Jay Kay (Jamiroquai)
Best known as the lead singer of the British funk/acid jazz band Jamiroquai, The Grammy Award-winning English musician Jay Kay ( Jason Luís Cheetham) Was born 30 December 1969.Kay formed Jamiroquai with members Toby Smith (keyboards), Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (drums) and Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo) together with guest appearances by Gavin Dodds (guitar), Maurizio Ravelico (percussion) and Johnny Thirkell (horns) amongst others, both on the band’s debut album and on their first tour.After the huge success of Jamiroquai’s first single, When You Gonna Learn, a US$1.9 million, eight album deal was signed with Sony Music Entertainment. The band’s first album was Emergency on Planet Earth.
The band’s third album, Travelling Without Moving, generated international attention with the ground breaking video of Virtual Insanity which earned Jamiroquai four MTV Video Music Awards. their fourth album, Synkronized, did just as well; it was recorded in Kay’s home studio located in the garden of his 500-year-old, 11-bedroom Buckinghamshire mansion. The band name is a mix of “jam session” and “iroquai”, based on the Iroquois, a Native American tribe. The original band was Jay Kay (vocals), Toby Smith (keyboard), Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (drums), Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo) and Alec Moran (pipeau). These are the founding members of Jamiroquai and were involved in the writing and production of the first album. The lineup of the band has changed several times, and the longest serving and now core members of the band are lead singer and songwriter Jason “Jay” Kay, percussionist Sola Akingbola (since 1994), and drummer Derrick McKenzie (since 1994).
Kay was the impetus behind the formation of Jamiroquai, deciding to form the band after an unsuccessful audition to become the singer of the Brand New Heavies. Although he has said that he has attempted to have Jamiroquai treated as a band, Kay has always been at the forefront..Jamiroquai’s first single, “When You Gonna Learn”, was released in 1992 on the Acid Jazz label. Following its success, Kay signed an eight-album record deal with Sony Music Entertainment. The first Sony album, Emergency on Planet Earth was released in 1993. It was followed in 1994 by The Return of the Space Cowboy. The single “Space Cowboy” gained notice on the charts and in club rotation.While Jamiroquai was growing in popularity in the UK, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, they remained relatively unknown to U.S and other international audiences. The band’s American breakthrough came with the third album, Travelling Without Moving in 1996, which yielded two big hits, “Virtual Insanity” and “Cosmic Girl”. The success of “Virtual Insanity” was due in part to its Jonathan Glazer-directed video, which featured Kay’s dance moves and some physics-defying images. At the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, the creative music video for “Virtual Insanity” won four awards; Best Video, Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography, and Breakthrough Video, and the band performed the song at the ceremony.
In 1998, Jamiroquai released “Deeper Underground”, the first single from their fourth studio album, Synkronized, which also appeared in the soundtrack for the 1998 movie Godzilla. The acid jazz flavours and ethnic influences of the first three albums continued with the release of Synkronized, and Jay Kay’s interest in funk and disco music were shifting the band’s directions towards such. By their fifth album, A Funk Odyssey (2001), they had evolved so drastically, that some critics and listeners would remark they lost the ‘Jamiroquai sound’. With the departure of more and more original band members, including Wallis Buchanan and his didgeridoo, Jamiroquai had become a very different band from that of 1992. In spite of the changes, the fifth album’s first single, “Little L”, reached #1 in many charts worldwide becoming their best dance hit.In 2003, Jamiroquai compiled and mixed a DJ mix album for the Late Night Tales series for Azuli Records. The track selection shows some of the band’s soul, funk and disco influences, including tracks from The Pointer Sisters, The Commodores, Johnny “Hammond” Smith and Johnny “Guitar” Watson.
Their sixth album, titled Dynamite was released In 2005 featuring the single, “Feels Just Like It Should” “Seven Days in Sunny June” & “(Don’t) Give Hate A Chance” In November 2006 Jamiroquai released a greatest hits collection,High Times: Singles 1992-2006 . The album featured two new tracks, “Runaway” and “Radio”. “Jamiroquai have had 13 nominations for The Brit Awards, and have yet to win one.In May 2006 Jamiroquai performed during the Laureus Sports Awards inBarcelon. In October 2006, Jamiroquai recorded a live session for Live from Abbey Road at Abbey Road Studios. Their performance was shown alongside those of Damien Rice and the Goo Goo Dolls During February in 2007 Jamiroquai performed the record breaking Gig in the Sky in association with Sony Ericsson.After leaving Sony, the band began to work on their seventh project, and several collaborations and side-projects.
In 2007 the band performed at the World Stage of the Rock in Rio — Madrid festival, being held in Arganda del Rey, Madrid In February 2008, Jamiroquai performed at the Khodynka Arena in Moscow, Russia at the launch of the new Audi A4 car. On 22 June 2008, Jamiroquai performed at the Wianki Festival in Kraków, Poland. On 4 July 2008, the band performed in front of a 75,000-people audience in the Rock in Rio Madrid festival. On 5 April 2009, Jamiroquai performed at the closing concert of Malaysian F1 Grand Prix in Sepang International Circuit Malaysia, and on 9 April Jamiroquai played at the Sentul International Convention Centre in Jakarta, Indonesia.On 24 August 2009, On 24 June 2010, the band played a warm-up gig at Debut London to a small crowd. The new album saw a return to their earlier, less pop-like sound & featured the singles, Blue Skies and White Knuckle Ride .On 9 June 2011, the band released a new track called “Smile” for free download on their Soundcloud site “Smile” has a sound similar to that of the early albums and has been met with high appraisal amongst fans and critics alike. .On 21 April 2012, Jamiroquai released their long anticipated seventh album, Rock Dust Light Star, after a 2-year delay, received its American release in a double vinyl LP/CD bundle A CD Version of Rock Dust Light Star was also given a wider release on 24 April 2012.For the 20th Anniversary of Jamiroquai in 2013, they released ‘reissues’ of their 1st 3 studio album efforts, 1993’s ‘Emergency On Planet Earth’, 1994’s ‘Return Of The Space Cowboy’ & 1996’s ‘Travelling Without Moving’. These ‘reissues’ would feature complete ‘remasterings’ of each album and have a bonus CD with all the ‘B-Side material, live material & rarities’ of each album era of the band.Additional features of these reissues will be the originally reported ‘bonus CD’ with ‘B-side material, Live material & rarities’ from each album’s prospective era, expanded ‘digipack artwork packaging’ and a new 2000 word essay written by Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay with reminisces of the band’s past, present & future .In August 2013, Jamiroquai’s drummer Derrick McKenzie appeared in a YouTube interview with drummer-writer Spike Webb, confirming the band’s intention to start work on the eighth studio album in late 2013
Buffalo Man is the name of the silhouette character featured on most of the covers of Jamiroquai’s releases. It was created by Jay Kay between 1992 and 1993. It is based on the Minotaur from the Greek fable ‘Theseus and the Minotaur’. Jay Kay stated “I really identify with Theseus. In fact, I’d say I am the most similar person to Theseus to come out of Stretford in the past 50 years.”The original Buffalo Man slightly modified since 1997. Buffalo Man was created sometime prior to the release of their 1992 single When You Gonna Learn. Allegedly it was originally sketched by the band’s primary songwriter and front-man Jason Kay, as Buffalo Man is seemingly a self portrait silhouette of Kay wearing a buffalo hat. The mark has been used on almost every commercial (and sometimes non-commercial) release of the band’s output in some form or another; usually the unique symbol is pictured unaltered, but there have been times where it is shown in a stylised manner to suit the artwork or song.