By Lucy Cartridge
In April 2003, Jamie Cullum signed a £1m contract for three albums with Universal Records, he ended this year being the biggest selling jazz artist of all time. His second album “Twentysomething”, went platinum and became the No. 1 selling studio album by a jazz artist in the United Kingdom.
Jamie’s seventh album Interlude was released in 2014, and this consisted of jazz covers, Jamie accompanied this pure jazz album by playing at several jazz clubs, including Blue Note Jazz Club in New York, and London's Ronnie Scott's.
Take us forward to 7th June 2019, and after what seemed like forever Jamie resurfaced, with a new and inspiring album “Taller”. An album that sounds as though you are listening to a diary, with thought provoking messages hidden along the way.
When I spoke with Jamie, his modest persona and openness was abundant. He told me he didn’t become an artist to become famous, “I keep my private life, private”. We started discussing his new album and how it differs to the ones he has done previously. It’s clear that in his years away writing he has matured emotionally and he thanks his wife, Sophie Dahl, and his two young daughters for that.
He tells me that this album was “unapologetically brought together, with more emotional intelligence than I had before. I’ve realised my emotions and learnt how to externalise them in everyday life. I’ve written words I’ve not said before, and I still get surprised when people actually listen. I was writing a record previous to this one and scrapped it, I just didn’t feel like it needed to be in the universe.”
“This album is like a giant mirror” he told me. This comment resonated with me, perhaps if we all had a way to externalise our emotions without fear of being judged then the world would be a happier more open place.
Jamie is off to tour his new album this year starting on March 11th in York. He tells me how excited he is to be playing on stage with the band of his dreams, performing his most vulnerable album to date. I asked him how it felt leaving behind his young family, “The girls are at school during the week, and I’m one of those artists that are a manager’s worst nightmare, I want to be home as many weekends I can, to maximise family time.”
When Jamie speaks about his wife, you can tell how at peace he is. Even just speaking of her, grounds him and you can tell immediately that they are each other’s biggest fans. He tells me that Sophie inspires him to be a better person and that although like any couple they have been through their fair share of challenges, they are ultimately one unit. By keeping their private lives, including their children, away from the public eye as much as possible, they can all have the best of both worlds. He explains that his two daughters have seen him perform before but that they don’t really know the extent of his fame, nor that fame of his wife Sophie either. Sophie is the granddaughter of author, Roald Dahl, and she herself is a bestselling author and former fashion model.
Jamie continues to present a Jazz Show on Radio 2, and speaks fondly of this. “I love my show, I get to meet and speak to people I wouldn’t have done before.”
I feel that as an artist Jamie as come so far and has further yet to grow, I for one cannot wait to see what this beautiful writer has in store for us in the coming years.
You can catch Jamie Cullum at the Portsmouth Guildhall on 18th April 2021.
For his full tour dates please visit www.jamiecullum.com.
To Get Tickets for https://bit.ly/39Su22e
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