Britain’s biggest jazz star Jamie Cullum tells Jade Wright how a TV appearance changed his life but he won’t discuss his private life
IT CAN’T be easy being the other half of the delicious Miss Dahl. The model turned author and TV posh totty chef casts a long shadow, and Jamie Cullum isn’t keen when I ask him about his new wife.
“I’m here to talk about my music, not about my personal life,” he says. Point taken.
There’s certainly plenty to talk about. Jamie is the UK’s biggest jazz artist, with five albums under his belt, plus a Grammy nomination, Artist of the Year at the BBC Jazz Awards (as voted for by listeners of Radio 2), Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Award for Best British Male and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song for his composition, Gran Torino.
But, if it wasn’t for an appearance on Parkinson, life could be very different for the scruffy-haired, pint-sized Essex boy.
Back in 2003, having already released two albums, Cullum was struggling to receive mainstream recognition.
Then Parkinson, who was impressed by the singer-pianist, took a chance and invited him on to his TV show.
With Cullum’s jazz-pop style, he quickly wooed the audience – and the industry bosses.
His performance sparked a bidding war to sign the musician, with Cullum eventually plumping for Universal records.
The whirlwind period was the culmination of years of hard work.
Cullum’s passion for music started in childhood when he looked up to his big brother, Ben.
“My brother was a musician and I guess I just copied him,” says Jamie, now 30.