Singer James Bay Makes A Splash


Rob McCall '15, Staff Writer

If you haven’t already, do your ears a favor, and turn up some James Bay! Who is this guy? An up-and-coming artist from our favorite island across the pond, England. He can be noted by his tall and lanky body, signature hat, and some of the most soulful vocals we’ve heard in a while.

Bay began his music career, as many do, by being curious. When he was 11 he found an old guitar in a closet at his home, and began to play. At first with ‘teach yourself’ CD-ROMs, then lessons, but eventually teaching himself by ear. He would play in hometown bands with friends, and at the age of 18 he moved to study guitar further, playing as many open mics as he possibly could. During one of these open mic performances he would be recorded and put up on YouTube by a new fan. The next night he played he was approached by his management, and was headed off to London, where his career would eventually get him signed by Republic Records.

Since being signed, Bay has released three EPs, The Dark of the Morning, Let it Go, and Hold Back the River. He has also shared the stage with ZZ Ward, Kodaline, Tom Odell, John Newman and Beth Orton. Bay has been touring, playing on nearly every continent, and all the major festivals and venues. His shows have been selling out and his brand has been getting bigger.

2015 will prove to be Mr. Bay’s biggest year. He was named Critics Choice at the Brit Awards, and in March he released his first full length album The Chaos and the Calm. His album was highly anticipated and showcased his full band sound that rocks a lot harder than his previous EPs. Bay’s album did not fall short as it could be found topping the charts in the UK and Ireland, at the number 3 spot in Australia and Germany, and came in at 15 here in the U.S. Not only was this an amazing start, but in the fall he will be helping Hozier on tour, and eventually joining Taylor Swift on the European leg of her 1989 tour.

As if James Bay’s career couldn’t be skyrocketing fast enough, VH1 has just recently named him as one of their You Oughta Know Artist’s. In the past, this title has also been given to Sam Smith, Lorde,  Sara Bareilles, Adele, and Ed Sheeran, putting Bay with some good company. Don’t believe the hype? Take a listen for yourself!