When it comes to the next big thing to hit the music scene, I like to believe that I am marginally clued up and for me there is no better feeling than hearing the unique sounds of a fresh new artist on the cusp of their imminent road to fame, fortune and global success. It was during London Fashion Week last September, huddled around a Mac computer screen, that us Semple girls first heard the infectious soul sound of James Bay. As the likes of Jourdan Dunn and Malaika Firth showcased the Burberry SS15 collection down the now synonymous Kensington Gardens catwalk, our keen fashion eyes were immediately distracted as Bay quite literally stole the show with an acoustic rendition of ‘When We Were On Fire’.
Known to support emerging British talent, Burberry’s Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey, has forever been passionate in his quest to combine music and fashion. So alongside the Burberry Acoustic project, the British fashion power house invites one lucky artist to perform each season. SS15 saw Bailey put his faith in Bay, a small town singer-songwriter who up until this point had only released a handful of EP’s to mediocre success. It was to be a wild risk on Bailey’s behalf that payed off tenfold for the little known long haired guitarist from Hitchin.
Having jumped on the James Bay bandwagon relatively early on after Burberry we were lucky enough to snag tickets to his intimate gig at London’s KOKO for just £15 a head, and after reading some less than kind reviews from The Guardian and The Telegraph we wanted to set the record straight. Live James Bay is quite frankly electrifying, as each and every one of his evocative folk-pop songs came to life at the hands of his acoustic guitar and soulful, earthy tone. From the minute he set foot on stage Bay had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he ran through his power house set of tracks, pausing only to swap guitars or try and put his heartfelt gratitude into words. Bashfully shy, openly honest and with an abundance of talent to boot, Bay set the bar for emerging British talent.
Photography: Gavin Withey for TMRW Magazine
Writing this today it seems incredible to think how far Bay has come in such a short space of time. Now relatively well known by those in the know for his trademark shoulder length locks and forever present fedora hat, Bay has not only sold out shows across the globe but most recently become the recipient of this years Brits Critics Choice Award, an honour previously bestowed on the likes of Sam Smith, Emile Sande and Tom Odell. In just six short months Bay has achieved so much. 2015 is set to be his year and we’re behind him every step of the way.
By Jenna Jones