For the past couple of years, the Stornoway folk-pop singer has been marking his card as a supremely gifted acoustic folk-pop songwriter under the guise of Dotjr, recording track after track in his studio and putting them up on his MySpace with prolific regularity.
The beautiful More Than You Know was the first song that drew me in, becoming my third ever Scottish pick in the Music Alliance Pact in December 2008, but there were plenty of other undiscovered gems such as This Is My Life, Forfeit Your Wishes and Your Heart Is An Ocean, while Where Stars Fall Down was even featured in the trailer for What Goes Up, a 2009 movie starring Hilary Duff and Steve Coogan. (It grossed just $5,290 in its opening weekend which explains why you’ve never heard of it.)
More Than You Know
This Is My Life
Forfeit Your Wishes
Your Heart Is An Ocean
Where Stars Fall Down
Despite all that, in November last year Reeves published an online message to his fans and followers in which he boldly announced that he had “decided to change the direction of my music and overall sound”.
He wasn’t kidding.
The two songs which the now-rebranded Dot JR subsequently made public heralded his radical transformation into the sort of super-slick, extravagantly-produced R’n'B sound that daytime Radio 1 can’t get enough of.
The synth/computer-driven Running Around (Moonlight) with its occasionally distorted vocals is destined to be a dancefloor hit and is so cocksure that Reeves can even get away with the lyrics “Cut my hair, I ain’t Samson, don’t lose my strength / So composed even Mozart would be impressed”. Top Of The World, meanwhile, is three minutes of unputdownable pop with an uplifting triumph-over-adversity message that will inevitably be covered and massacred by a future X Factor winner.
Moonlight (Running Around)
Top Of The World
Since then, the doors haven’t stopped opening for Dot JR. Lee O’Hanlon, who previously looked after Dogs Die In Hot Cars, became his manager; he was snapped up by London-based Coda Music Agency, who book tours for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Calvin Harris and Example; he remixed the Tinie Tempah single Wonderman; he was the only artist to make the 2011 ‘ones to watch’ lists of the holy trinity of Vic Galloway, Jim Gellatly and Glasgow PodcART; and he’s currently penning tracks for major label artists with the help of renowned songwriting producers Semothy Jones and The Flash.
Dot JR is a superstar in the making. It’s only a matter of time until the 23-year-old makes good on his potential to be the Scottish Justin Timberlake by ditching the guitar altogether in favour of some choreographed dance moves. Shake it!
Photo by Alun J Williamson