I absolutely loved Brisbane artist Jeremy Neale at Music Matters Live last month. Not only for his music but his general approach to being… Jeremy Neale! This man deserves to be bigger than Justin Bieber. Seriously. So I sent him these questions via email and waited with bated breath on the answers. Here’s what came back…

How did you get your start in music?

I was fortunate that my best friend when I was 13 started learning the drums. She would get drum lessons and then teach me what she knew. I went on to continue playing drums in High School and picked up other instruments along the way. This left me primed to be able to experiment with songwriting and I guess eventually I must have written something halfway decent. Finally had the guts to write for a band towards the end of 2008 and then started doing the solo thing in 2011.

Was it easy to get gigs and get yourself attention when you began?

Not overly. It was a very different musical climate in Brisbane when I first started playing. There wasn’t many venues really and so the main place you’d get your start was at a bar called “Rics”. It used to be super trendy. You’d get a Monday or Tuesday night slot there and then if you did good enough eventually they’d throw you a Thursday or the most prized Saturday night slot. And then boom. Your name was in lights. Fortunately now though there’s heaps of great places to play.

Of all the trendy styles out there, why did you decide to go with retro 60s pop?

Haha well, trendy is debatable but I’d always wanted to do it ever since seeing that movie “That Thing You Do” as a kid. So I went out and did it. I love the style but I love all eras of pop so I’ll more than likely do a pretty big genre jump between now and the next release.

Who are your writing and performance influences and why?

It changes across projects but always present and especially for my debut EP has been the guitar pop of the 1960’s. Bands like The Zombies, The Kinks, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Monkees, The Hollies etc. I tend to like upbeat tunes and I’ve got a limited attention span so the immediacy of those style of melodies has always been something I’ve enjoyed and wanted to put my own spin on. I like a lot of the wholesome love sentiments of that era too so it’s a nice aspect to explore lyrically.

Has the Brisbane live scene been supportive of you and your distinct style?

Brisbane has been amazing to me. I don’t know what might have become of me had I started in another city. One day I’ll meet the alternate universe version of myself and find out I guess.

Why was it important for you to play at Music Matters Live?

I think Singapore and the rest of the Asia as music scenes are totally unknowns to us in Australia. We have a general understanding of how the UK and the US works but it was great to see that there were people in Singapore who were really keen on the live aspect of music. Now that I’ve seen it I definitely want to get back there.

What do you think you have learnt from the experience?

Well, besides being able to navigate the town and which hotels I should and shouldn’t book for next time I now see the potential to play great shows in some great venues so I’m sure we’ll look towards how we can get future releases to the local scene.

What are your immediate future plans? Is there a full-length in the works?

At the moment I’ve been writing a lot. Just finished recording album with another Brisbane band I play with called Velociraptor (www.facebook.com/velociraptorband) and will get back into the studio in the next few weeks to record the next solo single which will be out around October.

Will we be seeing you in Singapore again for more performances?

Hopefully I can make it back there around the same time next year. Once I’ve got some new material out in the world hopefully we can add Singapore to the list of stops on the tour!

Any message for your new Singapore fans?

Live Long and Prosper.

Connect with Jeremy Neale at www.facebook.com/jnealemusic.