From time to time, one of our contributors will recommend an artist/band they think deserves  your attention. No record labels, PR companies, bands or band’s management will ever have made these recommendations. It is simply one music fan putting their taste on the line in the hope of sharing good music. The questions are intended to give just a basic introduction to possibly your new favourite artist/band.

So without further ado, let’s crack on with another introduction, in which Silent Radio’s Victoria Turnbull recommends James Holt for your audible delectation.

James Holt

James Holt

Who are ya?

I am James Holt, like the famous Mancunian brewery (no relation).

Where are you from?

Currently blowing kisses from the moors of Bolton

How long have you been doing what you’re doing now?

Been playing music since I was six years old (I play piano, guitar and cello). I’ve been performing regularly on the live circuit for around 2 / 3 years now.

Is being a musician your full time job?

You could say that. I do a lot of freelance work for music services and in particular Brighter Sound, who are based at Band On the Wall in Manchester, where I help teach song writing to young musicians. I also play piano in a restaurant and recently finished my Masters in music composition from Salford University.

Are there any obvious influences in your music?

All of those 60/70’s dreamers are in there: Beatles, bit of Dylan, bit of Bowie, Pink Floyd.

Are there any not so obvious influences in your music?

I love classical and jazz music and the interesting harmonic progressions, which are common in those genres, have manifested somewhat into my songs.

Any musical Guilty Pleasures? Come on you can share, we’re all friends here!

I really enjoy sad/romantic French music from the 50/60’s or cheesy trad. Jazz. Love disco too.

Apart from yourself of course, what other band/artist would you recommend our readers check out?

Upcoming bands (there are lots of friends who I can think of who are smashing it atm, so I can’t name them all, but here’s a few!): The Jade Assembly, Josephine Oniyama, Slow Readers Club, Man & the Echo, Spring King, Vinny Peculiar.

Hidden gems: Mary Margaret O’Hara (“When You Know Why You’re Happy”), Jacques Brel (“Ne Me Quitte Pas”), LOVE (“Alone Again Or”)

Tell us about the defining moment when you thought ‘Fuck, yes I want to be a musician!’

It was when I was 16 writing those early songs in my bedroom, it was then that I fell in love with composing and haven’t stopped writing since.

Does what go on, on tour, stay on tour?


What’s your most favouritist gig (as a gig goer), like, ever?

Maybe not my favouritist gig ever but definitely the most memorable: it was at the Dog and Partridge in Bolton (now, sadly, no longer), I can’t remember the name of the act, but it was a one-man-band dressed in a robot/space-alien costume, with a Frank Sidebottom-esque helmet, and he was playing this tribal/techno-beat music on a drum kit using synths, loop stations, reverbs, and other technical wizardry.

My most favourite gig I’ve ever played is at the Royal Albert Hall – of which there is video evidence:

Who, in your wildest dreams would you like to collaborate with/be produced by?

Brian Eno 😉

(for those who don’t know there is a story behind that, he chose my song ‘Whatever Happened to John?’ as his Curator Choice for the NOISE Festival 2014 – I also met him when he invited me to his John Peel BBC lecture last year, top bloke!)

Best place for people to find out what you are up to?




Anything to declare?

I’ve released a couple of EPs (you can find them on my Soundcloud and Spotify pages) and a charity single for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, which raised over £1000 for the charity! More releases to come in 2017 ..


Co-founder, Producer and Presenter of the weekly Silent Radio show. Part of the Silent family since 2010.Over 10 years experience of working with national, award-winning youth charities and in the creative industries. She’s the former Deputy Director of, Europe’s leading promoter of emerging creative talent. Here she helped secure new creatives secure massive media exposure (BBC R1, 1Xtra…), showcases at mega impressive locations (Downing Street, V&A...) and kudos from the best in the business (Brian Eno, Boiler Room, Peter Saville…).She also flies the flag for women in the media as Director of Manchester’s independent music website Silent Radio and co-Founder, Exec Producer and Presenter of the Silent Radio show on MCR.Live; Further radio includes BBC 5Live, BBC Radio Manchester, plus the odd bit of TV Production Management with international broadcast credits (BBC, ZDF / Arte, Smithsonian…), she also dabbles with playing records to people and her first podcast is currently in pre-production.Bestest gigs: Pulp, Sheffield Arena, ’12 | Micah P Hinson, Sheffield Lantern Theatre, ’12 | Dream Themes, Manchester Star & Garter, ’14 | Patrick Watson, Manchester Gorilla, ’15 | Less Than Jake, Nottingham Rock City, ‘01 | Frightened Rabbit, Manchester Deaf Institute, ’12 | The Decemberists, Manchester Academy, ‘11 | Passion Pit, Manchester Academy 2, ‘09 | Iron and Wine, The Ritz, Manchester, ‘08 | The Verve (with Beck), Wigan Haigh Hall, ‘98 | Take That, Manchester Eastlands Stadium, ‘11 |Worst gig: Fall Out Boy, Manchester Roadhouse ’05 (subject to change)