Music. Despite being an industry that contributed nearly £6bn to the UK economy in 2019 (BBC News, 2020), the last year has told an otherwise contradicting story. With venue doors closed and festivals cancelled, it may be a while until we find ourselves singing in our thousands to our favourite live artists.
But whilst being reduced to silence for the time being, this hasn’t stopped up-and-coming artist James Cumner, a.k.a Edenhill, from pursuing his aspirations of a music career this year.
A singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, the Swindon-based singer showed prodigious talent from an early age.
“I’ve been writing music since I was 8 years old, as a way of teaching myself to play the guitar,” Cumner explains, “The idea of playing other people’s songs never really interested or excited me, but I found a lot of joy in creating my own music; however I can’t say that they were much of a joy to listen to at the time!”
14 years later, and it’s not just the guitar that Cumner has found an affinity for. Learning how to play the drums, bass and how to sing, overtime he’s developed a unique smorgasbord of musical abilities that has now created one Pop/Alternative identity: Edenhill.
Explaining the decision to use a pseudonym, Cumner says: “As I write all the music, all the lyrics, and play all the instruments on my recordings, to put out this music under my real name would make it feel too personal…if people were to attack the music it could feel like they were attacking me as a person…hidden behind the disguise of a moniker, I feel free to be truly expressive without feeling bound by people’s judgement.”
This ability to express freely within Edenhill’s music is particularly important to him, with his upbeat, unique and genre-fluid melodies being influenced by a plethora of music moguls, drawing inspiration from a number of bands including: Radiohead, the 1975 and the Beatles.
“Although I wouldn’t say my music resembles any of these bands, they’re all bands that refuse to be defined by genre. I find this the most exciting form of artistic expression because it’s without boundaries.”
With more of his music now being set to be released this year, Cumner acknowledges that coming into the music industry during a worldwide panic won’t be without its challenges. Since COVID-19 put a halt to the music industry 9 months ago, live music revenue has fallen by 81% (BBC News, 2020).
“Business wise, the pandemic has been detrimental. An artist’s primary income stems from their live performances. Which, sadly has left a lot of artists in unsustainable financial positions.”
However, like many other artists, Cumner has used this time at home to focus more on making music, whilst venue doors remain closed.
“Because of the lack of money made from live shows, labels and artists are focusing on releasing more music,” he explains, “creatively, I think that it’s given a lot of artists, that are fortunate enough to be able to record and make a comfortable living from music, the luxury of time to writing more songs.
“Because of this, we now have artists releasing more music than ever [Taylor swift has released 2 albums, 31 songs, in 6 months], which is needed in a time like this…at the moment, I plan to release 8 songs between now and next summer.”
With his debut single, “Afterlife” receiving over 7,000 plays on Spotify since its release 2 months ago, Edenhill is certainly a one-man music ensemble to look out for, and perhaps the new noise breaking the silence of the live music industry this year.
Edenhill’s next single, “Reliever”, will be available on the 15th January on Spotify.
Meanwhile, to hear more of Edenhill’s music, you can listen on his Spotify account. To receive more updates on upcoming releases, you can follow him on his Instagram and Twitter accounts, or go to his website for more information.