Jamie Cullum Talks Sing Jazz, Quirks And Why He Doesn’t Have A Set List

The maestro shares musical journeys and "scratching your own itch" before taking to the stage this Saturday

 

Jamie Cullum Sing Jazz 2018 singapore marina bay sands

Jamie Cullum is to perform at Sing Jazz 2018 on Saturday, 7 April

What can we expect at Sing Jazz 2018?

The audiences we’ve had each time have been so fun—hopefully we’ll get that same level of energy and excitement going. We don’t have as set-list so anything can happen! I’m also looking forward to a great meal or two!

  1. How would you describe your evolution as an artist over the years?

I think I’ve tried to focus on musicality and emotion over everything else. I’ve noticed on this latest record I’m making that for the first time the lyrics have been born first over the chords and the melodies. That is new for me – but it squares up with the idea of trying to communicate something over just musical cleverness of some kind. I think as a young man you think a lot about being the best at your instrument and gradually that fades away, and realise its comes down to just trying to say something HUMAN!

  1. How is the 8th album coming along, and what are the stories behind it?

It’s as good as done. I’m incredibly proud of it and it feels like a real step forward for me. I really think my fans will love it and will probably get to know me a little better after listening to it.

  1. It’s been almost 20 years since you released Jamie Cullum Trio—Heard It All Before. How would you sum up your epic musical journey so far?

I’ve always tried to ignore the idea that it’s a business and focused on my own personal obsessions – whether it be music, radio, making a magazine etc. That way you can’t fail because you’re always scratching your own itch.

  1. Some of today’s most famous young talents are self-taught. What is your take on formally-trained vs self-taught (i.e. the YouTube generation)?

I’m self-taught too, but am currently trying to get a bit of the formal training in at the moment. It’s a fascinating journey! I think though it is irrelevant ultimately—if your music is empty it doesn’t matter how you’ve learnt to make it!

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  1. If you had to pick one song you could sing one of your songs again and again for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

There is a song on my new album called “Drink” which is about the best song I have ever written. It feels like one I’ll be singing forever. It works solo or with a full orchestra, intimate or huge. The best songs are usually quite malleable.

  1. Is there anything in particular that you do before a big performance?

I like listening to other people’s music before I go on stage. It’s like a palate cleanser!

What usually goes through your mind on stage?

It’s what I imagine people who meditate feel. Mostly, I’m totally in the moment, no future, no past. Just what is happening there and then. It’s incredibly freeing. When something’s going wrong—voice sore or bad piano playing, I’m dying inside!

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  1. You’ve written originals, performed across the globe, created amazing covers, been on panels, and taken ambassadorships with organisations like St. Regis. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet?

I’d love to score a beautiful kids movie like Coco or Finding Nemo! I think these movies have great opportunities for very musical writing. It would be a challenge for sure, but I’d love it.

  1. How would you describe your style from a fashion perspective?

These days I mainly wear the same thing. Black Chelsea boots, rag and bone jeans and anything by Japanese brand Wacko Maria on top. I’ll keep my gold chain and my lion ring my ’69 submariner and that’s pretty much my uniform!

  1. What are your guilty pleasures?

I don’t believe in them!

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