Thursday, 28 April 2011

2010: The Year of Jamie Cullum?

This is a re-post, it was first posted back in September.

The man is in demand! 
After a much needed sabbatical from his usual schedule, but by no means a holiday, 2009 saw a refreshed Jamie Cullum return to the limelight with a new album and a new band.
The year kicked off with lots of promotion worldwide of his latest release ‘The Pursuit’, with stops to include Japan and an extended stay in Australia due to the Icelandic ashcloud!
Time to fit in a mostly sold-out world tour, starting in the US in March. UK/Europe in May/June, back to the US in July, festivals in August including 2 shows at the prestigious Newport Jazz in Rhode Island and Fuji Rock in Japan.
Jamie was invited to be the first guest director of Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2010, where he also played a headline set.
With no signs of his schedule slowing up, Jamie has performed at charity functions as he continues his work as an ambassador for Unicef.
Endless prime-time TV appearances around the globe, including the US Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen. So many newspaper interviews and Jamie’s face graced the covers of magazines. 
Still time to fit in musical projects with other artists including Sander Kleinenberg.
April saw Jamie step into the world of national radio. Previously, he has dabbled with radio presenting but now a weekly slot on the nation’s most listened to radio station BBC Radio 2 has introduced him to a whole new audience. It’s only been six months but he has made the show his own and continues to bring something fresh to the table every week.  It has Jamie stamped all over it, as he shares his own passion for music, the music that he loves and listens to, aswell as his new discoveries, as he takes us on a journey into jazz - past, present and future. A special that he recorded backstage of Newport Jazz Festival and a 2-part special rare interview with Hollywood movie star Clint Eastwood have all helped to increase his credibility, as reviews indicate that he is even winning over the purest of jazz aficinados.
BBC Proms with The Heritage Orchestra was a highlight for Jamie in August. A wild card prom selection, this show was broadcast live on BBC 3 and televised the next day. The new arrangements for orchestra by the brilliant band member Tom Richards were superb and in the revered setting of the Royal Albert Hall in London, this was a wonderful way to end the current leg of the tour.
September sees the launch of a big advertising campaign by Nintendo to promote 25 years of Mario, in which Jamie features prominently. Not only that, Vodafone have adopted his song I’m All Over It for it’s new TV ad. Quite appropriate, as he really is all over the TV right now!
Jamie was selected to be a judge on brand new TV talent show on Sky 1, Must Be The Music along with Sharleen Spiteri and Dizzee Rascal. The auditions began round the UK in June and this Sunday sees the live final as five acts take the stage at Wembley Arena. The show has been a hit and Jamie seems to have enjoyed the process very much. Brother Ben also got involved by composing the theme tune to the show!
In his personal life, Jamie married the beautiful Sophie Dahl and they are now expecting a baby February/March time. In a time when too many in the public eye accept thousands, even millions to appear in glossy magazine photo shoots, very wisely, Jamie jealously guards his private life and shuns the celebrity lifestyle. Sophie has continued to carve her career in writing and also stepped into TV, presenting her first series on the BBC ‘The Delicious Miss Dahl’.
It seems Jamie just goes from strength to strength, making fans everywhere he goes!
Known for always being happy to sign autographs for fans, surely with this launch into the bigtime, Jamie is no longer as accessible? To the contrary, this guy shows no sign of wanting to become aloof and out of touch. He still finds time to personally connect with fans via media such as Twitter and his blog. Often he thanks his extremely loyal fanbase for their constant support. He’s still the guy next door and a genuinely nice one at that.
He has a small but incredibly loyal team around him, who carry out the stirling job of making everything run like clockwork.
By my calculations, there is still a quarter of the year left. That means time to squeeze in another tour. Playing live is what he likes best. Following his headliner show at The British Olympic Ball and a memorial concert at London jazz club Ronnie Scott’s for fellow musician friend, the late Chris Dagley, Jamie sets off again on a 19-date winter trek around Europe, for the second time this year aswell as 2 stops in the UK, notably the Princes Trust Rock Gala in November, where Jamie shares the bill with the likes of Eric Clapton, Brian May and Jools Holland. And a charity fundraiser in Margate. Oh and in between times, he is still continues to write new music and plan for his next record, which he hopes to start putting together early next year.
What’s next career-wise? Maybe a book. More movie soundtracks. Maybe as he is a keen photographer a photography exhibition. Jamie has indicated his interest in these and more.
Clearly, 2010 has been a good year for Jamie Cullum, a great year. This is a man who seems to have it all figured out. Having spent a decade working really hard, he can perhaps now sit back and enjoy life as a new family man for bit. Though somehow, I don’t think sitting back is really an option for this workaholic!
His work ethic thus far indicates that the jazz supremo will be around for a very long time. Once in a while, a generation gets to see a legend in the making. I think we are quite possibly witnessing this with Jamie Cullum.

(First published Sept 2010 here)

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