HE may have started making music as a sideline – but Huddersfield singer James Keen is now a man with a plan.

James, 25, is busy securing support slots with respected musicians in a bid to raise the profile of his Damien Rice-style songs, which he describes as ‘indie folk’.

So far, he has shared a stage with Sheffield band Reverend and The Makers, former X-Factor stars Journey South and has a gig planned for July as a support act for former Seahorses singer Chris Helme and ex-Stone Roses guitarist John Squire.

James said: “It is the next step for me. I started off playing support for local bands around Huddersfield, then I started being the main act. Now I am back to being a support again but this time for more established artists to help boost my profile.”

James originally hails from Middlesbrough, but moved to Huddersfield in 2001 to study theatre and media at the university.

He was making music as a hobby – but during his first year at university he became involved in the Huddersfield gig scene, performing his first set at the Huddersfield Irish Centre.

Since then, he has performed regular mini ‘tours’, taking in venues mainly in Huddersfield and the north east.

He said: “I work at a day job but most of my time outside that is taken up by music now. I’m trying to build things up steadily – quite businesslike I suppose!”

In January last year, James recorded his debut EP, The Cold Room, and he is now working on a follow-up, which should be ready in May.

“I hope it is going to be better. I did dabble with indie pop but moved on to a more folky sound as I matured. I hope the new EP will be a more professional product than my first.”

You can find out more about James by visiting his website at www.myspace.com/jamesedwardkeen.

You can also hear one of his tracks North East Wind – taken from The Cold Room – on our Fresh Music website. Simply visit www.examiner.co.uk and click on the Fresh and Features tab, then Fresh Music and enjoy!