James Bay, British singer and songwriter, celebrated the release of his debut album “Chaos and the Calm” and three Grammy Award nominations with an intimate concert at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, Jan. 15.
The eight row theater held an interview with Bay hosted by Scott Goldman, vice president of the Grammy Foundation. Following the interview, Bay played an acoustic set from his pocket, that he had written down on a napkin.
Bay recalled the day that he first heard about his Grammy nominations — including one for Best New Artist. He was in the car when he discovered the information from a blog and was in disbelief. Bay, now 25, began his musical career in his basement at 14 years old, playing his electric guitar to inspirations like Kings of Leon and Bruce Springsteen.
“It was a big deal for me to be recognized as a rock artist and writer and get nominated in that category,” Bay said.
Bay’s album “Chaos and the Calm” was named for the internal chaos that he experienced early in his career. He said he never expected the external chaos that would follow the release of his record.
“I thought I knew chaos, but then all of this started to go quite well,” Bay said. “The chaos I’m referring to is a good version of it.”
Chris Fernandes, freshman biomedical engineering major, said he enjoys the relatability Bay’s songs provide.
“His lyrics about life, emotion and love is what makes him stand out from other artists,” Fernandes said. “He relates his lyrics to everyone.”
Janelle Nichols, freshman Christian behavioral science major, said she enjoys the raw emotion his songs show.
“A friend of mine showed me his song ‘Let it Go’ and I just melted,” Nichols said. “Even though it is a sad song, it is still so beautiful.”
When Bay writes music, the instrumental aspect of it always comes before lyrics. He said he must discover what the music is telling him and the message that the lyrics will convey. His first single “Hold Back The River” was written about his frustration when he began touring. He was unable to visit his friends and family as he wished when he was on the road.
“I just want to pause all this craziness, hold it back and be with these people and see them,” Bay said. “That is the metaphor, ‘Hold back the river, let me look in your eyes.’”
Bay will continue his tour in Australia and Europe as he waits to hear the decision of the Grammy Awards, Feb. 15.