What a year it has been for Jake Bugg. The 19 year old’s Nottingham born singer-songwriter
has scored a UK Number 1 with his debut album, supported the Stone Roses and has just
embarked on a tour with Noel Gallagher.
It comes as no surprise then that the teenager, who has drawn comparison’s to such disparate
artists as Donovan and Alex Turner, has also become the new poster boy for British guitar
|Chin up Jake, it can't be that bad.|
balance needed to send the music press’ hyperbole machine into overdrive. But the terms
being thrown around, like ‘the future of music’ and ‘next Dylan’, are shrugged off by the
“Sometimes you gotta pinch yourself, you know. But it’s what I’ve always wanted to do so
I’m just really enjoying it. People are always going to try to compare you and pigeon-hole
you to be honest. All I want from this album is just to literally inspire young people to start
writing proper tunes again”.
Bugg doesn’t say much in interview, but he reveals himself with the few words he uses.
When he says he wants to inspire young people to write proper tunes again, you believe him.
Upon reaching Number One with his debut, he commented that it was his job “to keep that X-
Factor shit of the top of the charts”.
There’s an authenticity to Bugg’s music of which he’s very proud of, and which hasn’t been
skewered by his popularity in the press. It becomes apparent again in his influences, the
music of Donovan and Bob Dylan is hardly typical of what an 18 year old would listen to.
“Not really, but that stuff just sounds great to my ears. You can never really understand why
you like something, but that’s just the music I enjoy listening to”.
Bugg started writing songs at just 14 years old. Songs he wrote at 15 and 16 are now
appearing on his debut album. There’s a fluidity and honesty to the lyrics to suggest that at
least one of the tags attributed to Bugg, that of ‘precocious talent’, was correct.
Largely the songs deal with Bugg’s upbringing in Clifton, which was once the largest
housing estate in Europe. He spins tales of soft drug use, running from police and dangerous
run-in’s with knife wielding gangsters.
On his song writing, Bugg claims he seeks to bring truth to the stories, but also to use his
imagination, creating what you might call an honest tale.
“I think it has developed definitely. Of the process I’m not really sure, I enjoy sitting down
with a guitar and just seeing what seems possible to me. I think it’s good to be honest but I
also enjoy the idea of making stories as well. I like to mix the two”.
Bugg’s road to fame started when he was chosen by the BBC to appear on the Introducing
Stage at Glastonbury 2011. Shortly afterwards he signed to Mercury Records. He eventually
caught the eye of Noel Gallagher who proclaimed him “the future of music, he’s like Dylan
meets The Arctic Monkeys”. It wasn’t long before he was lined up to support the Stone Roses
at their now infamous secret comeback show in London.
“It was incredible mate. I never thought I’d ever get to see the Stone Roses live, let alone
support them” is Bugg’s rather straightforward offering on the subject.
But there have been many highs for the young Jake Bugg so far. Already he counts Noel
Gallagher, Lily Allen, Elton John, Chris Martin, Damon Albarn and even Donovan among
his fans. There are the honest songs and inspired melodies of his debut album and the
tantalising product of how good he might one day be.
But what does the man himself consider the high point so far?
“There’s been a few a few to be honest, going on tour and supporting the Stone Roses, Jools
Holland, T In The Park and all that. But my favourite bit is actually sitting down and writing
It might just be a line, but if he means it Jake Bugg should have a very bright future ahead.