Out of the mouths of babes, the saying goes.
File this one under one of the gems of youth, because that’s true of James Bay, the 23-year-young singing sensation from Hitchin, Hertfordshire in England, who played endless open mic nights in his native country until a fan-uploaded YouTube video caught the attraction of those who can make a kid big on the music scene.
Before he knew it, Bay was touring everywhere, and in no time at all, he found himself working with esteemed engineer Jacquire King at Blackbird Studio in Nashville, Tenn., cutting his first album.
His is a unique voice, one that attracts word-of-mouth praise. In fact, he’s been talked about so much lately that those not wondering who he is are likely to think he’s been around a long time. And, while Bay can cite influences such as Eric Clapton, the critics and PR machine have gone into overdrive heaping a lot of other associations around him: Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen, James Blake have all been invoked.
His debut album, “Chaos and the Calm,” hit No. 1 on the U.K. charts and went platinum. He’s also released a number of popular singles, from “Let It Go” (most decidedly not the Disney song) to “Hold Back the River”; he even toured with Hozier last year.
His Minneapolis gig was moved from the Varsity to the State Theatre, which is set for 8 p.m. Saturday. Don’t worry, there’s an exchange policy if you bought the earlier tickets.
If you haven’t, you might want to get a jump on it. Bay draws a large crowd, and his intense, personal, almost clear-eyed bluesy style seems to have captured the hearts and minds of a lot of people.
Even if he is still so young.