Jamie Cullum was born on August 20th, 1979 in Rochford, United Kingdom. Having weathered a non-stop, whirlwind schedule for the past two years, dynamic British singer, songwriter, and pianist Jamie Cullum could have easily taken some well-earned time off in 2005. The 26-year-old's Verve debut, Twentysomething, was a worldwide smash last year, selling over two million copies (including nearly 400,000 in the States) and garnering a Grammy nomination. But instead of cooling his jets and catching some ZZZs, Jamie kept doing what he loves best: Making music, and recording a new album, Catching Tales.
"I was so ready for it," Cullum recalls of crafting his sophomore set. The only way you get the energy to tour the world and do all the hard work is to love the music you make. I'd had two mad years but I was back at the place I remembered the best, which was just really wanting to do my music." The new album took shape at a brisk pace, reflecting his high levels of enthusiasm and inspiration: Cullum wrote enough material for nearly two albums in four months, then set to recording in Los Angeles and London, between April and June of 2005, with Stewart Levine (who also oversaw Twentysomething) producing.
The fourteen-song set begins with "Get Your Way," a strutting number featuring celebrated hip-hop DJ and producer Dan the Automator (Gorillaz, Handsome Boy Modeling School), which juxtaposes cascading ivories with bursts of brass and a fat, funky backbeat. But this aesthetic team-up isn't as unlikely as it might seem, provided one is familiar with Cullum's eclectic musical background. "I listen to a lot of very percussive music; I used to always drum on my desk at school. I've always listened to a lot of dance music, and I love hip-hop."
Alongside a beautiful cover of the Doves "Catch The Sun" ("They're one of my favorite British bands"), Jamie couples his trademark takes on choice standards ("I Only Have Eyes For You," "I'm Glad There Is You") with many self-penned tracks: The panoramic "London Skies"; "Photograph," a wise and wistful reflection on simple joys remembered. Sly humor once again plays a pivotal role in Cullum's originals, such as on the pointed parody "7 Days To Change Your Life," and "Nothing I Do," which offsets grouchy lyrical sentiments with animated rhythms and gossamer vocal harmonies.
"I wrote more this time, because I had the time, and I had the audience, and I wanted to," shrugs Cullum, reflecting on his increased number of songwriting credits on Catching Tales. "I also play standards, but when I made Twentysomething, not a lot of people were doing that. But it's become a little bit more popular in the last two years, so it immediately has less of an interest to me."