Things are moving fast for singer/songwriter Jem Warren.
Warren's EP Lifeblood To My Soul was released last spring to acclaim for his unique Americana sound, an acoustic blend of country and folk that ruminates on everything from religion to lost love, while his ballad “Jim Jones," based on the infamous 1978 Jonestown mass suicide, was featured on the The Confession, a Hulu exclusive web series starring John Hurt and Keifer Sutherland.
The singer released his debut album Heart Knows How on May 18.
What was the first piece of music that made you want to make music of your own?
“Every Breath You Take” by The Police. There was something very seductive about the sound. I was quite young, but I felt very connected to the sound and remember wanting to recreate it.
What particular song has had an impact on your songwriting?
There have been so many. To name a few: “Come As You Are," “Fast Car,” and “It’s Alright Ma, (I'm Only Bleeding)." There’s a primal quality to these songs that I try to capture. I always gravitated towards the tortured variety of artist.
What was the first song you wrote that you were proud of?
“September Breeze." It's on my first demo from 2003. I don’t really play that anymore, but I remember thinking it was really good.
What was it like getting your start as a musician in New York?
It was rough; there are a lot of great musicians out there and it can be overwhelming and intimidating. But it can also be very inspiring and forces you to up your game.
How was “Jim Jones” chosen for The Confession?
It was a contest by OurStage, and “Jim Jones” was selected from 1,700 entries.
I feel like it’s too early to tell if people will like it better or less than my EP; they are two very different albums. But so far the response to the live performances has been very positive.
Did you set out to bring a more country vibe to your new album?
In the beginning it just happened organically, but towards the album’s completion it became more deliberate.
What advice would you give to an aspiring songwriter?
Stay true to what really moves you, and know what you want to say.
What’s next musically?
I don’t want it to be more of the same; I always want to be evolving. As cliché as that sounds, it’s important for an artist to keep moving forward. Let’s just say the next album will most likely be a different vibe.