After rising to fame and fortune with Nine Days in the late 1990s, John Hampson has made a major transition into a low-key family oriented life as a English teacher.
Though Hampson's lifestyle may have changed over the last decade, his passion for music-making has never perished. The Suffolk County native is currently wrapping up his third solo album and has already released its first single, "My Fat Wallet", on iTunes.
"I think the core of my music over the years is still the same," said Hampson, author of Nine Days' breakthrough hit "Absolutely (Story of a Girl)". "My point of view has changed as I've gotten older, though. Everything you do as an artist you filter from your experiences. I've had 12 years since Nine Days and those 12 years come out in my solo music."
When Hampson first began writing "My Fat Wallet", he said it started as a humorous and literal take on oversized wallets everyone carries around, but as the song developed, it progessed into an accurate commentary on today's current economy.
"I always wondered what people could possibly be keeping in the big fat wallets," Hampson explained. "I always resisted them, but I finally said, 'I'm a grown up and I need to carry a wallet', and it amazed me how it had to be full of stuff once I had one."
"Then I started thinking, how ironic that we have these big fat wallets but nobody carries cash anymore," he added. "It went from this humorous idea to a real analogy on the state of the economy. Today, it seems that if you have a credit card, it's probably maxed out. Bills and student loans are killing people. Everyone is in debt. You walk around with this big wallet that looks like wealth but realistically there isn't any."
The "My Fat Wallet" single went live on iTunes and Hampson's website in July in hopes of an introduction to his new album to be realeased in late September.
"I've been working on my record, "No Fairy Tales", for eight months and thought this single would be a great way to introduce myself again," Hampson said. "I have modest hopes for this record. I've been in bands since I was a teen and Nine Days was a life-consuming endeavor. My goal isn't to recapture that. I have a family and career now and one of the reasons I chose that direction was because I didn't want to be touring my whole life."
Hampson said the balance he's created between family-man, teacher and musician is quite pleasing and finds the two careers remarkably similar.
"Whether I'm singing or teaching, I'm in front of an audience and it's my job to hold that audience's attention. I'm reading a room and making decisions on how to address that audience to inspire them. It's different tools with music and teaching, but the goal is the same."