Nottingham-born Joel Baker possesses a unique ability for intertwining his soulful voice with a variety of genres to create captivating, heart-breaking tracks. His critically-acclaimed Bag Of Dreams Mixtape was enthralling and signalled Joel as one of the country’s most versatile new artists.

HIDDEN HERD caught up with Joel Baker to find out his origins, influences and what to expect from him in the future.

You just released your new track ‘Worry About Me (ft Sneakbo)’, how did the track come about?

“I made the track with Maths Times Joy, a producer I love. We have a shared love for soulful old school hip hop so remade the classic Roots track ‘You Got Me’ and put our own spin on it. It was great getting Sneakbo involved and I love how his verse brings a different spin on it.”

Considering your music often intertwines multiple genres, where do you tend to find your inspiration from?

“I feel I have two types of inspirations which orbit each other. One type is fixed and never changes – the Bob Dylans, Kanye Wests, Jeff Buckley‘s…. soulful lyric storytelling. However, I also listen to lots of new music which I love and take inspiration from. I love the new wave of rap and often try to incorporate trap flows into my melodies. Also, I really love the new wave of Dilla-inspired RnB. I try to add a bit of that. But the core of who I am never changes even if the new inspirations add different flavours.”

You made the transition from working in politics to music, what defining moments lead to that career change?

“Meeting the right people in London. I was surrounded by people making a living off music. I had never experienced that. So for the first time, I knew it was possible. I sent Radio 1 my first EP in parliamentary envelopes which raised a few eyebrows and got me on Radio 1 playlists. That boosted my whole profile and gave me the belief that if I step out and take risks I can do this. One day I just decided to take a risk and quit my job. Not easy and the road since then has been bumpy, but all worth it.”

You’re from Nottingham, home to some of the best independent venues in the country, how do you feel growing up there influenced you?

“Everything about me is shaped by Nottingham. It’s a special place. Special people. I feel like we have this dual vantage point of the UK because we can fit in with the North & the South. Best of both worlds. Being a proper urban city it meant that I grew up listening to rap which has shaped my music. It is also a city which loves live music & particularly live bands. I spent most of my teenage years in some form of band playing guitar, which also shaped my music and how I like everything to be as “real” as possible.

No one takes themselves seriously in Notts either. So I find it easy to take the piss out of myself. That’s a good thing I think.”

Have you got a favourite song to perform live?

Glow. It’s on my next project. Easy to play. Easy to sing. The lyrics are kinda funny and there’s a guitar solo. Dream.”

And finally, what have you got planned for the rest of 2018?

The Dreamers EP. Omeara Show in London. Many many more shows across the UK. Some European dates. Finish the album. Some cool surprises along the way. Hello 2019.”

Tickets for Joel Baker’s headline show at London’s Omeara on the 27th of March are available now at