James Bay Is One Voice That You Just Won't Forget
Move over Paolo Nutini, there's a new vocal sensation in town. For those of you who aren't familiar with the name James Bay, we promise after this, you'll definitely not forget the 22-year-old in a hurry.
Hailing from the small town of Hitchin in the UK, Bay is an extremely talented musician, penning incredibly beautiful lyrics for his remarkably distinct, gravelly voice.
We caught up with James ahead of his headlining gig at the Academy 2, Dublin, to chat about how he began songwriting, embarrassing first single purchases, musical influences and of course, how much he loves the Irish crowd.
Bay first picked up a guitar aged 12, and after a few years mastering the instrument he got heavily into songwriting aged 15.
"I was 12 when I started playing, it was a guitar of my Dad's, he wasn't musical at all, my parent's had a great record collection and I guessed I soaked it up a little when I was a kid," he said.
"As soon as I started playing the guitar, I started listening to guitar music, when I was 15 I got pretty deep into song writing."
Throwing "caution to the wind" Bay disclosed that his first musical purchase came at the age of 7 or 8, "it was a cassette, I believe it was 'The Real Slim Shady'." However we haven't got Eminem to thank as his musical inspiration.
"The things that influence and excite me are a lot of soul, rock n' roll, that kind of classic sound. Then songwriters like Bob Dylan, Carole King, and more recently Ray LaMontagne and Ben Howard."
But he likes a bit of everything, adding: "I'm a big fan of The Stones, The Beatles, and Stevie Wonder, it's a pretty broad mix, but it all kind of falls together."
With similarities often drawn between Scottish crooner, Paolo Nutini, or the American singer-songwriter, Ray LaMontagne, Bay remains extremely gracious, calling the comparisons an "honour".
"It's like a honour for people to make that comparisons with incredible artists, and big influences of mine."
Having toured with Irish band, Kodaline, calling them "an incredible bunch of people", Bay notes their Dublin Olympia show as a live "highlight" in his career, however it was his name appearing on a gig poster next to his favourite rock band that is his greatest moment to date.
"I played on a smaller stage but I was lucky enough to be put on the same bill as The Stones in Hyde Park... Just to be related for that brief tiny moment in time, just to be on the same gig poster as one of the most enormous rock n' roll band ever, was pretty exciting."
Returning now to Dublin to headline his own gig at the Academy 2, the young singer is looking forward to performing in front of the Irish crowd.
"It's an incredible feeling to be coming back. The Ireland shows that I did, the response from the crowd, they were incredible."
On the subject of Ireland, we asked Bay if he'd like to collaborate with any of the country's artists, and after going through one or two names, he settled on Wicklow musician, Hozier.
"If I could dream for a moment it would probably be Damien Rice, and obviously Van Morrison. Someone who I briefly met recently and who I would love to collaborate with is Hozier, his voice is incredible, his song writing is incredible. He's my answer."
Bay launched his debut EP back in July, but being the kind and considerate gent that he is, the 22-year-old has given fans a small taste of what to expect off his new album, thanks to his 'Demos' EP.
When asked if he feels there is a track that could "challenge" the remarkable hit, 'Move Along,' Bay reveals, "there's definitely one or two."
If you’re like us, and you can’t wait that long, Bay's 'The Dark Of The Morning EP' can be bought here on iTunes.
We’ll leave you with this acoustic performance of the Bay's hit single, ‘Stealing Cars’. Have you fallen in love with him yet?
You're welcome, ladies. You're welcome.