||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (March 2011)|
Jay Kay at the 2007 Gumball 3000 rally
|Born||30 December 1969|
|Origin||Stretford, Greater Manchester, England|
|Genres||Acid jazz, funk, disco, blue-eyed soul, electronica|
Jay Kay (born Jason Luís Cheetham; 30 December 1969) is a Grammy Award-winning English musician, best known as the lead singer of the acid jazz band Jamiroquai. He is sometimes incorrectly referred to as Jamiroquai, with a misconception existing that the band is actually a solo artist.
Kay was born in Stretford, Greater Manchester, England. Kay's mother, Karen Kay (born Adrianne Judith Pringle), is a former cabaret singer and television personality. Kay's biological father is Luís Saraiva, a Portuguese former professional guitarist, whom Kay did not meet until 2001.
After Jay Kay's identical twin, David, died some weeks after they were born, Karen brought Kay up largely alone, which gave him "an itinerant childhood, half of it living in 'rural Suffolk and rural Devon’", according to his 2010 The Daily Telegraph interview and his 1994/1999 television interviews. It is stated in the 1997 Lancashire Evening Telegraph article that Kay "moved with his mother and step-father Mervyn Kay to Manchester as a youngster." James Royal, often misidentified as Kay's stepfather, is Karen Kay's former manager whom she had a relationship with some time during Kay's childhood years. Royal had stated in his 2002 interview in News of the World about 13-year-old Kay's six-month stay in Thailand that he never married Karen Kay, but "still regards" Kay as his "stepson".
Kay formed Jamiroquai with members Toby Smith (keyboards), Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (drums) and Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo) together with guest appearances by Gavin Dodds (guitar), Maurizio Ravelico (percussion) and Johnny Thirkell (horns) amongst others, both on the band's debut album and on their first tour.
Jamiroquai has sold over thirty million albums, and has spent a collective 162 weeks on the UK singles chart between 1992 and 2006 with Kay's personal wealth said to be around £40 million. He appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List 2004 at joint-950th. The Sunday Times Rich List 2008 has him tied for #1,794, with £40 million.
After the huge success of Jamiroquai's first single, When You Gonna Learn, a US$1.9 million, eight album deal was signed with Sony Music Entertainment. The band's first album was Emergency on Planet Earth. The relationship with Sony ended in 2007.
The band's third album, Travelling Without Moving, generated international attention with the ground breaking video of Virtual Insanity which earned Jamiroquai four MTV Video Music Awards. Since then, their fourth album, Synkronized, has done just as well; it was recorded in Kay's home studio located in the garden of his 500-year-old, 11-bedroom Buckinghamshire mansion.
Kay has previously stated that he would like his band to continue writing music for another 15–20 years. However it was reported in February 2007 that Kay had wanted to quit music. This was denied on Jamiroquai's official website the day after.
Kay is well known for his array of elaborate hats and headgear. When appearing professionally (in concerts, interviews etc.) he has been referred to as "the mad hatter" for his love of headgear. It is said that he has over 50 different hats that he wears at concerts and in public. He has stated publicly that some of them were made by his own mother.
Kay's most recognizable headgear is his mirrored "feather headdress" seen on the cover of High Times: Singles 1992–2006.
Kay appeared in an episode of the BBC series The Naked Chef alongside chef Jamie Oliver. He has also performed on the series Strictly Come Dancing singing Canned Heat. He also appeared four times in the BBC car show Top Gear. The first appearance was in Series 1 episode 2, where he set a lap time of 1:48.1 for the show's "Star in a reasonably priced car", becoming the leading highscorer for the rest of the current and most of the next series. His second appearance was in Series 3 episode 4, where he drove his Lamborghini Miura with Richard Hammond as passenger. The third appearance was in Series 11 episode 6, where he came in to beat the top time held by Simon Cowell. He succeeded with a lap time of 1:45.8. Jay Kay won Top Gear's "John Sergeant Award" for the best dance after learning his time on the Top Gear test track and the fastest lap time in 2008.
The day before Jamiroquai performed their new single, White Knuckle Ride, on The X Factor on 31 October 2010, Kay was quoted by The Sun as saying of the show's judges Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue: "What are they going to tell me about fucking music? ... When have you ever done anything? You're useless. The pair of you. I mean you look great and I'd like to fucking shag you but that's all." During his performance on the show, the pair talked continuously and refused to applaud at the end. Notably, neither of the other two judges stood up either.
In 2001, Kay was charged with assaulting a photographer and damaging his camera outside a nightclub. Kay pleaded not guilty and the charges were later dropped. On 12 September 2006, Kay was cautioned by police over an incident outside a London nightclub. He allegedly assaulted two photographers.
Kay is anti-religious.
From 1998 to 2001, Kay dated Denise Van Outen. They were engaged and reported to be on the verge of marriage, but split up in 2001; Jamiroquai's album A Funk Odyssey is mostly about their breakup.
Kay continues to support the Burma Campaign UK and the need for democracy in Burma. He is also a patron of the Captive Animals Protection Society, a charity campaigning for an end to the use of animals in circuses, zoos and exotic pet trade. He has spoken out against animal exploitation for entertainment.
Cars and vehicles
Kay has a strong interest in exotic cars and has owned over 60 luxury cars, mainly sports cars. His love of cars was expressed with the release of the album Travelling Without Moving. The album's cover featured an adaptation of the "Buffalo Man" logo and the Ferrari crest, In 2011 he visited Maranello for an exclusive viewing of the then-new Ferrari 458 Spider. Three of his cars appeared in the video for the song Cosmic Girl. In total he has 68 vehicles, including what he calls "staff cars" and a 'one off' Ferrari.
A combination of cars and music is also evident in the song Black Devil Car on the album Dynamite which is a tribute to his black Ferrari Enzo. The Enzo suffered damage to the windows after an altercation with hotel chef Aaron Billington at the Brudenell Hotel in Aldeburgh, Suffolk.
In addition to his well-known large collection of Ferraris, Kay has more recently professed to becoming a fan of Porsche cars. He now owns a black 356 Speedster, a blue 911 Carrera RS, and a 911 GT3 RS in orange livery. A 1973 Porsche Carrera RS has been used in the clip of "White Knuckle Ride", one of the last singles of the band, included in their last album.
Kay's love of fast cars has occasionally landed him in legal trouble. In May 1998, Kay was caught driving at 111 mph (179 km/h) and his licence was suspended for 42 days. He said in an interview: "I should count myself lucky. I've clocked up 175 mph on a public road. If I'd been caught doing that, it would have been a prison sentence." He appeared in court in Scotland to face charges for speeding after being clocked at 105 mph (169 km/h) in a Mercedes-Benz G-Class, on 26 February 2004. The speed limit for the road was 70 mph (110 km/h). He was later banned from driving for six months.
He holds the record on the BBC show Top Gear for the fastest lap in the (now retired) Chevrolet Lacetti on the "Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car" segment. His time of 1:45.83 was four-hundredths of a second ahead of Kevin McCloud, one-tenth of a second ahead of Brian Johnson, lead singer of the rock band AC/DC, and one tenth of a second above then-leader, Simon Cowell. He was invited back as Cowell had been "on the top for long enough". Kay also competed in the Celebrity Challenge race at the 2012 Silverstone Classic finishing third behind Brian Johnson and Kelvin Fletcher.
Kay is also a motorcycle enthusiast and attended the Ace Cafe to see Charley Boorman off for his television series By Any Means. He rides a Rizla Suzuki GSXR-600. He owns a motorhome, and holds a C LGV (class 2) driving licence in order to legally drive it. He reportedly persuaded his close friend James Martin to also purchase one. Kay also leases a Robinson R44 helicopter, registration G-JKAY.
- List of number-one dance hits (United States)
- List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart
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- "Jay Kay Checks Out Ferrari 458 Spider". 13 September 2011.
- "Top Gear, Series 11, Episode 6, during the interview in the segment, Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car". 27 July 2008.
- "Angry Chef Trashes Rock Star's Ferrari Enzo". 4 March 2009.