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JJ Gilmour returns to city for solo date

By Margaret Chrystall

THE latest breakthrough on former Silencers’ singer JJ Gilmour’s musical journey is being open when he writes about coping with depression.

“Most recently it occupied me for a year and a half, but ironically it has led me on to going into places of work, discussing who I am and performing. So out of something that is not particularly nice, something that flattens me, it has led me on to talking openly and singing about something that has affected my mental health.

“I have written a new song called Nothingness about how it affects me. It has not been an easy thing to admit.

“But it has put me in a position where I can speak about it for other people,” said JJ, who has been writing his experience into his songs for years.

“But now, rather than having people second-guess what your lyrics are about, you are being honest about it. This will be a topic that I will no longer wonder ‘Will people get this?’ or ‘Will people guess who I am from this song?’. It’s a new thing to admit, but I am comfortable admitting it.

“People have said to me since ‘I can’t believe you spoke about this, I’m really grateful for it – we always thought you were the cheeky chappy, with a great career, adoration from fans. We thought people like you didn’t suffer from these things!’.”

JJ’s music career began early and has included being a youngster on ITV’s Junior Showtime, singing as “Jinky” Gilmour with Coatbridge’s The Silencers across the world, briefly fronting boyband East 17 then songwriting with the band’s Tony Mortimer.

And back before Bruce Guthro was chosen by Runrig to replace Donnie Munro, JJ’s was one of the voices up for consideration. He has written a musical about George Best which was staged in Belfast and seen by 70,000 people.

JJ's last solo album, Dix, named after '10' in French
JJ's last solo album, Dix, named after '10' in French

Now JJ is touring solo, following on from his last solo album Dix, French for ‘10’. And he is working with former Silencers’ bassist Joe Donnelly on their duo Caezar and the follow-up to their critically-acclaimed debut album last year.

JJ’s Inverness set on Friday will have songs old and new.

“I will almost do it chronologically which I have never done before, like a wee historicial book!” he laughed.

“There will also be brand new songs that haven’t even been recorded yet, so it will be an interesting little set, also with songs people know.

“You want to include the audience and have them singing as much as you are!

“I remember someone once saying to me, ‘You should treat your music as your best friend’ and I wrote that in one of my songbooks.

“And music has been a very good companion to me.

“She can also be a harsh mistress,” JJ said. “But she can be very kind.

“And if you have been given that, whatever it is you have been given – talent or whatever – there’s the luxury of passing that on to other people and saying ‘Do you mind if I sing you a wee song?’.”’

JJ plays Eden Court, Inverness, on Friday, 7.30pm.

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