James Bay Keeps Things Human


As today’s next big thing, 23-year-old British singer-songwriter James Bay is taking performing to the next level. I’m trying to make songs that make people feel something and, if I’m lucky, even move them,” Bay explains on his website.

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Photo Credit: James Bay. Images Courtesy of Republic Records.

James Bay is said to sing songs that are reminiscent of artists such as Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen and James Blake, because his music is intensely personal. “I’m trying to keep things human and emotional,” he says on his website. “It’s hard to know what the balance is, but you know it when you hear it. It’s such a personal process that it’s hard to share stuff sometimes.”

Bay started loving guitars in his early adolescent years when he noticed his dad’s old guitar. The hobby swiftly turned into an obsession, with the neighbors constantly asking him to turn down his amp. “I was cranking it up!” he remembers. “I was trying to make the windows shake!” One evening would prove particularly life changing.

While performing a solo show in a Kentish Town pub a patron was so impressed by Bay’s set that he took a video and uploaded it to YouTube where a couple of weeks later it caught the attention of a Republic Records A&R executive, who was blown away by what he saw. “That kicked everything off,” he exclaims.

Almost one year after Bay began work on his debut album, the final product is almost on the shelves. Recorded in Nashville’s prestigious Blackbird Studios with Kings of Leon’s long term collaborator and Tom Waits engineer Jacquire King, whom Bay found after flipping over a Kings of Leon CD and finding his name, “He was at the top of the list,” says Bay. This year James Bay will be at Scotland’s “T in the Park,” a show opening up for Stevie Wonder at London’s Clapham Common, as well as opening for Hozier on tour in the U.S. this fall.

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This article was written by Jane Bokun

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