The ability to do several things at the same time and also be the best at them is a great gift and several celebrities and artists have been able to fit into several shoes at the same time without any side suffering. U.K pop singer James Blake is one of such talented/gifted celebrities; asides being a pop singer, he is a songwriter and record producer.
Blake gained prominence back in 2010 after releasing a couple of EPs which became major hits both in the U.S and U.K. Following the successes of these EPs which included Klavierwerke and CMYK, he dropped his debut album (self-titled), the next year and it was also a huge success.
He has released several other Eps, singles and three additional albums with the lastest, which is his fourth, dropping in January 2019. In 2014, James Blake earned a Grammy Awards nomination for Best New Artist and in 2018, he performed in Black Panther: The Album and on the soundtrack album, “Bloody Waters”, which he co-wrote with Kendrick Lamar, Herbert Anthony Stevens IV, Robin Braun, and Mark Spears.
James Blake’s Biography
The singer was born on 26th September 1988, in London with the birth name James Blake Litherland. For his primary education, he attended Grange Park Primary School, Winchmore Hill, after which he attended The Latymer School, Edmonton, and Goldsmiths, University of London, where he bagged a degree in Popular Music.
His Discography And Career Achievements
While at Goldsmiths, James Blake, alongside some friends, hosted music nights known as Bass Society and invited some UK artists which include Benga, Skream and Distance.
James Blake kicked off his musical career in 2009, recording songs in his bedroom. In July of the same year, he released his debut in the U.K – a 12″ record, titled Air & Lack Thereof under the imprint record label, Hemlock. The record soon became DJ Gilles Peterson of BBC Radio 1’s favourite and he invited Blake to do a special mix on his international show.
For his second-year composition assignment, James submitted the Klavierwerke EP for which he received high marks. He soon released a third EP titled CMYK under R&S Records. The track was not only picked by DJ Nick Grimshaw of BBC Radio 1 as the record of the week but also became the favourite of other DJs who played it on the airwaves. In September 2010, Blake’s cover version of Limit to Your Love was picked by Zane Lowe as his “Hottest Record in the World”.
He was nominated for the BBC’s Sound of 2011 and he came second. Following the successes of the EPs, in 2011, he dropped his eleven-track debut self-titled album. Later that year, the BBC released an exclusive mix by James Blake, which included ten of his yet to be unreleased tracks.
In 2012, Blake spent a lot of time with U.S rapper Kanye West who described him as his favourite artist. He also spent a lot of time with Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and after months of speculations, he announced a new collaborative non-single release under the moniker Harmonimix and by April of the same year, he dropped his second album Overgrown. The album was released under ATLAS, A&M and Polydor Records and featured guest appearances from notable producers (electronic music) like Brian Eno and Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA.
The album made it to UK album chart at number eight and on the US Dance/Electronic chart, it made it to the number one spot. Overgrown remains James Blake’s highest-charting album to date; it beat David Bowie and Laura Mvula’s albums to win the 2013 Mercury prize, it also earned him a nomination at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards for Best New Artist.
He released his third album titled The Colour in Anything in May 2016 under Polydor Records with contributions from Frank Ocean and Justin Vernon. In January 2019, he dropped his fourth album Assume Form; prior to the release on the 18th of January, Amazon.fr accidentally leaked the details of the album online, including features of collaborations with Metro Boomin, Travis Scott and André 3000 and its track listing.
James Blake has also worked with notable artists including Beyonce, Jay Z, Vince Staples, Jay Rock, Mount Kimbie, among others. In 2018, he performed in Black Panther: The Album and on the soundtrack album, “Bloody Waters”.
James was named after his father James Litherland, who is also a singer and guitarist best known for co-founding the English progressive jazz-rock band Colosseum. Not so much is known about his mother and siblings – if he has any.
With a father who is musically inclined, Blake developed a love for music almost as soon as he was born. He did not only show a strong interest and aptitude in music from a young age but also showed an interest in following in his father’s footsteps. Thus, as a child, he received classical training in piano.