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Jamiroquai Automaton Performance 2017 (cropped).jpg
Jamiroquai performing at the O2 in London (2017)
Background information
Origin London, England
Website jamiroquai.com
See former members

Jamiroquai are a British jazz-funk band from London, formed in 1992.[6] Fronted by singer-songwriter Jay Kay, The group has changed its line-up several times; with McKenzie and Sola Akingbola (percussion), who both joined in 1994, still in the official line-up. They débuted as an acid-jazz band and have since explored other musical directions such as pop, rock, disco and electronica.

The group rose to international fame in the 1990s as one of the most prominent components in the London-based funk/acid jazz movement.[7] Their 1996 album Travelling Without Moving, had entered the Guinness World Records as the best-selling funk album in history.[8] Jamiroquai has thus sold more than 26 million albums worldwide.[9] Front-man Kay won a BMI Presidents Award, "in recognition of his profound influence on songwriting within the music industry;" and with the band, also won an Ivor Novello Award for "[an] Outstanding Song Collection", as well as 13 Brit Award nominations during the course of their career.


1992-1999: Formation and breakthrough

The band's script and logo, designed by Kay[10]

It was widely talked Jay Kay failed in the vocal audition of Brand New Heavies early in the beginning , but that rumor has been denied by Brand New Heavies.[11] Singer-songwriter Jason "Jay" Kay formed Jamiroquai in 1992 alongside co-songwriter and keyboardist Toby Smith, didgeridoo player Wallis Buchanan and drummer Nick van Gelder, who left shortly after the group's first album. Being the front-man, Kay is occasionally referred to as 'Jamiroquai', because he is the only person under contract with a record company as the artist name of Jamiroquai.[12]

Kay's home demos were noticed by Acid Jazz Records, and under that label, Jamiroquai's first single "When You Gonna Learn", was released in 1992. Following its success, the group were offered multiple major-label contracts and settled for a US$1 million, 8 album record deal with Sony Soho2.[6][13][14] Kay is the only member who signed under the contract but he share royalties with his band-mates according to contribution to works.[14]Emergency on Planet Earth, was released in 1993 and reached the UK albums chart at number 1.[15] The album's second single, "Too Young to Die" entered the UK singles chart at number 10.[16]

The Return of the Space Cowboy followed in 1994. The single "Space Cowboy", is the group's first number 1 in the US Dance Chart;[17] while "Stillness in Time" was another UK top ten hit, peaking at number 9.[18] The non single tracks "Manifest Destiny" and "Morning Glory" were sampled by 2Pac and Missy Elliot respectively.[19][20]

With Jamiroquai growing in popularity in Europe and Japan, their American breakthrough came with the 1996 album, Travelling Without Moving. It reached number 24 in the US Billboard 200, and number 2 in the UK albums chart.[22][15] The album yielded two big hits: "Virtual Insanity" and "Cosmic Girl". The success of the former song was due in part of its music video and remains a popular track. It sold 356,000 copies and is streamed 4.5 million times as of 2014.[23] The song was also number 1 in Italy.[24] "Cosmic Girl" peaked at number 6 in the UK and remained in the position for 12 weeks.[25] The single "Alright" charted in the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 78 and is the group's only song to appear in that chart.[26]

A 1998 single titled, "Deeper Underground" was issued and was listed in the Godzilla soundtrack.[27] "Canned Heat" (1999) was their second number 1 in the U.S. Dance Chart,[17] and was also included in the soundtrack for the 2004 cult film Napoleon Dynamite.[28] Their fourth studio album, Synkronized was released in 1999. Bassist Stuart Zender left Jamiroquai during the production of the album, and was replaced by Nick Fyffe to record new sessions. Synkronized, which sold 3 million copies, did not meet the sales of Travelling Without Moving, with 8 million copies sold.[29]

2001-2011: Release from Sony Music

Jamiroquai performing at the Congress Theater in Chicago (2005)

The group issued their 2001 follow-up, A Funk Odyssey. Both the album and its single "Little L" were in Top 100 charts worldwide.[30] Guitarist Rob Harris joined the group and contributed to the album's songwriting, such as "Corner of the Earth".[31] Songwriter and keyboardist Toby Smith left the band in 2002.[32]

The band's 2005 single, "Feels Just Like It Should", received a Grammy nomination for Best Short Form Music Video.[33] Their sixth album titled Dynamite, was later released. It was recorded in various locations, including their studio in Buckinghamshire, and reached number 3 on the UK chart.[15] The track, "Seven Days in Sunny June" is featured in the soundtrack for The Devil Wears Prada.[34] Since the release of Dynamite, the group's line-up has consisted of Kay, Harris, drummer Derrick McKenzie, keyboardist Matt Johnson, Paul Turner on bass guitar, and percussionist Sola Akingbola.

In March 2006, Jamiroquai announced their switch to Columbia Records.[35] A greatest hits collection, High Times: Singles 1992-2006, was issued in November and marked the end of Kay's contract with Sony. It topped the UK album chart after its first week of release,[15] and is certified triple platinum by the BPI.[36] In 2007, Jamiroquai performed in the Gig in the Sky, a concert held on a private Boeing 757 in association with Sony Ericsson.[37] The group thus currently holds the Guinness World Record for "fastest concert", performed on the aircraft whilst travelling at 1017 km/h (632 mph).[38] They formerly held the record for the "highest concert", performed on a Virgin Australia aircraft.[39] The group appeared in season one of Live from Abbey Road.[40]

Jamiroquai performing in Sofia, Bulgaria (2013)

Rock Dust Light Star was released in 2010 under Mercury Records. Jamiroquai also uploaded a 2011 track called "Smile" for free download via their SoundCloud page.[41] In 2013, the group's first three albums were reissued and remastered.

2017-present: Automaton

On 16 January 2017, Jamiroquai released an online short teaser video for their eighth and first studio album in seven years, Automaton, scheduled for a March release.[42][43] In the following week, the album's eponymous single was issued,[44] followed up by "Cloud 9" in February.[45] Although not released as a single, "Shake it On" broke into the Official French Singles Chart, peaking at number 154.[46] In May, Kay seriously injured his spine, requiring surgery; it led to cancellation of shows in Tokyo and London for their Automaton Tour, which were rescheduled in September and December respectively.[47][48]


Musical style

Jamiroquai were initially the most prominent component in the London-based funk/acid jazz movement,[49] alongside groups such as Incognito, the James Taylor Quartet, and the Brand New Heavies. Their music is described by journalist Greg Prato as a "blend of house rhythms and '70s-era soul/funk" which has led to comparisons with Stevie Wonder, including Kay's vocals.[20][50][51][14] He however said that Wonder was not an influence.[52] A 2003 compilation titled Late Night Tales: Jamiroquai under Azuli Records, contains a selection of the band's soul, funk and disco influences; including tracks from The Pointer Sisters, The Commodores, and Johnny "Hammond" Smith.[53]Emergency on Planet Earth (1993) "laid the foundations for an acid-jazz sound that the band would continue to build upon for the next decade and a half".[54] The 1996 single, "Cosmic Girl" showcased the band's increasing disco influence into their later work.[55] Their 2005 album Dynamite, saw the group exploring electronic music. Automaton, produced by Kay and member Matt Johnson, "carefully balance[s] their signature sound" with EDM and trap music, according to an Exclaim! review.[51] Jamiroquai has a preference for performing live over recording studio albums, as Kay finds it "a bit stiff in comparison."[13]

Lyrics and themes

Jamiroquai's lyrical themes occasionally discuss Kay's concerns such as homelessness and Native American rights.[56] In particular, the band's name is an interlock of the words, "jam" and "iroquai". The latter is based on the Iroquois, a Native American confederacy whose "spiritual reverence for the earth" provided inspiration for the band's lyrics.[57] The song "Manifest Destiny" touches on slavery. Termed as a "white guilt" song, Kay said, "When you learn how [cruel] history has been to some people[...] you get a perspective on why the world is like it is."[50] The song "Dr. Buzz" is about racism and gun violence, and "Nights Out in the Jungle" references Kay's past struggles with drug addiction.[58] "Automaton" recognises "the rise of artificial intelligence and technology..."[59] When Travelling Without Moving was released, Kay became interested in sports cars. He was under wide media scrutiny as the group's earlier lyrics contained themes of environmental concern.[60][61][14] He eventually responded, "[People] keep talking to me about cars and environment, and I reckon I do about 3,000 miles a year." with an additional statement that he "[doesn't] really drive that much at all any more, because I'm either on tour or doing stuff."[62] The same album was described by Vibe as having a lighter sound, as Kay stated that he was tired of being a "troubadour of social conscience",[50] and in a 1999 interview, he added that "after a while you realise that people won't boogie and dance to [politics]."[14]


Front-man Jay Kay is known for his elaborate headdresses.

Kay stated that the group's visual aesthetics are important. He assumes creative control over the group's music videos, such as editing, performing his own stunts and ensuring that they "[look] good after 10-15 years".[63] Called "icons of the music-video format" by The Atlantic,[64] the group are known for their music video of "Virtual Insanity", directed by Jonathan Glazer. In the video, Kay: "performed in a room where the floors, walls and furniture all moved simultaneously."[65] Jamiroquai are also noted for Kay's array of elaborate headgear,[66][64] prompting descriptions of Kay as "the mad hatter" and the "cat-in-the-hat".[67][68] In a 1993 interview with Melody Maker, he said that wearing headgear gives him a spiritual power that the Iroquois called "orenda" and if "[the audience] isn't really going for it, I'll tug the hat down and come on all militant."[13] Additionally, Kay has worn indigenous themed headgear, which was met with criticism from the Indian Country Media Network, commenting that he had worn sacred regalia of the First Nations.[69]



Awards and Nominations

BMI Awards[73]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2017 Jay Kay BMI Presidents Award Won

Brit Awards[74]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1994 Themselves Best British Breakthrough Nominated
Best British Group Nominated
Best British Dance Act Nominated
Emergency on Planet Earth MasterCard British Album Nominated
1995 "Space Cowboy" Best British Video Nominated
1997 "Virtual Insanity" Nominated
Themselves Best British Dance Act Nominated
1998 Nominated
1999 Nominated
"Deeper Underground" Best British Video Nominated
2000 Themselves Best British Dance Act Nominated
2002 Best British Group Nominated
2003 Best British Dance Act Nominated

Grammy Award[33]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1997 "Virtual Insanity" Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal Won
Travelling Without Moving Best Pop Album Nominated
2005 Feels Just Like It Should Best Short Form Music Video Nominated

International Dance Music Award[75]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2007 "Runaway" Best Breaks / Electro Track Nominated

Ivor Novello Award[76]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1999 Themselves Outstanding Song Collection Won

MOBO Award[77]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1997 Travelling Without Moving Best Album Won

MTV Video Music Awards[78] (with an additional two wins and four nominations for staff)

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1997 Themselves Best New Artist Nominated
Virtual Insanity Video of the Year Won
Breakthrough Video Won
Best Choreography (Choreographers: Jason Kay) Nominated
International Viewer's Choice Award for MTV Europe Nominated

See also

External links


  1. ^ "Jamiroquai's 'Funk Odyssey' Set For September". Billboard. 18 June 2001. Retrieved 2016. 
  2. ^ Walters, Barry (August 1999). "Reviews: Jamiroquai - Synkronized". Spin. 15 (8). 
  3. ^ "Group Honored With Most Music Video Nominations". Chicago Tribune. 22 July 1997. Retrieved 2016. 
  4. ^ Prato, Greg. "Jamiroquai biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016. 
  5. ^ Wilson, MacKenzie. "Jamiroquai - A Funk Odyssey". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Thompson, Dave (2001). Funk. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879306298. 
  7. ^ III, Emmett G. Price; Kernodle, Tammy; Maxille, Horace (2010). Encyclopedia of African American Music. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313341991. 
  8. ^ Guinness world records 2001. Guinness (Firm). New York: Bantam Books. 2001. p. 163. ISBN 0553583751. OCLC 46867195. 
  9. ^ "Listen to Jamiroquai's second comeback track 'Cloud 9' - NME". NME. 10 February 2017. Retrieved 2018. 
  10. ^ Group, Vibe Media (August 1999). Vibe. Vibe Media Group. p. 114. Retrieved 2018. 
  11. ^ "The Brand New Heavies: The 5 Magazine Interview". 5 Magazine. 31 October 2012. Retrieved 2018. 
  12. ^ "Jay Talking". Evening Standard London. 25 June 2005. Retrieved 2018. 
  13. ^ a b c "Jamiroquai interview - Melody Maker, 20 March 1993". www.pushstuff.co.uk. Retrieved 2018. 
  14. ^ a b c d e "Interview: Jay Kay - In at the deep end". The Independent. 22 May 1999. Retrieved 2018. 
  15. ^ a b c d "JAMIROQUAI | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2018. 
  16. ^ "too young to die | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2018. 
  17. ^ a b "Jamiroquai Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
  18. ^ "stillness in time | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". Retrieved 2018. 
  19. ^ Group, Vibe Media (August 1999). Vibe. Vibe Media Group. 
  20. ^ a b Easlea, Daryl. "BBC - Music - Review of Jamiroquai - The Return of the Space Cowboy". Retrieved 2018. 
  21. ^ Toussaint, Godfried T. (2013). The Geometry of Musical Rhythm: What Makes a "Good" Rhythm Good?. CRC Press. pp. 94-96. ISBN 9781466512023. Retrieved 2018. 
  22. ^ "Jamiroquai Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
  23. ^ "Jamiroquai's Official Top 10 biggest hits revealed". Retrieved 2018. 
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  30. ^ "Jamiroquai, DJ Otzi Rule U.K. Charts". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
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  32. ^ April Clare Welsh (13 April 2017). "Original Jamiroquai keyboard player Toby Smith has died aged 46". Factmag.com. Retrieved 2017. 
  33. ^ a b "Jamiroquai". GRAMMY.com. 14 May 2017. Retrieved 2018. 
  34. ^ The Devil Wears Prada (2006), retrieved 2018 
  35. ^ "Jamiroquai Switch to Columbia Records". Official Jamiroquai website (archived). 17 March 2006. Archived from the original on 1 March 2007. Retrieved 2006. 
  36. ^ "Jamiroquai, High Times - Singles 1992 - 2006, Album - bpi". British Phonographic Industry. November 2006. 
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  38. ^ "Fastest concert". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2018. 
  39. ^ "Virgin Blue and The Black Eyed Peas break a Guinness World Record! | Virgin Australia". Virgin Australia. Retrieved 2018. 
  40. ^ "Live from Abbey Road: The Best of Season One". PopMatters. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 2018. 
  41. ^ "Official Jamiroquai Soundcloud Page". Soundcloud.com. Archived from the original on 2 September 2011. Retrieved 2011. 
  42. ^ Kemp-Habib, Alice (17 January 2017). "Jamiroquai Teases New Album With "Automaton Transmission" Clip". The Fader. Retrieved 2018. 
  43. ^ Kaufman, Gil (27 January 2017). "Jamiroquai Drops 'Automaton' Video, Album Due March 31". Billboard. Retrieved 2017. 
  44. ^ Welsh, April Clare (27 January 2017). "Listen to Jamiroquai's Daft Punk-inspired new single 'Automaton'". Fact. Retrieved 2017. 
  45. ^ Geslani, Michelle (22 February 2017). "Jamiroquai hit the dance floor in new video for 'Cloud 9' -- watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2017. 
  46. ^ Hung, Steffen. "lescharts.com - Jamiroquai - Shake It On". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2018. 
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  49. ^ Larkin, Colin (27 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857125958. 
  50. ^ a b c Group, Vibe Media (March 1997). Vibe. Vibe Media Group. 
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  57. ^ "New Again: Jamiroquai - Interview Magazine". Interview Magazine. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 2018. 
  58. ^ "Jamiroquai: Automaton | Album Review | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2018. 
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  61. ^ "Stoned Groove: Jamiroquai's Jay Kay". PAPERMAG. 1 November 1997. Retrieved 2018. 
  62. ^ Bailey, Fiona (2011). "Jay Kay talks cars and Cole". BBC News. Retrieved 2018. 
  63. ^ "The Heart of an Automaton: How Jamiroquai Got Their Groove Back". Highsnobiety. 31 March 2017. Retrieved 2018. 
  64. ^ a b Kornhaber, Spencer. "Escape to the Future With Missy Elliott and Jamiroquai's New Videos". The Atlantic. Retrieved . 
  65. ^ "CNN - Beck, Jamiroquai big winners at MTV Music Awards - September 5, 1997". www.cnn.com. Retrieved 2018. 
  66. ^ "Whisper it, Jamiroquai are cool again... here's why - NME". NME. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 2018. 
  67. ^ "Mad hatter - Music - Entertainment - smh.com.au". www.smh.com.au. Retrieved 2018. 
  68. ^ "Jamiroquai Goes Back to Basics on 'Rock Dust Light Star'". Billboard. Retrieved 2018. 
  69. ^ "13 Rock Stars Who've Worn Native Headdresses (and Probably Shouldn't Have)". Indian Country Media Network. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 2017. 
  70. ^ Jamiroquai [@JamiroquaiHQ] (23 March 2017). "Meet our new talented band members Nate on keys & guitars and Howard our ableton live whiz, welcome aboard chaps! :) #JamiroquaiLive2017" (Tweet). Retrieved 2017 - via Twitter. 
  71. ^ "Jamiroquai | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2018. 
  72. ^ "Toby Smith, Founding Member/ex-Keyboardist of Jamiroquai, Dead at 46". Live for Live Music. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 2017. 
  73. ^ "BMI to Honor Jamiroquai Frontman & Songwriter Jay Kay With President's Award at BMI London Awards". BMI.com. 12 September 2017. Retrieved 2018. 
  74. ^ "10 things you probably didn't know about the Brits - BBC Music". 20 February 2017. Retrieved 2018. 
  75. ^ "31st Annual International Dance Music Awards - Winter Music Conference 2017 - WMC 2017". Winter Music Conference. Retrieved 2018. 
  76. ^ "The Ivors 1999 - The Ivors". The Ivors. Retrieved 2018. 
  77. ^ "1997: Mary J. Blige, Eternal, Simply Red and The Prodigy | MOBO Awards". www.mobo.com. Retrieved 2018. 
  78. ^ "Jamiroquai Glad "Virtual Insanity" Got Some VMA Attention". MTV News. Retrieved 2018. 

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