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James Bay

Tipped for the top by way of a nomination (in February 2015) for a BRIT Award as “Critics’ Choice”, as he edged nearer the release of his debut album, English singer/songwriter/guitarist JAMES BAY was almost spoiled by a music press grooming him to become the next PAOLO NUTINI, ED SHEERAN, BEN HOWARD and HOZIER. A certain bet for his said inaugural set to strike the top spot, while its attendant single `Hold Back The River’ was climbing a similar path, the talented blue-eyed indie soul of JAMES BAY had done the marketing team of Republic Records proud.
Born 4 September 1990 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, James studied at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, before he took off to live his dream. Subsequently supporting JOHN NEWMAN, TOM ODELL, KODALINE among others, he inked a deal with a major imprint in 2013 while his limited-edition 9-inch EP, `The Dark Of The Morning’ (led by pre-album song `Move Together’) was sold in shops. Maintaining this EP/extended-play approach to his download singles (four songs available instead of one), BAY cracked the charts twice with `Let It Go’ and the aforementioned `Hold Back The River’; the latter co-penned with former SNOW PATROL man Iain Archer.
The well-named and introspective CHAOS AND THE CALM (2015) {*7} was an album performed with conviction and heartfelt passion, although a safe measure of blues, soul, folk and rock (produced by Jacquire King) kept the tracks sober and from boiling over into his own intimate identity. Amiable singles aside, his maturity shone through on `Best Fake Smile’ (another like `Craving’, scribed with Archer), `Get Out While You Can’ (penned with ED HARCOURT) and `Need The Sun To Break’ (in tow with ATHLETE’s Joel Pott). A great start to what looks like becoming a glittering career; just keep off the champagne and caviar.
A loosely based concept concerning the rise and fall of a relationship, JAMES BAY’s sophomore set ELECTRIC LIGHT (2018) {*7} was just pipped for the top slot, whilst it was only a step away from a US Top 20 place. Not an “orchestra” in sight, the coolest of characters JB found his niche in the genre-bending grooves of his sentimental soul. Augmented by producers/musicians/co-scribes Jon Green and Paul Epworth, there were numerous dialogue skits to complement nearly each track, though ignoring these unrelenting foibles, songs that won out on the day were `Wild Love’ (a Top 40 hit), `Pink Lemonade’, `Wasted On Each Other’ and `Us’ (the latter track not the worthy duet rendition featuring ALICIA KEYS).
© MC Strong/MCS Mar2015-May2018

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