We gave everyone’s favourite jazz-pop singer-songwriter a call to find out what he’s been up to. Here’s a quick chat we had with Jamie Cullum, right before he hits our shores for the 5th Singapore International Jazz Festival (Sing Jazz), happening this 6 to 8 April.
What was it like growing up?
Freer than I think it is now. I had a lot of time to brood and listen to and learn music. I was lucky, I got a good childhood!
What got you into music and jazz in particular?
It’s in my blood. My family are music and art lovers so I was exposed to it all very young. It was also ingrained in me to experiment and try listening to different things. So when I discovered hip-hop, I delved into the jazz samples within and I was hooked. The sound, the improvisation and the necessary amount of skill to play it were really exciting to me.
Did you ever think about becoming rich and famous?
As a celebrity, do you find yourself having to keep up with a particular image?
Definitely not. I couldn’t identify with the idea of celebrity any less. I love my work and some of the things that come with it, but it is not defined by this aspect.
How much of the real you do you show?
Hopefully a lot, particularly on this new album. But then again, I probably feel like that every time I finish a new album!
Is there one thing you’re often misunderstood for?
I used to feel like I had to endlessly explain that I was a wide musical listener. Not a retro swinger but a 21st Century music geek. Nowadays I just live it and stop explaining. But I think such confidence comes with age.
What are you good at apart from music?
What are your biggest pet peeves?
Bigotry, tribalism and the lack of nuance in today’s conversations.
Do you have a favourite song?
It changes every day but today, it is probably Remember Me from the Coco soundtrack which I have been listening to with my kids. Yesterday it was Mercy Seat by Nick Cave.
What can we expect you to sing at Sing Jazz?
I don’t have a setlist, so anything can happen.