It’s been a minute since the world was in a frenzy over the string of hits James Bay kept producing. We all knew the British indie singer-songwriter was destined to be a star and we weren’t disappointed. But exactly how much do we actually know about the rocker? Here are some of our favourite James Bay facts.
1. He was born in Hitchin, England on September 4 1990.
Bay’s folk roots hark back to the market town Hitchin which sits north of London. When he was 18, he moved to Brighton to study music at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute.
2. He learnt to play guitar from Eric Clapton’s hit ‘Layla.’
After hearing Clapton shred the guitar on his classic hit ‘Layla,’ Bay was inspired to pick up the guitar himself at only aged 11. He found an old rusty guitar in his house with 5 strings and taught himself the art.
3. He was discovered via a fan.
Bay caught Republic Records’ eye after a fan uploaded a video of one of his gigs to YouTube. Within a week he was accepting a record deal.
4. He’s no stranger to certifications.
His beloved tracks ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Hold Back the River’ are still circulating our playlists, which is why it comes as no surprise that they’ve both earned some serious certifications. ‘Hold Back the River’ and ‘Let It Go’ have gone 2x platinum in NZ, and ‘If You Ever Want To Be In Love’ and ‘Scars’ both hold Gold certifications.
in Australia and earned gold in the US and ‘Let It Go’ grabbed 2x platinum in the US, Australia and the UK.
5. He’s friends with T Swift.
Taylor Swift first approached Bay when he was on tour with Hozier and gushed how big of a fan of him and his songwriting she was. He even joined her on her 2016 Europe 1989 tour. Now that’s a collab we’d want to see!
6. He received one of the most prestigious awards.
In 2015, Bay won the Critic’s Choice Award at The Brits which is highly regarded as being an important achievement. The award almost guarantees stardom and has seen stellar recipients such as Adele, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding.
7. He originally wanted to be a painter.
When Bay was younger his passion was art and he loved Disney cartoons such as Wallace and Gromit. He initially planned to study it and take it further as a career but after he learnt to play guitar that skill took over his life instead.
8. He’s a three-time Grammy nominated artist.
Bay was nominated at the 2016 Grammys for Best Rock Album for his debut Chaos and the Calm, Best New Artist and Best Rock Song for ‘Hold Back the River.’ Although he didn’t win in either of these categories, we can’t help but still be impressed that he gained so many nominations all at once.
9. He’s an advocate for WaterAid.
The London-based non-profit organisation aims to provide people with clean water, safe sanitisation and hygiene education. Bay has helped the organisation by holding exclusive, intimate gigs to fundraise and used his platform to spread more awareness about the issue.
10. He has a new single with Julia Michaels.
‘Peer Pressure’ is the first thing Bay has released since the drop of his second album Electric Light back in May 2018 and it’s definitely better than what we could expect. Blending his usual soulful elements with Michaels’ floaty vocals, the track tells a story of letting your guard down for love. But don’t just take our word for it, have a listen for yourself!