By David Block
EJ Simpson, based in the Philadelphia area, grew up playing music and writing songs.
Simpson, 48, said that music has always been his passion. Entertaining Options recently interviewed him about his career.
Entertaining Options: What compelled you to write songs?
EJ: I don’t know. I learned a few chords. I thought that’s what you do, write songs. A lot of famous people wrote songs, so did my brother (Geoffrey Simpson). The people in my family were musicians. I’m not sure why. I wrote poems, I learned three chords and then banged out songs.
EO: What did you do to find music artists to perform with and what were some of your toughest challenges in doing that?
EJ: When you’re 12, when you’re 15, you meet other friends and other people and you just start playing together. You don’t even think about finding them. They’re just kids in your school and your neighborhood.
EO: I’m asking about professionally, after high school.
EJ: I just found groups.
EO: Talk about your first album.
EJ: I was coming out of a group. My friend Adrian Harpham, he was a producer and drummer, said, “I’ll help you make your first album.” So my first album, Heart like a Tiny Jewel, (2009) was mostly all me. My second album, is Got a Circle to Circle, (2016).
EO: On your first album, your tune “Heart Still was catchy.” What messages were you conveying when you wrote that song?
EJ: Well my first album was pretty much a cathartic break-up album. “Heart Still” was me still feeling emotion for the woman I’m no longer with.
EO: Tell me about your tune “Another Sad Love Song” (from your first album).
EJ: That one came to me really quick. I was feeling a little better about my girlfriend leaving and my heart stopped hurting.
EO: How successful were the sales of your first album?
EJ: They were fairly successful. I’d sell some at gigs, but I never charted in Billboard. But at the independent level, that album was out there considerably.
EO: In your second album, I personally liked “Curveball” and “Fall Down Up.” What messages were you trying to convey when you wrote those songs?
EJ: Well, I guess I’m a sap because those were breakup songs about (raising his voice) ANOTHER WOMAN! For “Curveball,” I was in a relationship and I was wondering how I felt about the woman. It was like, “Wow, what am I going to do about these cool feelings for this woman?” “Fall Down Up” was about contemplating the mixed up feelings about a break up. Up is down, down is up. I’m heartbroken; I’m confused. I decided to write a snappy song about it.
EO: Which of your songs has played on the radio?
EJ: “Morning, Mourning” has, “Rectangle” has. “Another Sad Love Song” has.
EO: Which stations?
EJ: WXPN (in Philadelphia) has a local show, WMMR has a local show, and some college radio stations will take chances on independent releases. Little stations like that all over the country played some of my songs and songs from my band.
EO: What do you need to do to get even more people to know about you and your music?
EJ: I’ve done advertising. I hired radio promoters, also word of mouth. There’s my website, ejsimpsonmusic.com. I’m doing things that an independent artist does to get his stuff seen and heard.
EO: What have been your toughest challenges as a music artist?
EJ: The first one was know how to play your instrument. When you’re a mature artist, the challenge is to be able to connect with people on an emotional level. It’s a good song if the audience reacts to it, they may like it for the melody, like it for the feel, and like it for the lyrics. That’s the challenge for an artist and for songwriting.
EO: What advice do you have for people who want to write songs and break into the music industry, but lack the confidence and who have no contacts?
EJ: Well, first write your songs if you’re so moved to do that. There are some artists who do it to make themselves feel better. They’re not looking for public responses. If you feel passionate about your song and want to take it into the community, then do it wholeheartedly.
To learn more about E.J. Simpson, go to ejsimpsonmusic.com.