Tuesday, September 21

Jamie Cullum: ‘I channel a lot of emotional intensity into my music’ | Life and Style

Growing in a very provincial village near Swindon in Wiltshire, I struggled to articulate why my family was different. My parents were immigrants. They were taught to be as British as possible, to live a very British life, to observe the British character of their existence. I think they were culturally cauterized. A mix of people came in and out of my home from my father’s Prussian Jewish contingent, who for much of their life in the UK were often too scared to have a German accent or observe their Jewish faith, and the Indian Burmese contingent from my mother, where everyone had darker skin and ate different foods.

I didn’t feel that different. I thought I’d gotten a little tan and everyone’s aunts had brought them lime pickles for Christmas. My parents were dealing with being first-generation immigrants to this country. I had much more cultural freedom than they did, but felt less able to acknowledge my heritage when I was younger.

There was a lot music in the house. Music and culture, high and low, were held in high esteem. We had a piano, guitars, my brother had a drums, they encouraged us to play music. I was certainly not considered some kind of prodigy, although it was noted that I could keep the tone.

Appearing in Parkinson’s it was a great turning point for me. I had made two albums and was slowly beginning to make myself known within the London jazz scene, but I was naive and not very knowledgeable about the media. Michael took a big risk with me. I will always be grateful. It had a great impact on the course of my career.

When i was a kid i wasn’t as demonstrably emotional as I am now. I grew up in a time when men were not encouraged to be vulnerable. When I started playing in bands, I found that I could channel much of that anger, sadness, and emotional intensity not expressed in music. That was my conduit.

When it comes to creating music I don’t think it matters if you’re an idiot or not. It’s certainly not my method, but you can be an idiot as long as you’re really talented.

I love the job I am grateful to be able to do my job. But work is another planet, I’m just going to visit it. My family, my wife and my two children are my absolute center.

My family has lit a sea change in my creativity, particularly being married to someone like Sophie [Dahl]. He is a very curious, wise and authentic person. She made me want to do things that have a greater sense of depth. That said, not everything has to be heavy. For the love of God, I just did a Christmas album …

An honest partnership It makes you really look at yourself, the choices you make, and the ways you experience the world. Curiosity can only be good for making art. It can only add depth to your work.

I feel a little less confident right now because I haven’t acted in a long time. When I think of 2021, I think, God, I’m going to be nervous.

If i didn’t have music I would write novels. Fiction. I would love to write fiction. I am married to a talented novelist, I know how difficult it is. I have three half-baked novels that I tried to write when I was 17 pretentious. They are somewhere in the attic and hopefully they will never be found.

Jamie Cullum’s New Album The Pianoman at Christmas Is Now Available


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