Jay Kay (born Jason Luís Cheetham; 30 December 1969) is an English singer and songwriter. He is best known as the co-founder and lead vocalist of the acid jazz and funk band Jamiroquai, which was formed in 1992.[1][2][3][4]

Jay Kay
Jay Kay Portrait 2011 (cropped).jpg
Kay in October 2011
Born
Jason Luís Cheetham

(1969-12-30) 30 December 1969 (age 52)
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • producer
Years active1992–present
SpouseMaria Kay
PartnerDenise van Outen (1998–2001)
Children2
Parent
Musical career
Genres
Signature
Jay Kay signature.svg

Early lifeEdit

Jay Kay was born Jason Luís Cheetham[5] in Stretford on 30 December 1969,[6] the son of English cabaret singer Karen Kay[7] and Portuguese guitarist Luís Saraiva.[8] He did not meet his biological father until 2001. Kay's identical twin, David, died a few weeks after the two were born.[9] Kay said in a 2010 interview that his mother raised him largely alone, which gave him "an itinerant childhood", half of which he spent "living in rural Suffolk and rural Devon".[10] According to a 1997 article in the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, he moved to Manchester with his mother and step-father Mervyn Kay as a youngster.[7] He often accompanied his mother at her performances,[11] and later attended Oakham School in Oakham.[12] At the age of 15, he was homeless and turned to small crimes to survive; he returned home after a false arrest and near-death experience, working as a break-dancer and soon pursuing a career in music.[6][13] It was widely reported that he failed an audition to become a singer for the Brand New Heavies prior to forming his own band, though the Brand New Heavies denied the claim.[14]

CareerEdit

JamiroquaiEdit

 
Kay performing with Jamiroquai in 2018

Kay formed Jamiroquai in 1992. Band members included Toby Smith (keyboards), Nick Van Gelder (drums, 1992–1993), Derrick McKenzie (drums 1994–present) and Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo).[13] After the success of Jamiroquai's first single, "When You Gonna Learn", Kay signed a US$1 million record deal with Sony Soho2.[15] The band's first album was Emergency on Planet Earth. The relationship with Sony ended in 2007.[16] The band has sold more than 26 million albums worldwide.[17] Kay is occasionally referred to as 'Jamiroquai' due to the misconception that the band is a solo artist.[18][19]

Kay is well known for his array of elaborate hats and headgear.[20] Professional appearances for concerts, interviews and the like have prompted descriptions of Kay as "the mad hatter" for his love of headgear.[21] In 2005, it was announced that Kay, often referred to as "the cat in the hat", was launching a range of distinctive clothing, including his trademark hats, on his new "Quai" label.[22] The Indian Country Media Network has criticised him for wearing sacred regalia of the First Nations, including the feathered war bonnet (as seen in the music video and CD single artwork for "Corner of the Earth" as well as on the album artwork for 2010's Rock Dust Light Star).[23]

On 9 October 2017, Kay received the BMI President's Award at the BMI London Awards.[24] That same year, he seriously injured his spine.[25] Requiring surgery, it led to Jamiroquai cancelling two shows in Tokyo for their Automaton Tour, which were rescheduled later that year.[26]

TV appearancesEdit

Kay appeared in an episode of the BBC series The Naked Chef with chef Jamie Oliver, and he performed on the series Strictly Come Dancing singing "Canned Heat". He has made many other TV guest appearances as either a singer, interviewee, or both, including on The Word, The Girlie Show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Rove, and many others.[27][28] He appeared four times in the BBC car show Top Gear. In series 1, episode 2, he set a lap time of 1:48.1 for the show's "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" using the Suzuki Liana, holding the fastest lap time for all of the first series and most of the second series.[29] In series 3, episode 4, Kay drove his Lamborghini Miura with Richard Hammond as a passenger. His third appearance was in series 11, episode 6, where his lap time of 1:45.81 using the Chevrolet Lacetti beat the top time held by Simon Cowell by one-tenth of a second;[29] this car's record remained unbeaten throughout the entire series' run despite there being 58 drivers in total for the Chevrolet Lacetti, with AC/DC's Brian Johnson coming in second place for this car with 1:45.85. Kay won Top Gear's "John Sergeant Award" for the best dance after learning that his time on the Top Gear test track was the fastest lap time in 2008. On the 24 May 2004 Kay appeared on Season 5, Episode 9 of Channel 5 series Fifth Gear . He gave the presenters a tour around his property whilst showing off his collection of cars.

Legal issuesEdit

In April 2001, Kay was charged with assaulting a photographer and damaging his camera outside the Attica nightclub in London's West End. Kay pleaded not guilty, and the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.[30]

In May 2002, Kay was questioned by police after an altercation at a premiere party for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, outside the St Martin's Lane Hotel, where it was alleged a photographer kicked his £70,000 Bentley after Kay had attempted to grab him as his car drove off. Kay harangued the photographer and his girlfriend, causing the man to give him a severe headbutt. The pair were separated with blood streaming from Kay's nose. The fight almost resumed inside the hotel, and Kay was photographed in a distressed state. He sported a black eye at his next gig.[31]

In March 2009, Kay's black Ferrari Enzo suffered nearly £10,000 worth of damage during an altercation with hotel chef Aaron Billington at the Brudenell Hotel in Aldeburgh.[32] Billington, who was drunk and motivated by romantic interest in a woman with whom Kay was interacting, lost his job and was jailed for 20 weeks.[33][34]

WealthEdit

 
Kay with his green LaFerrari at the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Kay appeared on the 2004 Sunday Times Rich List in joint 950th place. The 2008 Sunday Times Rich List ranked him at No. 1,794, with £40 million. As of 2021, his personal wealth is estimated to be around £51 million.[citation needed]

By 2013, Kay had owned hundreds of cars—mainly sports cars. The cover of Travelling Without Moving features an adaptation of the "Buffalo Man" logo and the Ferrari crest. Some press coverage has negatively contrasted his strong interest in exotic cars with themes of environmental concern in Jamiroquai's lyrics.[35][36] He responded in an interview, "[People] keep talking to me about cars and environment, and I reckon I do about 3,000 miles a year [...] I don't really drive that much at all any more, because I'm either on tour or doing stuff."[37]

Three of Kay's cars appeared in the video for the song "Cosmic Girl". One of the cars was totalled, and the replacement was involved in an incident that destroyed the windscreen. Kay was not involved in either incident. In 2011, he visited Maranello for an exclusive viewing of the new Ferrari 458 Spider.[38] Amongst his car collection, including what he calls "staff cars", he owned a one-off 1965 Ferrari 330 GT Vignale Shooting Brake.[39] He decided to auction this car off in 2018, selling it to a man in Ohio for $313,000.[40]

The song "Black Devil Car" from the album Dynamite is a tribute to his black Ferrari Enzo. A die-cast 1:18 scale-model series of Kay's black Enzo from Hot Wheels was available for purchase, including a limited batch of cars with hand-signed windscreens.[41]

Kay competed in the Celebrity Challenge race at the 2012 Silverstone Classic, finishing third behind AC/DC vocalist Brian Johnson and actor Kelvin Fletcher.[42]

At the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Kay showcased his signal green LaFerrari, the only one of its colour in the world.[43] He sold the car in 2019.[44]

Personal lifeEdit

Kay began dating actress Denise van Outen in 1998. They were engaged and reportedly on the verge of marriage,[45] but split up in 2001.[46] He and his current wife, Maria, have two daughters named Carla and Tallulah.[47] The track "Carla" from the Automaton album is a tribute to his first daughter.[48] There is also a track called "Talullah" from Jamiroquai's 2005 album Dynamite, although the spelling on the album is different to his daughter's name.[49]

Kay stated in 2010 that he had a "substantial" cocaine habit before quitting his drug use in 2003.[50]

Kay formerly lived in the Ealing area of London,[51][52] where he played some of his first gigs.[53] He now lives in Horsenden, where he has a private studio.

James Royal, often described as Kay's stepfather, is his mother's former manager with whom she had a relationship during Kay's childhood years. Royal has stated that he never married Karen Kay but still regards Kay as his stepson.[54][better source needed]

When asked in a 1996 interview about having conventional religious beliefs, Kay responded, "I follow the religion of the trees and the greenery. I follow the religion of the moon. I believe in what people leave behind in the sense of trails and spirits, the energy which they project. I believe in vibrations, which is what the whole world runs on."[55]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Coker, Cheo Hodari (10 May 1997). "An Englishman with Soul--and Stateside Album Goals". Los Angeles Times.
  2. ^ "Jamiroquai". 21 November 1997.
  3. ^ McLean, Craig (19 October 2010). "Jay Kay interview".
  4. ^ "Interview: Jay Kay - in at the deep end". Independent.co.uk. 21 May 1999.
  5. ^ Schmidt, Veronica (3 March 2009). "Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay's Ferrari Enzo smashed up". The Times. UK. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  6. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (27 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. p. 1985. ISBN 9780857125958.
  7. ^ a b "Star's secret past". This Is Lancashire. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  8. ^ Jeremy Hart (7 September 2003). "Me & my motors: Jay Kay". The Sunday Times. UK. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  9. ^ "Interview: Jamiroquai singer/songwriter Jason Kay". The Scotsman. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Jay Kay interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  11. ^ Moon, Tom (29 May 1997). "Jamiroquai's Sunny Song has a Serious Message: The Group Warns of a High-Tech 'Virtual Insanity.'". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2 April 2021. Retrieved 23 February 2021 – via ProQuest.
  12. ^ "The 'fact' merry-go-round undermining Wikipedia". Channel 4 News. 18 January 2012. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  13. ^ a b "Jamiroquai | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  14. ^ "The Brand New Heavies: The 5 Magazine Interview". 5 Magazine. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  15. ^ Thompson, Dave (2001). Funk. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879306298.
  16. ^ "Jay Kay quits music". Digital Spy. 28 February 2007.
  17. ^ Symester, Chantelle (10 March 2017). "Jamiroquai announce new UK tour and album after seven year hiatus". mirror. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  18. ^ Jamiroquai's Back And He's Got A New Hat - Stereogum. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  19. ^ Jamiroquai: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know - Heavy. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  20. ^ "The evolution of Jamiroquai's hats". OnBlackheath. Archived from the original on 16 January 2020. Retrieved 16 January 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  21. ^ "Mad hatter". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 November 2005.
  22. ^ Ozler, Levent (3 July 2005). "Jamiroquai to Launch Fashion Line". Dexigner. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  23. ^ "13 Rock Stars Who've Worn Native Headdresses (and Probably Shouldn't Have)". Indian Country Media Network. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  24. ^ Jamiroquai's Jay Kay lets slip he's married long-term partner. SNV Channel. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
  25. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R. (30 July 2018). "Jamiroquai Talk Coachella Comeback and What Became of the 'Virtual Insanity' Hat". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 25 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Jamiroquai Announces New Tokyo Concert Date in September". Billboard. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Jay Kay". IMDb. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  28. ^ Jay Kay - On Rove (2002), retrieved 23 September 2021
  29. ^ a b "Lap Times | Top Gear". www.topgear.com. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  30. ^ Joe D'Angelo and Gideon Yago (20 November 2001). "Jamiroquai's Jay Kay Is A-OK After Assault Charges Dropped". MTV News. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
  31. ^ Charles Miranda (14 May 2002). "Jay Kay in premiere party brawl". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  32. ^ "Angry Chef Trashes Rock Star's Ferrari Enzo, Archive.org". 12 February 2019. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011.
  33. ^ "Pastry chef jailed for smashing Jamiroquai singer's Ferrari". Belfasttelegraph.
  34. ^ "England | Suffolk | Jay Kay car attack chef is jailed". BBC News. 16 April 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  35. ^ Larkin, Colin (27 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857125958.
  36. ^ "Stoned Groove: Jamiroquai's Jay Kay". PAPERMAG. 1 November 1997. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  37. ^ Bailey, Fiona (2011). "Jay Kay talks cars and Cole". BBC News. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  38. ^ "Jay Kay Checks Out Ferrari 458 Spider". 13 September 2011.
  39. ^ Top Gear (series 11)
  40. ^ "Jay Kay's one-of-a-kind 1965 Ferrari 330 GT Shooting Brake up for Auction". WHEELS.ca. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  41. ^ "Black Ferrari Enzo, SIGNED Jay Kay (Jamiroquai), Hot Wheels 1:18, boxed, VGC | #277243819". Worthpoint. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  42. ^ "2012 SILVERSTONE CLASSIC: EMMERDALE ACTOR FLETCHER DOMINATES CELEBRITY CHALLENGE". 29 June 2018.
  43. ^ "Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014: Jay Kay's £1m Ferrari". 28 June 2014. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022.
  44. ^ "Jay Kay's Green LaFerrari Is For Sale". 30 April 2019.
  45. ^ "Jay Kay: 'I will marry Denise'". BBC News. 19 November 1999. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
  46. ^ "Cocaine To Blame For Jay Kay Split". Contactmusic.com. 25 March 2003. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  47. ^ "Jay Kay facts: Jamiroquai singer's age, wife, children, cars and net worth revealed". Smooth. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  48. ^ "Jay Kay has been busy being a dad on hiatus". celebretainment.com/. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  49. ^ "Jamiroquai - Dynamite". Discogs. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  50. ^ Craig McLean (19 October 2010). "Jay Kay Interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 October 2010.
  51. ^ "Return Of The Ealing Cowboy". New Musical Express. 18 April 2002. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  52. ^ "An A-Z Of Ealing Rock". The Ealing Club. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  53. ^ Jamiroquai - Carling Homecoming, Broadway Boulevard, London (Ealing), UK. Channel 4. 15 May 2002. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  54. ^ [1]
  55. ^ Poulton, Sonia (1996). Getting personal with JAMIROQUAI's Jay Kay. Muzik. p. 109.

External linksEdit