Next Wave #1122: Harvey Jay Dodgson

A songwriter who thrives on relatability...

Harvey Jay Dodgson’s music is a breath of fresh air. It’s early days, but things look promising for the indie riser, who’s just back from Glastonbury Festival where he played a couple of sets. With a hectic schedule, and little time to spare, the Emsworth based songwriter has been busy juggling the release of ‘Alligator’, his second studio EP, live shows and the day job. 

The release of Dodgson’s second EP marks an exciting chapter, one that’s likely to prompt a string of a new releases from the musician, who seems adept at managing the complexity of keeping both feet firmly on the ground with a persuasive drive and ambition. It’s a real skill. 

Melding contemporary sounds, while embracing music’s greats, requires a neat recipe, the songs offer distinct, relatable lyrics with big choruses to match, and tracks such as ‘Marilyn Rose’ and ‘Alligator’ from the EP illustrate it. Vocally, there’s something unique at play, the voice is rooted in soul singing coupled with a current sounding delivery.  

Describing his influences as “a bit of an amalgamation”, he listened to a lot of rap, and he attributes the ability to work with rhyme and rhythm to that. Often there’s no need to look far for musical inspiration and ideas, and in addition to finding artists by means of self-discovery, his mother has been part of the journey. “I listened to Kasabian since I was in a car seat. I remember my mum showing me the first album, so that influenced me quite a lot. Noel Gallagher had a influence in my earlier writing, before I moved into my more angsty teen years listening to musicians like Jamie T.”

Not surprisingly, the raw songs uncover a confident creative mind that knows where it wants to go. Every artist is different, some just won’t know where it’s going to end up, they will have a more random starting position. There is, of course, no right or wrong, but it’s hard not to take notice when you meet an artist that does know. “There are things that I know and want to write about, and that’s why I normally do a lot of things myself. I had a strong vision of how I wanted the EP to sound, and I often get involved with the production side.” 

The DIY element in Dogdson’s music does not take away his ease of collaborations, whether it’s playing live or record in the studio. Initially, his band were made up of session musicians, it’s worked out even better than expected, and they have become a close little unit. “We’re really good mates now. We’ve gigging around doing festivals and been opening acts for others, but we also did our first headline a couple of months ago in Portsmouth, which was great.”

Dodgson’s upward trajectory continues, and there’s enough to be getting on with. Building on, and expanding his fanbase, is key. ‘Marilyn Rose’ did well on TikTok, the number ofs just went up and up. With a healthy attitude to social media, there’s an element of knowing when to play the game a little. “Everyone’s getting out there and spreading the word, it’s benefitted me,” he enthuses. A decision to place QR code stickers linked to his website in various venue spaces gifted him new fans and helped up the numbers. 

While sharing live agent with Liam Gallagher is a decent association, a television sync opportunity showed his music may have wider potential when a deal involving the trac ‘Caroline’ was agreed for Netflix film ‘Purple Hearts’. He agrees, it was an exciting moment. “The film ended up sitting at number one for a while, to think of how many millions and millions of people have watched it, and then these people subconsciously listened to the song is incredible, and I’ve got a lot of Spotify support because of the playlist and the soundtrack.” 

Whether it’s performing to a live audience, getting new music to people or agree a sync deal, it relates to forming a connection, reaching a group of people. “I think it’s important to connect to your audience. I’ve got a couple of songs that are very straight to the point, and that’s relatable to people because they know exactly what it’s about. They can relate to it.”

Harvey Jay Dodgson’s new EP ‘Alligator’ is out now.

Words: Susan Hansen

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