What is your name?
What is your genre of music?
Soul / Blues
Give us a little bio about you:
Singer-songwriter Jay James burst onto the music scene in the summer of 2012 having written & featured on the song “Fly” by Cinematic. Labelled as a ‘Summer Anthem’ and championed by Radio 1 DJ’s Annie Mac & Trevor Nelson the song was released on Black Butter Records (home to Rudimental, Clean Bandit & Jess Glyne).
His debut single ‘Long may they Roll’ hit the No2 spot in the Radio 1 RnB charts and featured remixes by Naughty boy, Gorgon City’s Matt ‘Rack N Ruin’ and Jake Gosling (Ed Sheeran). The debut Album ‘Play it by Heart’ released on Decca Records, Universal featured written collaborations with the likes of John Legend, ’The Roots’ (James Poyser), super producer Malay (Sam Smith, Frank Ocean) and Soul Legend Booker T. Jones. The foundations of a bright future in Soul music were furthered with a feature on ‘Broken Heart’ alongside friend and mentor, Booker T Jones (Grammy Lifetime Award Achiever) the song taken from the Album ‘Sound The Alarm’ which also featured the likes of Anthony Hamilton, Gary Clarke Jnr and Estelle ended up being the single and ‘Broken Heart’ went on to become Booker’s biggest UK radio hit since ‘Green Onions’ (Booker T & The MG’s) and hit the No1 spot on BBC Radio 2’s A-List and remained in the Top 20 UK Airplay charts for a twelve weeks. Jay became wider and more commercially known following an appearance on the X Factor (Season 11). As Simon Cowell’s self confessed ‘favourite to win’ Jay went on to tour the UK & Ireland but with desires to make music and step away from the hungry lights of a short lived fame, It’s fair to say Jay would admit to feeling and always having felt more at home, creating and songwriting in late night studio sessions or ‘walking the dog’ rather than walking red carpets or attending celebrity parties. Since that moment and during a long break to refocus on a music, Jay discovered a passion for broadcasting, and in reconnecting with his Military roots through Forces Radio, BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) he did just that, once a former Royal Navy Warfare Specialist who had respectfully served 10 years, Jay now co-presents a Music Show 3 times a week to armed forces personnel, their families and forces fans to 27 Countries around the World. From playing music out on air to regularly writing and creating, Jay rediscovered the origin of his place in music, honestly expressing his thoughts and emotions ‘soul music’. After 3 years and further collaborations with some of the Industries finest, Jay caught the ears of RnB Legend, Alexander O’Neal who invited him to join the show as his special guest on The ‘Ressurected Tour’, throughout April 2018.
Alexander O’Neal is thrilled that Jay will be joining the tour, recognizing him as a very current & talented soul singer/ songwriter, whose energy, style and vocals are guaranteed to win over Alex’s audiences out on the road. Whilst Jay equally thrilled will be introducing his fans & a fresh audience to Alexander’s classic and new material on the tour. “It’s gonna be an absolute blast to be out on the road again, it feels like forever
but I’m excited to share & be performing new music finally, not to mention be
touring with such a legend, I’m a huge fan of Alex” Jay James
Tell us more about your music?
I suppose I always try to write and sing from a place of realness, things I have a genuine connection to or with. If it comes from an honest place, that’s when it feels (& probably sounds) best. I’ve always had a connection with soul music, trying to figure out the puzzled emotions and experiences of my head and my heart and translating it into song has always felt like an exciting creative challenge and an outlet, probably why my albums take so long! (I have too much fun & probably a bit too particular lol). In the first instance I reckon the music is for me but when I get to play it out and perform it, I feel like a little kid at christmas with a new toy. Getting to hear how your music impacts other people is the best feeling in the world.
What came next after your time on The Xfactor?
I toured the UK & Ireland, played lots of shows, sung lots of songs and met lots of awesome people. Then I took some time out with family, focussed on my next steps, get a bit of me back, wrote music, decided to get involved in broadcasting. I now present a global radio show on Forces Radio, BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Service) and for the past 15 months I’ve been working and tweeking new music.
When will we see new music?
Will you be releasing a Album this year?
Hopefully later this year.
If so what can we expect from it?
Real, honest & soulful.
Your heading on tour with Alexander O’Neal,how did that come about?
I met Alex about 2 years ago with the idea of writing & producing some music for him. I had the honour of doing a couple of shows with him last year and we had so much fun. Like many people, I adore Alex, love his music and value his experience, he has been a big supporter and a friend, now to be given the opportunity to head out and perform to his fans & spend some great time together is awesome.
What was your first reaction?
Lets go! (Literally I wanted to go now).
Who did you tell first when you received the news?
The boss aka wife.
What are you most looking forward too?
The sweet spot in the middle lol (when you’re nailing it musically). Overall, performing music people have never heard, I think a lot of people have a preconception of someone that’s been on The X Factor, as they should, you still have so much to prove, but it’s awesome when you get the opportunity to become something better than a outdated 3 year version of yourself. I love playing these intimate venues to, you get to meet so many people.
What else can we expect from you?
Some great music and a bit of banter!
Are you a signed Artist?
Who are your influences?
I have lots, ultimately you try and be you, but the likes of Marvin Gaye, Otis, Al Green, Donny Hathaway, to Adele, Amy. Great music will always influence I’d be lying if I didn’t say Alex himself has influence music I’ve made and written.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
I’ll take each year as it comes but it would be great to be
back out in the US writing and touring. I spent a lot of time out there writing and recording Album 1 and it’s a lot of fun.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
I present a music show on the radio. When I’m not doing that I’m being more daughter climbing frame.
Where would your dream venue to play?
Blessed to have played in some awesome places! The El Rey Theatre, Hollywood (with Booker T in front of BILL Withers!), The O2 arena, Wembley arena! Twickenham stadium for Army V Navy Game 83,000 peps! but one place I would love to play is…. The London Palladium (25th April!) wink wink
tickets avail lol!
Would you be up for collaborating with an unsigned artist or band?
Absolutely, as long as the music is good, real and they are passionate about making it.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more into the music?
I have too many favs but ‘I love you more than you’ll ever know’ & ‘A Song for you’ by DONNY Hathaway felt like it changed a lot of things for me.
Where is your dream festival to perform?
What made you go in to music?
Literally speaking a drunken bet and a rugby injury. But after a while the love of creating it, performing it and the challenge to go as far as I could with it.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Booker T. Jones (Booker T & The MG’s) ‘You live and die by the sword) & Bill Withers – ‘keep it real man’
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not just about the industry also just as an artist/band?
In every situation, follow your Instincts, take the best from everyone you meet,
remember it’s the music BUSINESS and sing every chorus like you mean it.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
I have 2! ‘It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice’ (my Grandad) & ‘The actual is limited, the possible immense’ (My PT Qualifying
course moto in the Navy).
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
the band, name of the venue, your lyrics, phone for onstage selfie (tour standard) & I’m also partial to a celebratory can of shandy (Sainsbury brew…. yes I said shandy).
You come off Tour
1/ Where is the first place you go? – Homeward
2/Who is the first person you see? – hopefully wife & daughter but probably calvin (the dog)
3/What is the first thing you eat. – with any luck any luck chicken gravy & chips (meal of champions)
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
I also have an website giving away
free music on the sign up! www.officialjayjames.com