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Jamie T

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Rap / Reggae / Punk - London, GB


 Jamie T is about to enter the nation’s consciousness. With just a couple of critically well-received limited edition singles to his name and a debut album due this Autumn, be prepared to see his name on all the end of year “Best of ” polls.

Combining so many musical influences, Jamie T is wonderfully, justifiably unclassifiable. Coming out of the distinctly musically uncool suburb of Wimbledon, Jamie T has been quietly developing his own unique musical style since finishing his GCSEs, four short years ago.

Jamie T holds his monthly Panic Prevention Disco in Soho’s tiny 12 Bar Club, playing everything from punk, two-tone, northern soul, funk, rap and reggae - bizarrely making perfect sense. His Panic Prevention Mixtapes, available from his website (www.jamie-t.com), segue tracks from Ol’ Dirty Bastard into Noel Coward and Prince into Rancid. Throw in a few tracks from Ian Dury and the Blockheads, The Clash, Kate Bush, Minnie Ripperton and Primal Scream and you begin to get the picture.

It is this approach and an obvious love of good music in its myriad of styles that informs his songwriting. New single Sheila is typical of this. You’re immediately sucked in by a subtle poppy melody and Jamie’s jaunty half-spoken, half-sung lyrics. They initially appear to tell a run of the mill story of a group of young Londoners (including Sheila herself, Stella, Georgina and the brilliantly named Smack Jack the Cracker Man). As you listen more intently, there’s a far darker side to it, chronicling Sheila’s drunken attempts to flee an abusive relationship, lives dealt shit hands, alcoholic fathers and suicide attempts. Whilst Jamie raps along in his cockney patois, a sample of poet John Betjeman plays in the background, at one point humorously exclaiming, “Good heavens you boys, blue-blooded murder of the English tongue.” How many people could get away with that and still keep you humming along?

Covering much the same lyrical territory as Mike Skinner and the Arctic Monkeys, Jamie T shouldn’t be dismissed as just another graduate of the MySpace school of self-promotion, the guy has got genuine talent and stories to tell. When he sings, rather than talks or raps his lyrics, his voice is amongst the most honest and expressive you’re likely to hear, as illustrated by his excellent latest single, Salvador. It’s this honesty and rare song-writing ability that is developing his massive fanbase (if the discussion groups on his website are anything to go by).

Recently completing his first live national tour and with a diary full of Summer festival appearances, his is endearingly unaffected and unphased by the burgeoning buzz surrounding him, despite admitting to suffering from a series of panic attacks last year.

Jamie T is just under the public’s radar at the moment. I don’t know how comfortable he’ll be if he makes it big like The Streets or his friend Lily Alan, but if his album matches the quality of his releases to date, it’s going to be interesting to find out. Mercury Prize 2007 anyone? Canvas Magazin
 

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