Every once in a while you cross paths with someone who breaks the generic pop star stereotype and inspires you in more ways than you thought possible. For me, that person is James McVey most commonly known of as The Vamps guitarist.
Being in a position of power, James is no stranger to using his voice to raise awareness of important causes and issues within the world. Having made many TV and Radio appearances in his time, 2016 was a significant year for the motivational speaker within James to shine from speaking on Sky News to discuss beating bullying to LBC appearances. Speaking out on LBC about social media dangers, bullying and exams is something I (and many others) admire James for, many people including myself go through issues in these areas yet struggle to gain the confidence to speak up. Most recently James appeared on Good Morning Britain, on Safer Internet Day about the dangers of the internet, oversharing and the consequences of words you say to people online. I know for me and many others things we posted five years ago ultimately don’t show how we’d like to be seen now but to stop this from happening again thinking before doing is key.
— ITV News (@itvnews) February 7, 2017
From my own personal experiences hearing someone I look up to has given me the push needed to speak out and seek help after exam and university pressure has built up upon me. I could sit here for a good month and speak about the charities and causes which James supports, furthering my view on him being such a deserving role model but from posting videos about his acne experience to selling t-shirts for Centrepoint homeless charity his support for important causes is a defining part of his caring personality. Animal love is also close to James’ heart as a firm Peta supporter leading a vegetarian lifestyle and encouraging fans to adopt pets rather than purchase from a shop or breeder.
For me however one of the most important causes is his recently work with HeforShe, gender inequality is still a global issue which needs tackling. With expectations of each gender to behave in particular ways that are built into them through socialisation processes during their lives. When I first read James’ piece ‘We Men Must Learn Our Emotions Are Not Our Enemy, And It’s Okay To Not Be Okay’ for Huffington Post I was truly taken aback. It opened my eyes to something I’d never really considered before since then it’s encouraged me to speak more to my male friends about feelings and support them even more than I previously had as I never quite understood how challenging it could be for them. Please, if you only do one thing today read the piece here.
It can be hard as an influential character to refrain from getting involved in political issues but involvement can also be risky as to not inflict views upon other people. Yet James does not let this stop him from speaking up on issues from the Syrian Relief effort to the scary effects Donald Trump and supporters have sadly been able to inflict on America. Sharing his point of view raises awareness of the cause to people within his following who may not fully comprehend the magnitude of these events, as a History student I’ve studied how by spreading the word about issues it can allow change to occur and I’m truly grateful James is using his voice for good.
When watching The Vamps live, there are some key qualities James possesses which deserve a notable mention. If you ever are lucky enough to see the quartet live, take a moment to look at James’ face when he’s performing and you might see the most infectious smile. There’s something undeniably real about James happiness onstage and you’ll struggle not to see it too!
Friendship is a value which The Vamps frequently show, Jonnor (Connor Ball and James McVey’s nickname) being perfect examples of this. I’ll never forget the magic of Move My Way/Risk It All on the Wake Up World Tour, it was magical to witness such a strong, supportive friendship right before our eyes whilst highlighting the individual talents of the duo. Last year I got to see The Vamps in a variety of countries on their Wake Up World Tour despite there being a few hiccups on the way, the smile, happiness and sheer brilliance during Rest Your Love after Brad went ‘I need every one of you to repeat what James McVey sings’ and the focus shifted right onto James’ pitch perfect vocals made the stresses worth it. What a moment.
But it’s not just using his voice, supporting charities and being brilliant live which is what makes James one of our favourites it’s the care he has for those around him. Having been lucky enough to meet James a number of times the love and interest he has in his fans happiness is truly admirable, spending time talking to them at radio events, interacting on Twitter and making their experience with the band even more memorable. Regardless of how tired or freezing cold it is (Radio 1 in November was a new level of cold, see below for a photo from a warmer occasion!) James always makes time for us the fans when he’d probably just rather be in a warm bed!
Something I can really resonate with James (and The Vamps in general) is the fact they never forget where they come from, I’ll never forget seeing The Vamps in Glasgow last year and James saying ‘The South Coast is far away from where we are tonight’ made me realise I too had gone from Bournemouth to Glasgow to see my favourite band. I always think that maybe, just maybe due to their formation in Bournemouth and it being my hometown a truly special connection was going to be formed. A truly home bodied guy you’ll regularly see James posting about being back with his family in Dorset and going out on coastal walks in some beautiful destinations. Being lucky enough to travel to various countries to see The Vamps it’s been a highlight watching how brightly James shines onstage, with his infectious happiness partially why I love watching his band live so often.
The positivity and happiness James spreads is something which should never be overlooked. In a world full of negativity and hatred he’s here to spread some love, support and kindness. James McVey is my Fuzzable Fave and seeing him grow in confidence as a person using his voice for good to change people’s view on the world. We feel truly lucky to be a fan of his band and witness him turning into such an influential character in the music world. We salute you, James. Thank you for just being you.