If you’re looking for the next big folk singer, it’s time to hear James Bay. The 23-year old Englishman releases his debut album Chaos and the Calm March 24 (via Republic) and he’s premiering a live performance of his hit single exclusively through Billboard.
Check out the video below as Bay belts “Hold Back the River” in front of CBGB’s original walls:
Bay opened for Hozier last fall in the U.S. and his timeless, soulful folk certainly has what it takes to crossover in his tour mate’s footsteps. He’ll make his SXSW debut this year and then begin a North American tour April 27 in Toronto’s Mod Club.
And that’s not all. We’re also premiering a behind-the-scenes interview with Bay, where he discusses the song’s origins. It was written after Bay’s first headlining show ever, a sold out gig in London.
Bay, who grew up about an hour outside of London, yearned to connect with all those who’d come out to see him, even if he hardly had the time. “In a song i wanted to say, ‘I know I’m not around very often at the moment, but I’m never gone. We can always give each other a call.’ It all came out of that emotion.”
“Let It Go” has so far peaked at No. 15 on Adult Alternative Songs.