Bluesy English singer/songwriter James Bay crafts moving and evocative folk-pop delivered with a warm, raspy voice. Riding the success of platinum single "Hold Back the River," his 2015 debut Chaos and the Calm was a breakthrough, soaring to number one in the U.K. and landing in the Top 10 across Europe and Australasia. Incorporating fresh flair, he issued sophomore effort Electric Light in 2018.
Hailing from the North Hertfordshire market town of Hitchin, Bay honed his skills regionally, eventually landing high-exposure support slots with Tom Odell, John Newman, and Kodaline before inking a record deal with Republic/Universal in 2012. Bay soon began recording material, and charted the single "When We Were on Fire" in 2013. One year later, he landed a pair of songs in the British Top Ten; first, "Let It Go" peaked at number ten, and by the end of 2014, "Hold Back the River" hit number two (and charted in ten other countries). Bay's first full-length, Chaos and the Calm, appeared in March 2015, in time for him to play a handful of American dates, including showcases at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas. The album hit number one in Great Britain and Ireland, and debuted within the Top 20 in the U.S. During 2016, Bay earned a Brit Award for Best British Male Solo Artist and Grammy nominations for Best New Artist, Best Rock Album, and Best Rock Song for "Hold Back the River."
He returned in 2018 with the emotive single "Wild Love," which landed on his sophomore effort, Electric Light. Showcasing an evolved sound that incorporated polished production and experimental flourish, the album peaked at number two on the U.K. chart. The following year saw Bay issue the single "Peer Pressure," which featured American singer Julia Michaels. The song, along with three others, appeared on that year's Oh My Messy Mind EP. In 2020 Bay returned with the upbeat single "Chew on My Heart." ~ James Christopher Monger