Jamie Cullum - Biography

Jamie CullumJamie Cullum (born August 20, 1979) is an English jazz/pop pianist and singer/songwriter.

Cullum was born in Essex. His mother, Yvonne, is a secretary of Anglo-Burmese origin, whose family settled in Wales after Burma's de-colonization; his father, John Cullum, worked in finance. His paternal grandfather was a British Army officer, while his paternal grandmother, Omi, was a Jewish refugee from Prussia who sang in Berlin nightclubs; Cullum sees her as his "cultural icon". He was raised in Hullavington, Wiltshire.

Cullum released his first album, Jamie Cullum Trio—Heard it All Before, in 1999. A mere 500 copies were made. Original copies have sold for as much as £600 (and above) on eBay. The success of Heard It All Before resulted in Jamie being invited to appear on Geoff Gascoyne's album Songs of the Summer. After graduating from the University of Reading in 2001 (with a 1st), Cullum—who is completely self-taught, bar a few piano lessons as a youngster—released a best-selling album, Pointless Nostalgic, which stirred interest from Michael Parkinson and Melvyn Bragg. Following that, in April 2003 he signed a contract with Universal, for three albums, who beat Sony in a bidding war.

Cullum then started recording his third album, Twentysomething, in the summer of 2003, which was released in October 2003. It went platinum and became the #1 selling studio album by a jazz artist in the United Kingdom.

Cullum's breakout hit in the United States was "All At Sea" closely followed by a reworking of Radiohead's "High and Dry".

Although primarily a jazz musician, Cullum performs in a wide range of styles and is generally regarded as a "crossover" artist with his musical roots firmly based in jazz. Cullum draws his inspiration from many different musicians, from Miles Davis to Tom Waits and many, many more. Cullum has been part of quite a long list of bands, ranging from banging drums in a hip-hop group to playing guitar in rock bands such as Raw Sausage and The Mystery Machine, in his teenage youth.

Together with his elder brother, Ben Cullum, he wrote the music for a West End stage version of When Harry Met Sally.... Cullum names his brother as his biggest musical influence and claims he would not be making music if it wasn't for Ben Cullum.

The British Jazz Awards first recognised Cullum's growing success by awarding him the "Rising Star" award, at the 2003 ceremony in July. At the 2004 Brit Awards, Cullum was nominated in the "British Breakthrough Act" category. He performed live in the ceremony at Earl's Court, a duet with Katie Melua of The Cure's "Love Cats". In the 2005 Brit Awards, Cullum was nominated for two awards: "Best Male Artist" and "Best Live Act". Following that, Cullum was nominated for a prestigious Grammy award in 2005, and went on to win yet another award at the BBC Jazz Awards, this time scooping BBC Radio 2 "Artist Of The Year", as voted for by listeners of Radio 2.

Cullum's third major label album, entitled Catching Tales, was released on the September 26, 2005, in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, and two weeks later in the United States, on October 11.

The American and French versions of Catching Tales do not feature Fascinating Rhythm, unlike the European version which does. The second single released, in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, was "Mind Trick," a catchy funky track written by Jamie and his brother Ben Cullum. The third single released from the album was the self-penned track "Photograph." Cullum has said it was written on New Years Day (2005) after he found a box of photographs that reminded him of how special his youth was, despite the fact it didn't seem it at the time.

A special edition version of Catching Tales is also available in Europe, featuring an exclusive 20 minute documentary, including behind the scenes footage of Jamie recording the album and on the road footage, from across Europe. It also features a 28-page booklet containing exclusive photos, Jamie rarities, extended liner notes plus a track-by-track introduction from the man himself. Catching Tales has also been released on double vinyl, as was the first single, "Get Your Way."

Catching Tales was to feature a collaboration with Pharrell Williams. Cullum and Williams recorded various songs together and it was thought that the track titled 'Wifey' would make an appearance on Catching Tales. Unfortunately, due to publishing laws, it ended up being taken off the album. Usher recorded a version of the song "Wifey", which was released on a special Japanese import. After much paper shuffling Jamie's vocals finally featured on Pharrell Williams's debut solo album, on a track titled "You Can Do It Too". It is such a small part that Jamie is not even credited as a 'featured' artist.

The album Catching Tales was produced by Stewart Levine, who also produced Twentysomething.

Cullum has been touring with the new album, Catching Tales, since the end of October 2005 and will continue to do so until December 2006. Playing gigs in places such as: Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South America, South Africa, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Portugal, as well as returning to America no less than four times this year, to tour extensively across the USA. Cullum has played at many large music festivals, including Glastonbury Festival 2004, Coachella 2005, 2006 South by Southwest, and the 2006 Playboy Jazz Festival.

On the 29th of April 2006 Cullum played his biggest ever crowd on Queensday in The Netherlands. Jamie gave a 45 minute performance for 180,000 people who crowded around the massive stage in Amsterdam, Museum Square. As a tribute to The Netherlands, Cullum wore a shirt from the Dutch Artist Anouk and orange Converse.

Cullum will be taking all of 2007 off to write new music, collaborate with various musicians, make a new album, as well as enjoying some well deserved time off, at home. Jamie has promised UK fans that he will perform some gigs in the summer of 2007.

He also played the part of DJ English Hughie in the computer game, The Movies.

Jamie Cullum is very well known, not only for his outstanding abilities on the piano, but also for his unique entertainment style and charisma. Jamie makes the most of his concerts by adding fun elements such as stomping his foot (and sometimes his rear end) on his piano for certain songs, jumping from the top of the piano onto the ground, and drinking a can of Guinness at nearly every show. At his concerts, Jamie often plays other instruments such as the acoustic guitar and the steel drums. When he plays the drums, he mimics the music played at the Notting hill Carnival in England. One of Jamie's new features at his concerts is the stompbox, which is small block made of wood. The stompbox is used to amplify a musician's tapping foot. Jamie found this in Australia and uses it to enhance upbeat and fast-paced songs such as Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes.

Jamie Cullum Official Website

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