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Jamie Cullum (born 20 August 1979) is an English pop and jazz-pop singer-songwriter, pianist, guitarist, and drummer.

Personal life

Cullum was born at Rochfordmarker Hospital in Romfordmarker, Essex. He was brought up in Hullavingtonmarker, Wiltshiremarker, and educated at the independent fee-paying Grittleton House Schoolmarker and the sixth form at Sheldon Schoolmarker. He then went on to study English Literature, and minored in Film Studies, at Reading University where he graduated with First Class Honours.

His mother, Yvonne, is a secretary of Anglo-Burmese origin, whose family settled in Walesmarker after Burmamarker's independence; his father, John Cullum, worked in finance. His paternal grandfather was a British Army officer, while his paternal grandmother was a Jewish refugee from Prussia who sang in Berlinmarker nightclubs.

He is currently engaged to British model Sophie Dahl and is due to be married in 2010.

He mentioned in his appearance on BBC2's Something for the Weekend that he is a keen supporter of Swindon Town Football Club, and is "freakishly good at high jump, despite being quite short"

Musical career

Cullum released his first album, Jamie Cullum Trio—Heard it All Before, in 1999, of which 500 copies were made. Due to their rarity, original copies have sold for as much as £600 on eBay.The success of Heard It All Before resulted in Cullum being invited to appear on Geoff Gascoyne's album Songs of the Summer.

After graduating from Reading University, Cullum released a best-selling album, Pointless Nostalgic, which stirred interest from Michael Parkinson and Melvyn Bragg. (Cullum made his first television appearance on Parkinson's BBC chat show in April 2003 and was the last musician to perform on the Michael Parkinson Show 'Final Conversation' recorded on 26 November and broadcast on 16 December 2007.)

Just after Cullum appeared on Parkinson for the first time he signed a £1m contract for three albums with Universal, who beat Sony in a bidding war. Cullum's third album, Twentysomething, released in October 2003, went platinum and became the #1 selling studio album by a jazz artist in the United Kingdom. Cullum ended 2003 as the UK's biggest selling jazz artist of all time.

Although primarily a jazz musician, he performs in a wide range of styles and is generally regarded as a "crossover" artist with his musical roots firmly based in jazz. Cullum draws his inspiration from many different musicians and listens to an eclectic mix of music from Miles Davis to Tom Waits and many more.Cullum has belonged to several bands, ranging from banging drums in a hip hop group to playing guitar in rock bands such as Raw Sausage and The Mystery Machine, in his teenage youth. Cullum names his elder brother, Ben Cullum, as his biggest musical influence, and the two have collaborated extensively.

Cullum is well known not only for his abilities on the piano, but also for his unique entertainment style and charisma. One of the many things that features in Jamie's concerts is the "stompbox" (not to be confused with an effect pedal for guitars), made from a small wooden block. The stompbox is used to amplify a musician's tapping foot. Jamie found this in Australia and uses it to enhance upbeat and fast-paced songs such as Seven Nation Army originally by the White Stripes and "Gold Digger", originally by Kanye West. He is also often found using a looping machine. This plays a heavy part in Cullum's versions of Seven Nation Army and Teardrop by Massive Attack. Cullum is also often found beatboxing at most gigs.

As well as the White Stripes and Kanye West, Cullum has performed work by Massive Attack, Rihanna, Pussycat Dolls, Radiohead, Gnarls Barkley, Elton John, Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Joy Division and many others. He has also recently collaborated with Kylie Minogue, Sugababes, and Burt Bacharach.

Cullum rarely works to a set list and on average his gigs last just over two hours. The gigs are largely improvised, rooted in jazz but not solely consisting of jazz music.

Cullum has played at many large music festivals, including Glastonbury Festival 2004marker, Coachella 2005, 2006 South by Southwest, North Sea Jazz Festival, the Hollywood Bowlmarker (performing with the Count Basie Orchestra) and the 2006 Playboy Jazz Festival.On the April 29, 2006, Cullum played his biggest ever crowd on Queensday in The Netherlandsmarker.

Pointless Nostalgic

This album began life as a self-funded project and eventually got taken on by Candid Records. It is typical of Jamie's current performances featuring a mix of standard, originals and contemporary covers. It was recorded in Spring 2001 at Clown's Pocket Studios, Bexley, by Derek Nash and co-produced by Geoff Gascoyne.

On this album Jamie created covers of old classics with new arrangements of Warren and Burke's "Devil May Care", Thelonious Monk's "Well You Needn't" and Gershwin's "It Ain't Necessarily So".

The album got Jamie a spot on Parkinson and received this review in Jazzwise September 2002: "Cullum's mellifluous tone, clarity of diction, exciting pianism - clearly mark him out as a young artist with immense potential...A perfect showcase.. breathing new life into tried and tested vehicles, there's an infectious devil-may-care swagger about the whole album".


Recorded at London’s Mayfair Studio and released 20 October 2003, Twentysomething contains a mix of jazz standards, contemporary tunes and ballads.

Due to the acoustic nature of the music, producer Levine chose to record and mix Twentysomething entirely on analog tape. Since the album was recorded almost entirely "live" with no need to correct or improve performances, Levine saw no need for the infinite amount of tracks and computerised digital recording.

The album includes jazz standards "What a Difference a Day Made", "Singin' In The Rain", and Cole Porter's "I Get A Kick Out Of You", modern takes on My Fair Lady's "I Could Have Danced All Night", Jeff Buckley’s "Lover, You Should Have Come Over", and Jimi Hendrix’s "Wind Cries Mary", as well as new tracks written by Jamie and brother Ben, including the first single from the album "All At Sea" and the title track "Twentysomething".

Catching Tales

Cullum's third major label album, entitled Catching Tales, was released on September 26, 2005, in the United Kingdom and The Netherlandsmarker, and two weeks later in the United States, on October 11. The American and French versions of Catching Tales do not include the track Fascinating Rhythm, which appears on the European version.

The first single released from the album, in the United Kingdom, was "Get Your Way", a collaboration with Dan The Automator which used a sample from the Thad Jones song "Get Out Of My Life, Woman". The second single released, in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, was "Mind Trick", written by Jamie and his brother, Ben Cullum.The third single from the album was the self-penned track "Photograph", which Cullum said was written on New Years Day (2005) after he found a box of old photographs at his parents house.

A special edition version of Catching Tales was released in Europe, featuring a 20-minute documentary, including behind the scenes footage of Jamie recording the album and on the road footage, from across Europe. Catching Tales has also been released on double vinyl, as was the first single, "Get Your Way". A limited edition version of the "Get Your Way" single was released on red vinyl.

Cullum collaborated with Pharrell. They recorded various songs together and it was thought that the track titled "Wifey" would make an appearance on Catching Tales, but this was prevented by legal and contractual problems.Cullum's vocals finally featured on Pharrell's debut solo album, on a track titled "You Can Do It Too", though Cullum is not credited as a featured artist.

Both Catching Tales and Twentysomething were produced by Stewart Levine.

Cullum toured in support of Catching Tales from the end of October 2005 to December 2006. He played gigs in places such as: Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, South America, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, as well as returning to America no less than four times in one year, to tour extensively across the USA.

The Pursuit

On June 4, 2009, Cullum announced the title of his fourth studio album, The Pursuit. The album, which was released on November 10, 2009, is produced by Greg Wells, and the first single is "I'm All Over It". The album was recorded at a Los Angelesmarker studio, using songs that Cullum originally recorded at his Shepherd's Bushmarker recording studio, Terrified Studios.

Other band members

From 2003 to 2008 Cullum played consistently with Geoff Gascoyne, on bass, and Sebastiaan de Krom, on drums. From 2003 until 2004 the trio was joined by Ben Castle on saxophone, John Hoare on trumpet, Barnaby Dickinson on trombone and Malcolm MacFarlane on guitar.

Sam Wedgwood (guitarist and trumpeter) later joined Cullum, on tour, for a little over a year. At the end of 2005 Cullum was joined by Tom Richards (saxophonist, occasional guitarist and percussion). Soon after that Sam Wedgwood left to pursue his own solo musical career. At the beginning of 2006 Rory Simmons (trumpeter and guitarist) joined the band as a replacement, bringing the total number of band members (including Cullum himself) to five.

In late 2008 Cullum replaced Geoff Gascoyne (bass) and Sebastiaan de Krom (drums) with Chris Hill (bass) and Brad Webb (drums).


The British Jazz Awards first recognised Cullum's growing success by awarding him the "Rising Star" award, at the 2003 ceremony in July.At the 2004 BRIT Awards, Cullum was nominated in the "British Breakthrough Act" category. He performed live in the ceremony at Earl's Courtmarker, a duet with Katie Melua of The Cure's "The Lovecats". In the 2005 BRIT Awards, Cullum was nominated for two awards: "Best Male Artist" and "Best Live Act".In 2005 Cullum was nominated for a Grammy while taking BBC Radio 2 "Artist of the Year" honors at the BBC Jazz Awards (as voted for by listeners of Radio 2).In 2007 Cullum won the Ronnie Scotts Jazz Award for "Best British Male". He was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for his composition, "Gran Torino".


Studio albums

Year Title Peak chart positions
UK IRE NL BEL AUTmarker SWI DENmarker FRAmarker GERmarker FINmarker US
1999 Heard It All Before
  • 1st Studio Album
  • Released: 1999
2002 Pointless Nostalgic 55 14
2003 Twentysomething
  • 3rd Studio Album
  • Released: October 20, 2003
  • Label: Verve Records
3 19 3 14 30 29 37 57 7 83
2005 Catching Tales
  • 4th Studio Album
  • Released: 26 September 2005
  • Label: Verve Records
4 42 3 9 22 14 11 39 30 10 49
2009 The Pursuit
  • 5th Studio Album
  • Released:November 10, 2009
  • Label: UCJ, Candid, Verve
16 11 25 24 7 40 18 11

Compilation Albums


Year Title Peak chart positions Album
2002 "High and Dry" Pointless Nostalgic
2003 "All At Sea" (Promotional Release) Twentysomething
2004 "These Are the Days"/"Frontin'" 12
"Everlasting Love" 20 35
2005 "Get Your Way" 44 25 Catching Tales
"Mind Trick" 32 26
2006 "Photograph"
2009 "I'm All Over It" 55 The Pursuit

Collaborations featured on other albums


  • Live at Blenheim Palace (2004)
  • Twentysomething DVD (2004) - with US DualDisc Edition of Twentysomething
  • Genius A Night For Ray Charles (2004) - Performs "Hallelujah, I Love Her So"
  • Get Your Way - DVD Single (2005)
  • The StratPack Live in Concert (2005) - Performs "Angel"
  • A Tribute to Brian Wilson (2005) - Performs "Sail on Sailor" with Fred Martin & The Levite Camp
  • Telling Tales (2005) - with Catching Tales Special Edition


  4. The pursuit of happiness

External links

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