You thought James Bay was gonna keep making acoustic coffee shop jams? Get to know him a little better.
After scoring several hit singles and a trio of Grammy noms behind his 2015 debut The Chaos and the Calm, the English singer-songwriter shimmied toward sparkly, amped-up rock ‘n’ roll on last month’s Electric Light. He cut his hair, ditched his familiar hat and wrote cool-kid jams that’d delight superfans of The 1975.
“That’s what being an artist is being all about,” Bay says on this week’s #AlternativeFacts podcast. “I found doing a second Chaos and the Calm boring.”
The 27-year-old Brit chats with the big picture insight of a seasoned music journalist, relishing in describing his creative arcs (Maroon 5 from Songs About Jane to It Won’t Be Soon Before Long, Michael Jackson in the ’80s, David Bowie eternally) and how these long-term ambitions lead to legend status and iconic performances.
“For at least five minutes of every performance I’ve done, I’ve treated it like Wembley Stadium,” he says, thinking back to his days playing pubs to a handful of patrons.
Listen to the podcast below for a look inside the mind of one of the most promising singer-songwriters to hit the pop charts in the 2010s. Other discussion topics include opening Taylor Swift’s 1989 Tour, what it’s like to hang backstage as an SNL musical guest, and how a mystery man with a video camera at one of those pub shows led to him getting signed to Republic Records.
#AlternativeFacts is a weekly Billboard podcast devoted to all things alternative music. Click here to subscribe to the #AlternativeFacts Podcast on iTunes. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@cpayneonaplane) and by rating the podcast on iTunes.