A few years ago, had someone mentioned to me the words 'Independent singer-songwriter', I would've instantly thought of some twenty-something guy in his bedroom with a tape recorder singing covers of Celine Dion and living off Pot Noodle. Until, that was, I accidentally stumbled upon one such musician.
Scrolling through YouTube videos in mid April 2011, I came across a video - a cover of The Killers' Mr Brightside - by RJ Thompson, who I soon discovered was - of course - an independent singer-songwriter from Newcastle. To begin with, my 14 year old self couldn't quite work out what to think of this sudden musical transition. Over the year, I'd moved from the cheesy-pop of One Direction to the smooth crooning Jamie Cullum, and had even verged into indie-rock influences such as Panic! At the Disco and The Wombats, but never had I imagined the effect that this up-and-coming genre of music would have on both my - and so many other people's - views on the music industry.
Having released two albums and three EP's over the last ten years, with a new album on the way in the next few months, RJ is clearly somewhat of a veteran to the music scene. Though some would say that he's never quite got his break, he seems pretty content with what he's achieved, holding a relatively small yet dedicated fan base, receiving airtime on many BBC Radio stations, and gaining success through his YouTube channel, where he presents both popular covers and original material.
The main aspect of appeal - in my eyes - is that RJ Thompson is a down-to-earth musician. Though he's toured with artists that have achieved wonders - such as Gabrielle Aplin, Joe Brooks, Sandi Thom, The Proclaimers... - he's still the kind of guy that you could chat with if you bumped into him in the freezer aisle in Tesco (so to speak).
This kind-hearted nature mixed with his clear love for music makes him one to watch.