I’m a total fan of Jamie – I heard his first commercial release ‘Twenty Something’ back in 2004 and I was hooked. You know those albums that you go “OMG, this artist gets me; these songs were written for me!”? Well this was one of mine. I was in the middle of a quarter life crisis- all alone in a new city and making the heart wrenching decision to move from being a musician to a publicist and wondering if I was doing the right thing. And here comes an album that was full of songs that were similar in style to what I’d be performing – pop songs put into a sexy jazz style and jazz standards given a cool, current treatment. And his originals were brilliant, especially the title track which made me feel that perhaps it was ok not to have all the answers already. I was also completely enamoured with his incredible piano skills – he could make those keys chatter and scream like the very best of my jazz pianist mates and his husky yet totally on pitch voice was one I could listen to all day and each time I’d listen, I’d hear something new.
2005 brought his next album ‘Catching Tales’ To be honest, I didn’t get into it quite as much as the first record but it was still on high rotation in my car for months.
So fast forward a few years to when I began working at a record company and the icing on my delicious and perfect cake was that Jamie Cullum was on my roster of artists. Now I just needed him to release a new album so I could PR the damn musical genius! I had to wait a couple of years but it was worth it. ‘The Pursuit’ is the ideal album for me – a big mix of tracks that fit several different eras of jazz, pop and even house. And, as had I, Jamie had matured. His songs were catchy and clever (I’m All Over It, Mixtape, Wheels), epic and beautiful (Not While I’m Around) and touching yet fun (I Think I Love). Media were impressed, particularly here in Australia. Read what just a few of them had to say here: The Sunday Herald Sun, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Brisbane Times, The Age and Marie Claire.
Best of all was working with when he came to Australia for a promo and concert tour in April, 2010. I’d never seen him perform live so after accompanying him to a few radio interviews where he did some scaled back acoustics of the album’s lead track – ‘I’m All Over It’, he and his hot band performed at The National Theatre in Melbourne. With most of the promo team from the Melbourne office at the gig, I found myself with not so many media to entertain and had the luxury of taking a seat and enjoying the show. Little did I know that he and his whole band troop off stage half was through the show, and march out into the audience, carrying their instruments and Jamie singing sans microphone (yet again showing off how strong his voice is.) Within seconds, the whole theatre was on its feet singing, clapping and dancing along.
Sydney’s Basement gigs were a little busier for me with the ratio of media to promo tipping in the favour of the journos but there was still plenty of time to jump around and sing along. They were some of the best gigs I’ve ever been too and I can’t wait to see him perform live again sometime soon.
And so the question I always get; what’s he like?
Fun, engaging, hardworking, cheeky, passionate and downright lovely.
Ah, to meet a star you admire and not be the slightest disappointed. Gold.