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Punky Jimm hopes to make it big after lifetime of busking in Kent

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A renowned busker could soon be leaving the streets to pursue a career in music.

James Ronayne, known to most as Punky Jimm, is a well-known face in a number of towns and has graced Faversham centre for many years.

But with his new album Chinese Whispers released recently, Jimm, 36, wants to progress and focus on producing more of his own music.

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James Ronanyne, mainly known as Punky Jimm.
James Ronanyne, mainly known as Punky Jimm.

The former Chaucer school pupil who grew up in Faversham and now lives in Aylesham started busking about eight years ago.

He said: “I just loved music and a few of my friends were doing it so I thought why not give it a go.

“The best thing about busking is meeting different people. I’ve met so many people." - Punky Jimm

“I definitely got better over time and it took a lot of practice as I was quite embarrassed to start with and would just stand there with my head down.

“I have always loved music and started playing the guitar when I went to college to study music.

“In 2003, I was hit by a car and broke my femur and that is when I really started playing the guitar because I had so much time on my hands – I couldn’t walk properly or work for about two years.

“The best thing about busking is meeting different people. I’ve met so many people.

“People come to talk to me all the time. Actually, I feel like a bit of a counsellor some times as they often tell me their problems.”

Punky Jimm busking in the town centre.
Punky Jimm busking in the town centre.

Punky Jimm now plays across the county from Margate all the way over to Gravesend and it has become his main source of income. He has been inspired by bands such as Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains but has an eclectic taste when it comes to what he listens to at home – everything from Bob Dylan to classical tunes.

His debut album was heavy metal but James says the songs featuring on his new track are a real mix of genres and something for everyone. He has poured his heart and soul into the album and has taken around six months to perfect it.

He said: “I wasn’t happy with the first album but it still ended up on iTunes. This newer one is different and a lot better quality and I am really pleased with it.

“I have reinvented my music. I have taken the songs, the vocals and the lyrics to another level.

“I write all my own lyrics and this is something I really enjoy. Before I was a singer I would write a lot of poetry which eventually became lyrics to my songs.

“I write about life and my experiences.” Despite being a very familiar face in town centres, James thinks it could be the end of his busking career with more exciting things on the horizon.

He added: “I hope by the end of this year to retire from busking.

“I really want to take my own music forward and I need to promote it as much as possible and that takes a lot of time, which I won’t have if I’m busking.

“I’m upping my game and really looking forward to the future.”

To find out more and listen to some of his songs, visit his Facebook page by clicking here.

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