Composer Dan Gillespie Sales says he wanted to tell the story of young Jamie Campbell in “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” because the central protagonist is heroic and not a victim.
Streaming in the film এখন now Amazon Prime Video-Jamie (Max Harwood) is a 16-year-old man who dreams of becoming a drag queen. Sales, who worked on music for West End productions and films, said, “None of these victimized trolls are what we often find in LGBT stories.” Instead, it’s an optimistic and inspiring story of a confident character.
“We put a lot into it,” said Sales Director Jonathan Butrell and his collaboration with Tom McRae who wrote the music and lyrics. “That’s what allowed me to be able to write these songs for him because I was connected to him.”
Sales, who is also a member of the band The Feeling, talks about the music in the film, from Holly Johnson to Hollywood songs from Frankie Goyes, and why he got involved in pop music.
Let’s start with the new song in the film, ‘This Was Me.’ What was the Genesis for this?
This was the moment in the play where we wanted to explore [Jamie’s mentor] Hugo’s backstory. By doing this, it gave Jamie a sense of what the drag could be, more than just the costume and its history. The version we did on stage was something we would never have achieved in a movie, and we wanted a different moment and a new song for it, because we were going to show the audience Hugo’s backstory and a flashback that never worked on stage.
What story did you want to tell with that song?
It’s the story of a counselor who explains to a young queer kid what it was like to joke about the HIV and AIDS epidemic in London in the early 80s and 90s. It was a song about the rules, processions, demonstrations of Section 2 where drag queens were always a part. It was about the police raiding a strange place. We wanted to show that this is a bewildering culture that is part of Hugo’s history. We teach Jamie the elements of drag and it’s more than just a TV show. It was important to bring it into the story.
What about “he’s my son”, where did the idea of having this moment between mother and son come from?
It’s a line from the documentary when Jamie’s mother Margaret says, ‘He’s my son and I love him.’ This is a very common phrase and it is the first song we have written.
We knew we were going to have the experience of having this extraordinary and unusual baby with a mother who dreamed bright and two nights at the same time. This is the complication of fatherhood. The funny thing is that Tom, Jonathan and I all have very strong mothers. I grew up with two women, so I have two mothers. My colleagues also have very strong motherhood in their lives in this regard and I think we knew quite a bit about motherhood. We felt like we knew enough that we could say, “Things like this are what our mothers would say: it speaks so easily about motherhood that we felt it must have a voice.
The film evokes the consciousness of Jamie Campbell, but how did you capture it through the music and his travels?
Each character had his own words. I wanted to explore what each character version of their pop star is. Everyone had his liveliness. Jamie was authentic pop, British pop. The whole part is written in pop language for two reasons. We wrote it for a working audience, ordinary people who listen to that ordinary song on the radio.
I like pop music because it is incredibly sophisticated and it attracts you. There is no obstacle in this. Jonathan could see what I was writing and what I loved was the kind of music that allowed everyone to be a part of it. Hopefully, with Tom’s brilliant singing and a little craft, you can tell the story with it.
How was this journey for you, bringing it from the marginal theater to the stage and the big screen?
The whole thing has become a dream. There have been many, many moments where you say, “Okay, I can’t believe this is happening.” Every part of the play, starting from writing seven years ago, is thrilling.
It was just a real honor to let Holly Johnson sing the song so that you can get that Frankie Hollywood sound to you by telling the story and trying to bring some depth and truth to the subject.
There were many moments. Jamie’s story is the gift that keeps on giving.