Sure, you’ve heard Bay’s hits, Let It Go and Hold Back the River – but did you know these ten things about him?
1. James’ musical career began with Eric Clapton’s Layla.
An 11-year-old Bay was so inspired when he heard the rocker’s hit single, that he went and dusted off a guitar that he found under the stairs in his family’s home.
2. He would love to collaborate with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, maybe even on his new album.
“I’m definitely a fan of Ryan’s in all respects, as a writer, him as an artist and a performer, I’m a fan. I’m by no means against [a collaboration],” he told Mix’s Gregg Daniels earlier this year.
3. Bay’s single, Hold Back The River was born purely out of emotion, and a longing to be with friends and family after a grueling tour got in the way.
“Most of my songs start musically—melody, guitar part, chords, whatever—but that one didn’t,” Bay said in an interview with Radio.com. “It started with quite an overwhelming feeling.”
4. Before becoming famous, searching “James Bay” in Google would bring up a Canadian body of water as one of the top search results.
James Bay the geographic feature is a massive body of water that sits between the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, approximately 800 miles northwest of Boston.
5. James is a self-taught guitarist. Lessons just didn’t work for him.
“The first thing I tried was a CD Rom ‘how to play the guitar’ and, oh my God, was it boring,” he told the BBC. “Then I tried lessons, but I didn’t have the patience to sit in a class and wait my turn to play one chord.
6. Let It Go was James Bay’s first song to make it on the Billboard chart, peaking at #16.
7. He hails from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, a town of a little over 30,000 about 40 miles north of London, England.
8. In 2013, James was one of the acts that opened for The Rolling Stones in Hyde Park.
“I almost fell off my stool when I was told,” says Bay, who was on his first trip to Los Angeles when he heard the news.
9. YouTube launched James’ career, when a pub performance of his was posted to the video site, and was seen by a record label executive in New York shortly after.
“The label flew me over to New York a week later, and I met everybody and ended up signing with them on the spot. It was like they were in that tiny club with me even though they were thousands of miles away.”
10. You very rarely see James without his trademark wide-brimmed hat.
“There’s an Australian brand called Akubra that I like — Gigi at hatWRKS in Nashville stocks them every time I come through,” he told Billboard in an interview.
James Bay joins Meghan Trainor and Lindsey Stirling at Mix 104.1’s Not So Silent Night on Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 at the House of Blues in Boston. The only way to get tickets is to win them through Mix 104.1 and mix1041.com.