By Victoria Barker
WHAT British jazz musician Jamie Cullum lacks in height, he makes up for in plain, wide-eyed enthusiasm.
That is especially so when it comes to matters of the heart.
The East London-born singer- songwriter, 30, is in town with his wife – British former plus-size model Sophie Dahl, whom he married in January – for his sold-out performance tonight at the Esplanade.
But, while his relationship with Dahl, and in particular the height difference between the pair (she towers at 1.8m over his 1.6m), may be a talking point, Cullum would rather discuss his craft.
Still, the singer, who broke out in 2003 with best-selling album Twentysomething, and who last played in Singapore in 2006, is not afraid to poke fun at the obvious difference.
“I’m secretly six-feet-one (1.85cm), you just can’t see it because it’s an optical illusion,” he said cheekily in a round-table interview with the Singapore media at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Singapore yesterday.
my paper catches up with the musician – who released his fifth record, The Pursuit, last year – for a chat.
How has married life been?
It’s very wonderful so far. I’m incredibly happy and so is she. It’s just fantastic. She tours with me a lot and she’s here right now. I think people know by now that we’re not the kind of people who are going to sell stories of our love to Hello! magazine.
Will you ever get sick of being called “Sinatra in Sneakers” or “the Jamie Oliver of Jazz”?
Those tags tend to go out of fashion.
In England, now, they just call me Jazz Hobbit (laughs).
But I think it’s extremely healthy to not read about yourself.
It’s fine to do interviews, but it’s best to avoid (reading about yourself) because it can impact you too much. Though I always quite liked the Sinatra reference.
You’re known for being quite the livewire on stage. Can we expect more antics at the show tonight?
That’s pretty much the way it always goes. I get a bit carried away. I’m inspired by the adrenaline rush and the excitement of a live performance.
Tell us about your cover of Rihanna’s Please Don’t Stop The Music.
I don’t write down a list of songs and decide which one to cover. At the end of the day, the song that is stuck in my head like an earworm (will be the one I cover).
If a song’s stuck in my head, it probably means it’s a good idea to do it.
What inspires you to start work on each album you make?
I don’t really think in terms of albums. I try to get into a state where I’m constantly creating.
An album will be sculpted after that.
Jamie Cullum plays tonight at the Esplanade Concert Hall at 7.30pm. Tickets are sold out.