous investment on his part — I’m extremely thankful he was willing to work with my budget.”
Murphy started writing songs as a senior at Lakeville South High School, and his first performance of an original song was at homecoming coronation — where he broke a guitar string and just kept on singing.
To help fund the trip and production, Murphy has set up an Indiegogo campaign at JamisonMurphy.com. His goal is to raise $3,000 by Sunday. He and his band members will fly to Los Angeles on Sept. 8.
“I think it’ll be one of those things that just feels like a whirlwind, and once it’s over, I’ll be sitting there wondering if it actually happened,” Murphy said. “I’m just going to try to take it all in and make every minute count.”
Below are excerpts from a recent interview with Murphy.
Q: What has shaped your interest in music?
A: Music moves me. That’s the simplest way of saying it. It’s helped me grow, learn, cope, celebrate and internalize every human emotion. I appreciate every genre in its own respect, and I listen to a wide variety of artists. I draw inspiration from all of them.
Q: Describe the content of the songs that you write. What do you like to sing about?
A: I write songs with respect to remembering the past fondly, keeping your chin up in the present, and having faith in the future. I try to help people celebrate the peaks and cope with the valleys. The songs I write are a reflection of the lessons I’ve learned, who I am today and what I hope for. I think everyone is meant for beautiful and amazing things, so my goal is to create music that grants my listeners the mentality and esteem to achieve those things.
Q: Why do you want to do music full-time? What is it about music that is fulfilling to you?
A: Honestly, it’s all about the connection for me. When people tell me one of my songs helped them through something in their life, whether it was dealing with the negative or taking advantage of the positive, I get overwhelmed with purpose and wholeness. I just want to bring as much love into this world as possible, and so far, music’s been the best way for me to do that.
Q: What had you tried before the deal with Warren Huart to advance your music career?
A: So many people are trying to make careers as singer and songwriters, and I knew I had to do something different to separate myself from the clutter. I set a goal for myself and didn’t let myself settle; I worked as hard as I could and connected with as many people as possible. Instead of grabbing the first opportunity that came along, I focused on honing my skills as a songwriter. I knew I wanted to launch my first record from a respected platform in the industry, and Warren is definitely respected.
Q: As a relatively unknown artist at the moment, what are some things about you that make you stand out from other musicians or artists?
A: I try to write songs that haven’t been written before. Even if I’m expressing a not-so-original message, I try to find a fresh way to say it. My lyrics are often story-based — I guess that’s my way of trying to ‘show’ instead of ‘tell.’ I think I’m more positive than most artists; I tend to find the silver lining pretty easily. I also love putting twists at the end my songs — it’s kind of an ongoing trend I’ve noticed in myself.
Q: Having been born and raised in Minnesota, has that impacted your music career in any way?
A: I love Minnesota. I would say the biggest way it’s influenced me is all the talent I’m surrounded by. The local music scene is so inspiring; Minnesota has everything! Local singer and songwriters like Savannah Smith and Austin Plaine motivate me every day. Our hip-hop and folk scenes are pretty crazy too. There’s so much love for the arts around our beautiful state — I just love it. I recently wrote a song about my love for Minnesota and Minneapolis called “Belong Here.”
Q: What kind of personal characteristics and what kind of work has it taken to get to where you are today?
A: Perseverance, creativity and confidence. I’ve had to believe in myself more than anything. I’ve been rejected a ton and will be rejected a ton more in the future, but I won’t let it discourage me. That’s the only reason I’ve come this far: I haven’t given up. I can’t.