In conversation with Jamie N Commons

Jamie N Commons just might be the owner of the strongest, greasiest singing voice to have ever come out of London. Although he now spends half his time in L.A., he’s been doing Great Britain proud—so much so that his latest single, “Not Gonna Break Me,” has been featured in the BBC’s broadcast of the Rio Olympics.


Here, he chats with FAULT about archery, creative collaborations, and Dutch humour.



FAULT: First of all, how did your voice become what it is? Because when I hear your music, I don’t picture an English dude with long, straight hair.

Jamie: I guess I was just trying copy what I grew up listening to: Ray Charles, Greg Allman, Johnny Cash, and all that kind of stuff. Luckily enough, I had the physical body to do it—the throat or whatever.


FAULT: What was the process that brought your song “Jungle” to life? Who wrote it, and how was the collaboration with X Ambassadors organized?

Jamie: Alex [da Kid] and one of his writers had come up with this beat and played for me and Sam [from X Ambassadors] as a possible track to write over. Sam had come up with this really good chorus, but he couldn’t get the verse down. So I was like, “Oh, I could probably lay something on that.” I think it was probably originally intended to be for only one of us or the other, but then it kind of sounded cool like a double man duet, so we ended up doing that.


FAULT: What about “Desperation” with Eminem?

Jamie: That was actually a full song that I wrote and recorded. [Eminem] heard the song, and we took my verses off and he did his own over it. So [the original version] is a full song yet to be released, but watch this space. Hopefully at some point it’ll see the light of day.


FAULT: How did you wind up opening for Bruce Springsteen?

Jamie: I’ve always had a really special time in Holland. It’s always been a bit of a fairy tale every time I go over. We played this show there one time, and I was talking to a promoter about our favorite bands and stuff. I was like, “Yeah, my dream is to open for Bruce Springsteen. He’s the best live act out there.” It turned out the promoter was putting on a show with him, and had a free spot on the bottom of the bill. He was like, “You know what would be funny? If I gave that spot to Jamie,” so he rang me up. I thought he was joking at the start, but then he was like, “Nope, let’s do it!.” It was part Dutch sense of humour and part great timing.


FAULT: Which is worse, L.A. traffic or London weather?

Jamie: I actually don’t have a car at the moment, so I’m doing the Uber. So the traffic doesn’t bother me too much because I can sit in the back doing the emails. But at the same time, I quite like miserable weather, so I don’t see either of them as a bad thing.


FAULT: With “Not Gonna Break Me” being used in the Olympic coverage, if you could compete in any Olympic sport, which one would it be?

Jamie: I just got super-into archery, so that would be cool. I feel like that’s like the least strenuous as well. You gotta train really hard, but comparatively to, I dunno marathon running, I feel like shooting bow and arrow all day is pretty good.


FAULT: What’s next for you?

Jamie: We’ve got some busy months coming up. At the moment, we’ve got three singles going on in three different territories. In England, we’ve got this song “Not Gonna Break Me” for the BBC. Over here in America, we’ve got “Low Life” with X Ambassadors and A$AP Ferg. We just did that one on Good Morning America last week (which was tough for the non-morning people like myself). And then in Europe, we’re currently in the top five with this Kungs collaboration I did with that new DJ, Kung. So we’re attacking all fronts.


FAULT: What is your FAULT?

Jamie: Always having a beer or two too many. That unnecessary beer when you’re like, “Oh yeah, I’ll just have one little nightcap.” Always a bad idea.

Words Cody Fitzpatrick