It was 2010 when Junior Turner entered a competition to release a national single for BBC Children in Need. He went on to win the competition out of 110,000 applicants to release a single for “BBC Children in Need”. Shortly after, he shot to national fame when he recorded and released a cover version of the world famous “The Impossible Dream.” In November 2012 he released his eagerly anticipated ‘critically acclaimed’ debut album ‘Under Scrutiny’. In 2013 he followed it up with the release of ‘Better Day’ which has had rave reviews both here in the UK & in the USA, which has recently went No.1 in the official newcomers/unsigned chart in Austin, Texas USA as well as a number of weeks at Number 1 in New Jersey, USA. Junior Turner followed this up with yet another self penned track that shortly after topped the official UK unsigned chart. Junior then went on to change his ways & genre once again to show his versatility by releasing ‘Hurricane’ telling the tale of Karma, which was released September 27th 2013 and went on to top the charts in Scotland and for 3 weeks in New Jersey, USA. In 2014, Junior decided to go back to his strongest asset, his voice, with his first release a power ballad that again could easily be related to with ‘Save me’. Again it rocketed to number 1 in several USA state charts and was about to give Junior the next step he endeavoured. In April 2014 Junior picked up ‘Best Pop Song’ at the indie musician prestigious awards ceremony for ‘the indie music channel’. This was seen and recognised by a lot of fellow professionals and music personnel around the globe as a huge achievement which may just open the next door to the next chapter in the career of Junior Turner. In his career Junior Turner has worked with some of the UK and worlds finest musicians and producers for who he is held in high regard with. His future certainly looks prosperous to say the least, and we got a chance to speak to this highly acclaimed artist in the midst of his hectic schedule and get to know him a bit more and what he is currently working to release!
Entertwine: Could you give us some insight into your musical background?
Junior Turner: My musical background comes from my father who used to be a disc jockey here in the UK. He surrounded me with a vast array of genre’s anything from soft rock to opera to jazz we had it all around us. Also at his shows he would have live singers around him so just seeing the response from audiences gave me an inner adrenaline rush which was something I wanted but for myself not from watching others. So from 13 until now I have tread the stage floors of many music venues both here in the UK and abroad learning my craft and gathering my tools to later use in making my own music in the professional recording world.
ET: Can you tell us how the course of your career (and life, for that matter) changed once you won the BBC’s “Children In Need” single competition and released your cover of ‘The Impossible Dream’?
JT: It was originally seen as a ‘quick flash in the pan’ opportunity. Kind of like buying a ticket for a tour that would last five minutes in a world I wanted to be in then back to normality. But the time we were given in the studio to record the cover song was done quite quickly. So I went on to use the spare time we had to record some demo tracks that I had also written myself. When we were promoting the BBC single I was handing them out trying to get another bite for another song to try and make this journey last a little longer.
My career has changed a lot and so has life as I have now had to work a lot harder to keep myself in this world of recording and releasing music. Also it is a hard world too as there is always critics etc so you have to really be aware of what others are doing, what works, what doesn’t work for others and trying to embrace what works whilst putting your own stamp on it too. I always want to be unique and at the same time current and appealing so every song has to be perfect in terms of me being happy but also playing it to a few trusted friends ad critics for feedback before even thinking of releasing it.
My life has changed a little there is some nice things that I have been able to be part of or places that I have seen that perhaps otherwise I would not have seen. But I do remain grounded in terms of where I come from and my social circle too. You should never burn bridges on the way up as you may need to cross them on the way back down. but overall I am here nearly 5 years on from the BBC release still writing, releasing and people are still buying and supporting me so as long as that continues then I will be around.
ET: What is it like living in the United Kingdom?
JT: I come from a place in the north east of the UK called ‘Newcastle Upon Tyne’ and a small town called ‘Wallsend’ based upon where the romans were building a wall across the UK west to east and it ended here. We have a very proud heritage of shipbuilding in my town too. I am very proud of where I am from and again just like my lifestyle I like to remain grounded and loyal to where I am from. In terms of the UK and music it is very hard to break the mould as a lot of mainstream radio here have playlists formatted for them which are encouraged by major labels and leave no airtime or opportunity for independent artists no matter how good the music is unless there is major backing from a label then it is a no go situation sadly. The only other route is the tv talent shows which you sign your life away too for what seems like 5 minutes of fame given 99% of past winners now are never heard nor seen from.
ET: What can you tell us about the music scene of your hometown?
JT: In Newcastle we have a lot of amazing musical talent both vocally and musically gifted people. In terms of our past history from the area we have ‘Sting’ from the band ‘The Police’. Sadly he has forgotten his roots and never seems to visit these parts anymore and from having read his book seems to have difficulty associating himself with his roots of where he was born and raised. Yet this town was his starting point and something I will never replicate no matter how far I go in this profession. I will always be proud and always remain loyal as without the place I was born and all it has taught me then I wouldn’t have the tools to go through life dealing with all it will put up in front of me.
ET: Who are your biggest musical influences?
JT: Like I said earlier having had my father being a disc jockey in my younger years my ear has been blessed with many genres and many incredible artists with whom today I still seek influence from. But if I was asked to name but a few of them then names such as luther van dross, marvin gaye, ray charles and michael bolton would be first to mind for sure. Yet here in this modern day and age currently I am very accustomed to the sounds of sam smith and ed sheerhan’s latest offering. But again I a very open minded and again I suppose it lends itself to assist in my own music too.
ET: Why do these particular artists/musicians/producers inspire you to create?
JT: Because their music is time tested and still remains today which speaks volumes in itself. If it has longevity then it has something I want in my music to ensure that in years to come people will still want to listen to my music too. In terms of the modern day artists if they are topping the charts or appealing to great numbers and fan bases in genres or with sounds similar to my own music then I want to be influenced to be in the same pool of music as them fishing for the same fan base / achievements giving if their music can do it and I believe my music to be somewhere near as good as then it has t have an appeal surely.
ET: How does your upcoming single ‘Different Worlds’ differ from or expand on your previous releases (especially ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Save Me’)?
JT: ‘Different Worlds’ is my diary of recent events so my attachment to it is still current and ongoing. But that is not to say that I have taken influence from past songs in terms of what works and what does not whether it be a ‘hook melody’ or a rhythm of lyrical structure. ‘Different Worlds’ is the epitome of all I have learnt so far and has 104% of my soul, sweat, blood and tears put into it. A song written in the moment of what it’s lyrics mean so it was harder than perhaps the rest which have been written retrospectively. ‘Hurricane’ was written to test my wits in a different genre being that of country music as many critics kept mentioning one of my strengths to be ‘versatility’ so this was one of those tests. ‘Save me’ on the other hand was me answering critics cries for me to go back to my strength f using my ‘vocal capability’ mixed with my writing ability and drawing on my inner emotions to write a song close to me that would appeal to others. It went on to win ‘best pop song 2014’ in hollywood … test tried and succeeded some may say!!
ET: What led you to release this new song on Halloween?
JT: Lack of thought ha ha, no I am just trying to ensure there is enough time in 2014 to manage a third release given lessons learnt in the past, where I have had contractual obligations with labels and such and have not managed timescales too well which has led to a release not being given enough time to ensure it has been promoted with 100% effort and dedication. So again like in life there is no mistakes they are lessons to learn from and improve your future.
ET: What do the remaining months of 2014 hold in store for Junior Turner?
JT: As in the previous question we have plans to release a christmas single and are currently in talks with different people in the industry to see what can be done in terms of trying to be in the right place come the time that radio and such start to play their christmas songs we want to be in that basket of songs they play.
ET: How do you plan to market your new single once it is released digitally?
JT: From lessons learnt in the past we are going slowly with this one and building it to have the hype and all of the eyes and ears on the song upon release and for the weeks just thereafter so that people will hear interviews and such and be able to lay their hands on the track there and then. so far though the response has been phenomenal and we are early doors with this campaign so here is hoping it continues and grows until and beyond its release!!!