Guildford-based singer-songwriter Jay Butler will be performing at Guildford’s cocktail venue Bar Des Arts, situated opposite the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, from 8.30pm on Friday, March 30 (admission free).
The 25-year-old has been playing gigs in the area for about a year now: “I have been lucky to find some very fun places to play so far. It’s always interesting how the audiences change from place to place, it keeps me on my toes when writing the set lists. Some songs that go down a storm in some places won’t necessarily be suitable for others, and I love that.”
Jay first picked up a guitar when he was about 16 and started writing songs very soon afterwards: “I’ve never had any guitar lessons so making up my own songs turned out to be a key part of learning how to play. I’ve written something like 130 songs between then and now, I really enjoy playing some of them live and seeing the responses from audiences, it’s a very fulfilling feeling to see crowds enjoying your own material.”
Jay will be performing a mix of cover songs and original material: “They’re all acoustic shows, just me and a guitar. I try to steer clear of predictable covers, and I love playing songs by well-known artists in a way that audiences haven’t heard before, or by an artist you wouldn’t expect to hear covered by an acoustic guitar player.
“I feel very fortunate that I found music early on. From about four years old I had cassette tapes for Bryan Adams, Def Leppard, Bruce Springsteen, Guns n’ Roses, Queen, Meatloaf, the list goes on. Later on I discovered the Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty, Lifehouse, and those were the bands that made me want to write songs.
“So the songs I write tend to be influenced by all those different types of music and different styles of writing. In terms of content it can be anything and everything: I’ve written about break ups, bad first dates, getting a new job - you’d probably not be able to tell which are which, but that’s the beauty of music, it can be interpreted a hundred different ways.”