Interview: Jamie Cullum ‘It was amazing when Clint Eastwood said he was a fan’ –

Musician Jamie Callum tells Metro why he played a gig in front of burlesque dancers, the reason his talent show Must Be The Music got cancelled and how it felt to work with Clint Eastwood.

What’s this talent contest about?

I played at various Pizza Expresses when I first started. It paid my rent for around five years. It’s a talent search to find someone to play at its flagship venue in Dean Street in London.

Aren’t people better off applying for The X Factor?

It’ll probably attract a very different type of person. When I started out, my goals were to play somewhere like Ronnie Scott’s or the Dean Street Pizza Express. People ask: ‘Why would you want to play in a pizza restaurant?’ but they have some of the greatest artists in the world playing there, such as Van Morrison.

Why did your own talent show, Must Be The Music, get cancelled after one series?

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Because not enough people watched it. Maybe it wasn’t cruel enough. The inherent drama in those shows is the human interest element – when you see people with their screws loose getting pushed around by people who should know better. That’s what’s enjoyable about those shows, no matter how much we don’t want to admit it. There wasn’t much of that in Must Be The Music. It was trying to find a different type of act but those shows are so ingrained in our culture if one deviates from the format people say: ‘That’s not how it’s supposed to be.’

What’s the most unusual venue you’ve played at?

A club in St Petersburg. We started playing what I thought was a normal gig and suddenly all these burlesque dancers walked out on stage. I didn’t see that coming.

– www.Metro.couk

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