Grammy winner Amy Wadge talks about songwriting success and working with Ed Sheeran ahead of Coolham gig

Amy Wadge
Amy Wadge
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Amy Wadge, one the most prolific songwriters in the UK, is set to perform at Coolham Live Music Club on Saturday, February 4.

She will be joined by acclaimed young roots singer-songwriter Luke Jackson.

Amy Wadge and Luke Jackson. Picture by Mike Ainscoe

Amy Wadge and Luke Jackson. Picture by Mike Ainscoe

Over the course of five solo albums and hundreds of live shows, Amy, now 41, has built up an impressive body of work.

She explains that she views her music as a kind of diary.

“I’ve always found that I express myself much better in song form,” she says. “So anything I feel or any problems I’m processing I tend to write songs about.”

It’s an art form Amy’s been interested in since she was very young.

“I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t want to do it,” she states. “It’s funny because I’ve got children of my own now. My eldest is nine and that time was the time that I got really captivated by music.”

“Every time I had friends over to play, I always wanted to write songs,” she continues. “I used to find it was really therapeutic. I had loads of energy – I was probably hyperactive – and it was the way I got rid of that energy really.”

Thanks to her Dad’s love of music, Amy had access to plenty of great tunes, which sparked her creativity. She imbibed the work of James Taylor and Joni Mitchell and “all the people you’d imagine a songwriter would be inspired by”.

“I remember my Dad giving me a copy of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (the seventh studio album by Elton John) and just thinking it was the most incredible thing I’d ever heard.”

Since then, making music has been Amy’s mission and, as well as writing her own songs (she’s drawn to alt-country, folk and Americana), she’s created many compositions with, and for, other artists. These include James Blunt, Birdy and LeAnn Rimes.

Her most well-known collaboration is with the young British star Ed Sheeran, a musician she’s known since he was 17. Amy co-wrote Ed’s hit single ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and before that Ed released an EP in 2010 simply titled ‘Songs I Wrote With Amy’.

The collaboration came about after Amy decided to change the focus of her career roughly ten years ago from being a performer to being a songwriter.

“I was having children and I didn’t want to have to tour as much,” she explains. “I signed a publishing deal and I said ‘just send me whoever you think I should write with’. One of the first people was Ed and he came down and we wrote nine songs in two days.”

Amy’s remained close to Ed as his career has taken off and she’s been involved with his latest album Divide, which will be released on March 3.

“Ed and I have been able to write a huge amount in a short space of time and just before Christmas we spent a couple of days together and we wrote six songs. One of them was the X Factor winner Matt Terry’s single (‘When Christmas Comes Around’). It’s just a relationship that I love and it’s wonderful to see what’s happened with him.”

Amy certainly experienced some of that wonder for herself when ‘Thinking Out Loud’ won Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 58th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. In glitzy surroundings, with a huge audience applauding, Amy found herself being presented with the coveted award by Stevie Wonder.

“It was crazy,” says Amy. “It’s still quite hard to process the whole thing because it was a bit like a dream but it was absolutely incredible. I’ll never forget it.”

“And just to be presented with it by Stevie Wonder was ridiculous,” she laughs. “The nomination was enough for me really. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that would have happened, so for us to go on and win it was just extraordinary.”

Now Amy’s joined forces with another promising young songwriter. It’s the third time she’s teamed up with Luke Jackson, 22, and they’re hitting the road for a double-header UK tour.

“Luke is extraordinarily talented,” she says, explaining that she wants more people to experience his songwriting skills. “Being at the stage that I am in my career it’s nice to go out with someone younger too, just to kind of be part of their energy.”

For audiences, this tour – especially the Coolham gig – offers a chance to hear gutsy, emotional folk tunes from two acclaimed musicians in an intimate setting.

“We both really like the little, tiny venues,” Amy says. “Some of my favourite gigs over the years have been small ones because I love the kind of interaction with the audience. And I think that Luke is so engaging onstage that when people are really up close and personal they’re going to get such a good show.”

The gig will be at Coolham Village Hall and doors will open at 7.15pm . Tickets cost £15. There is no licenced bar so people can bring refreshments. Tickets from coolhamtickets@gmail.com. For more information visit www.coolhamlivemusicclub.co.uk or call 07889 775173.

To find out more about Amy and Luke’s music visit amywadge.com or lukepauljackson.com.

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