Jools Holland on how rock n’ roll isn’t dead – and what new talent needs to succeed

The music legend speaks out for Rag N' Bone Man and Christine & The Queens

Jools Holland has spoken out in praise of the likes of Christine & The Queens and Rag N’ Bone Man – citing them as proof that good new music will always thrives, despite critics who may say ‘rock n’ roll is dead’.

The composer, band leader and former Squeeze member has just released his new album ‘As You See Me Now’ with José Feliciano. Constantly active, touring and involved with shining a light on new music, he has spoken to NME about the rising talent on his show ‘Later… With Jools Holland’ is proof enough that fresh talent can rise to the top – provided that they have the right attitude.

“People always say there was a ‘golden age’ for music,” Holland told NME. “It was always in the past and it was always something fantastic. Then the great philosophers say ‘Paradise is now’ . You turn on the radio and there are those great people around, you know what I mean, you just need to find them. There is so much good stuff around, there has always has been. It’s not like the sort of ‘golden age’.

“That’s the great thing about music: it’s timeless. And it’s about this great people now, it’s not about the so called ‘golden age’. It’s been going on forever, and there is always something new and great coming up. That’s why it’s important to encourage that, and I’m pleased we’re in a position where we can do that. All we want to do on the show is celebrate the music, so we capture what they’re about, we don’t have any other agenda. It’s not about jeopardy, we just need to have the people doing what they do, expressing themselves”

Speaking of his own particular highlight from recent series’ of the show, Holland said: “When Rag N’ Bone man has came up, he was great and he only did it with piano and voice. It just had a sort of simplicity in the way he delivered it. It’s moving. I mean, there’s always somebody new doing something great. I mean Gregory Porter has got one of those voices too. He sings one of these and it means everything, because it means a lot to him. Another person sings that and it wouldn’t mean anything. So it’s gotta come out of somewhere. What is important is the attitude from which it is coming from. With that show it is great because we were able to feature lots of new people, giving people a change. There are lots of great artists, so it’s great to reintroduce them.”

When asked about recent watershed moments that saw a performance on ‘Later…’ see an artist truly break through to a wider audience, Holland spoke fondly of Christine & The Queens’ appearance.

“She is a really good person to pick actually,” he said. “I’m also fond about European music history. When I was a child I liked listening to Bach, but I do think, it got a bit of a rough ride (European music) in the ’80’s – but there are some great people in Europe and it’s important to give them their space. Christina And The Queens is a great example of somebody like that. We don’t always have to look in a Westerly direction. It’s great to have something coming from off the shelf.”

He added: “That’s a great example because it’s something you wouldn’t think it’s really a latch on. I think it helps the contributory factor…what can help their careers, but it won’t change overnight. They need all the other stuff as well, they need to be on other shows, to do the gigs, it’s a combination of a lot of things. We’re just one cog in the machine.”

As You See Me Now  by Jools Holland with José Feliciano is out now.

Meanwhile, Christine & The Queens is currently at work on her hotly-anticipated second album. Visit here for tickets and information on his upcoming tour dates.

“I just want to be someone who desires,” she told NME about her inspiration for the record. “I think it’s interesting to think about the one female character who desires and is really lusting after them, like a male rockstar could be.

“I want to be that tiny desiring thing – sexual, but then I’m here again to define what it means to be sexual. I’m not there to do what’s been done.”