Jacob Collier

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Jacob Collier
Collier in 2016
Collier in 2016
Background information
Birth nameJacob Moriarty
Born (1994-08-02) 2 August 1994 (age 29)
London, England
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • multi-instrumentalist
  • record producer
Years active2002–present

Jacob Collier (born 2 August 1994) is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and educator. His music incorporates a combination of jazz and elements from other musical genres, and often features extensive use of reharmonisations and close harmony. He is known for his energetic live performances, in which he often conducts the audience to sing harmony or play percussion parts.[1] Collier demonstrates his harmonic expertise in lectures and master classes, particularly with his detailed analyses of songs like Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" and his own music.[2]

In 2013, his split-screen video covers of popular songs, such as Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing", began to go viral on YouTube. In 2014, Collier signed with Quincy Jones's management company and began working on his one-man, audio-visual live performance vehicle, designed and built at the MIT Media Lab by Ben Bloomberg.[3] In 2016, Collier released his debut album, In My Room, which he recorded, arranged, performed and produced himself in the back room of his family home in Finchley, North London.[4] In 2017, Collier was awarded Grammy Awards for his arrangements of "Flintstones" and "You and I".[5] In 2018, Collier began working on Djesse, a four-volume, 50-song album featuring more than two dozen artists and ensembles. The first volume, which featured the Metropole Orkest, Djesse Vol. 1, was released in December 2018. The second, Djesse Vol. 2, used more acoustic instrumentation and was released in July 2019.

In 2020, Collier won Grammy Awards for his arrangements of "All Night Long (All Night)" from Djesse Vol. 1 and "Moon River" from Djesse Vol. 2. In 2021, he won a Grammy Award for "He Won't Hold You" from Djesse Vol. 3. Collier is the first British artist to receive a Grammy Award for each of his first four albums.[6]

Early life[edit]

Collier was born on 2 August 1994.[7][8] He grew up in North London with two younger sisters.[9] His mother, Suzie Collier, is a violinist, conductor, and professor at the Royal Academy of Music's Junior Academy.[10] His maternal grandfather, Derek Collier, was a violinist who also taught at the Royal Academy and performed with orchestras around the world. Collier has said: "We sing Bach chorales together as family—it's just so much fun."[9] He is partly of Chinese descent through his maternal grandmother, Leila Wong.[11][12]

At age 10, Collier portrayed Tiny Tim in the Arthur Allan Seidelman film A Christmas Carol (2004).[13] At the same time he was performing as a treble singer in classical roles, such as one of the three boys in Mozart's The Magic Flute and Miles in Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw, which influenced his use and understanding of harmony.[9] Of Britten's harmonic language, he said, "My mind was shattered outwards."[9] He received the ABRSM Gold Medal for the highest mark in the country for his grade eight singing result in 2008.[14]

Collier attended Mill Hill County High School in north London and the Purcell School for Young Musicians in Bushey, Hertfordshire.[15] He briefly studied jazz piano at the Royal Academy.[16]


2011–2015: Early videos[edit]

Collier began uploading homemade, multi-instrumental content to YouTube in 2011 with a vocal arrangement of "Pure Imagination" from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and in 2013 a multi-instrumental rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing". The videos presented split-screen multitrack recordings of Collier singing each part of the arrangements' harmonies. These videos gained attention with the "Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" cover receiving millions of views. His musical activity caught the attention of Quincy Jones,[9] who flew Collier to the Montreux Jazz Festival where he was introduced to Herbie Hancock.[17]

In 2015, Collier launched a live show and toured Europe and the US.[18] The performances featured a circle of musical instruments, with six simultaneous looping stations capable of simultaneous playback, backed by synced real-time 3D-captured video loops, projected onto a screen behind the instruments. Central to the show was a custom-built vocal "Harmonizer" instrument that enabled Collier to sing multi-voice harmonies in real-time.[19][18] The show debuted at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London,[20] and Collier later opened for Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea at the 2015 Montreux Jazz Festival.[20]

2015–2018: In My Room, world tour, and #IHarmU[edit]

In July 2015, Beats by Dr. Dre asked Collier to provide music for "The Game Starts Here" England Rugby World Cup campaign commercial.[21] Collier recorded an a cappella version of the hymn "Jerusalem" for the commercial, which was shown on national television before each England match.[22]

Jacob Collier's live solo show in 2015

In late 2015, Collier began preparing his debut album In My Room after performing with WDR Big Band in a concert in Cologne, Germany.[23][24] He wrote eight of the eleven songs and arranged, recorded and produced the album in the music room of his family home, playing every instrument himself. He recorded and mixed the album over three months.[25] The album was mastered by Bernie Grundman[26] and released on 1 July 2016 through independent record label Membran Entertainment Group. Collier embarked on a one-man world tour which included the 2016 Montreux Jazz Festival.[27]

In anticipation of the album's release, Collier launched the "#IHarmU" campaign through Patreon. 100 patrons sent him 15-second video clips of melodies, which he harmonised with vocal parts on his multi-screen layout and uploaded to social media. Collier received more than 130 melodies and donations, including from British jazz artist Jamie Cullum, Ben Folds, Herbie Hancock, and Kevin Olusola of the a cappella group Pentatonix. He arranged "White Christmas" for them; it appeared on A Pentatonix Christmas and won a Contemporary A Cappella Society award for Best Professional Arrangement by a Non-Scholastic Group.[28]

In February 2016, Collier was featured on Snarky Puppy's album Family Dinner – Volume 2, playing "Don't You Know."[29] On 22 August, he took part in a Quincy Jones tribute concert at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall in London, in which he performed, among others, his orchestral arrangement of his original song "In The Real Early Morning" with the Metropole Orkest, conducted by Jules Buckley.[30][31]

In December 2016, Collier collaborated with 150 students at MIT to produce a live concert in Kresge Auditorium, titled "Imagination Off the Charts", playing alongside orchestral arrangements of his repertoire. This residency was the subject of a documentary film,[32][33] Imagination Off The Charts, which won a regional Emmy in June 2018.[34]

In February 2017, Collier won two Grammy Awards for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for the Stevie Wonder song "You and I", and Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals for a cover of "Flintstones".[35][36] In March he made his US television debut on The Tavis Smiley Show, performing "You And I" with jazz-gospel a cappella group Take 6.[37] Collier re-composed Samsung's signature ringtone, "Over The Horizon", for the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+,[38] and was co-producer on two songs from Becca Stevens' album Regina.[39] He helped to score the DreamWorks' film The Boss Baby with composer Hans Zimmer.[40] He performed with Zimmer and Pharrell Williams at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[41]

Collier toured internationally for two and a half years between 1 July 2015 and 18 December 2017,[42][43] while hosting masterclasses and performances with orchestras and big bands around the world, including the Metropole Orkest. On 9 July, he and Cory Henry performed with the Metropole Orkest and Jules Buckley at the North Sea Jazz Festival.[44] In July 2018, he was one of the guests at Quincy Jones's 85th birthday party celebrations at the Montreux Jazz Club. On 19 July, "Jacob Collier and Friends" performed as part of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

2018–present: Djesse albums[edit]

On 29 October 2018, Collier announced a new four-volume, 50-song musical project, entitled Djesse.[19] Djesse Vol. 1 was released in full on 7 December,[45] and featured the singles "With The Love in My Heart", "Ocean Wide, Canyon Deep" and "All Night Long". The volume features collaborations with Voces8, Laura Mvula, Hamid El Kasri, Take 6, and his mother, Suzie Collier. The Metropole Orkest appeared on every track. Collier produced, arranged, and orchestrated the music, in addition to singing and playing various instruments.[46] In January 2019, Collier began the Djesse world tour backed by a band that included Portuguese singer and multi-instrumentalist Maro, bassist Robin Mullarkey, and drummer Christian Euman.[45][47]

Djesse Vol. 2 was released on 19 July 2019, featuring cover artwork by Astrig Akseralian and further musical collaborations with Lianne La Havas, Oumou Sangaré, Chris Thile, Sam Amidon, Steve Vai, Kathryn Tickell, Becca Stevens, and Maro.[48] It featured the singles "Make Me Cry",[49][50][51] a cover of The Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun" in collaboration with Dodie Clark, and an a cappella arrangement of "Moon River" with over a hundred vocal contributions from family members, mentors, friends, and other collaborators.[52] Djesse Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 each won a Grammy award at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, for "All Night Long" and "Moon River".[53][54]

In November 2019, Collier appeared on Coldplay's eighth studio album, Everyday Life, providing backing vocals for the tracks "Cry, Cry, Cry", "Everyday Life", and "Church".[55]

Djesse Vol. 3 was released in full on 14 August 2020.[56] The album features collaborations with Jessie Reyez, T-Pain, Kimbra, Tank and the Bangas, Daniel Caesar, Mahalia, Ty Dolla Sign, Kiana Ledé, Tori Kelly, and Rapsody.[57] The album was nominated for the Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammy Awards, with the award going to Taylor Swift's Folklore; The single "All I Need" was nominated for Best R&B Performance, while "He Won't Hold You" won Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals.[58] With this award, Collier became the first British artist to win a Grammy Award for each of his first four albums.[6]

In November 2020, Collier released the book Songs of Jacob Collier, which includes arrangements for solo piano and voice of 19 of his songs. On 25 December 2020, SZA released her single "Good Days", which was written alongside Collier, who also provided background vocals.[59] On 24 September 2021, Coldplay and BTS released their single "My Universe", to which Collier contributed background vocals.[60] The track debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on 4 October 2021.[61] "My Universe" is featured on Coldplay's ninth studio album Music of the Spheres. The album also features the track "Human Heart", which Collier appears on.[62] On 25 March 2022, Collier appeared in Olivia Rodrigo's documentary film on Disney+ Olivia Rodrigo: Driving Home 2 U as one of the special guests.[63]

Jacob Collier at Wembley Stadium, 16 August 2022.

On 2 May 2022, Collier was the subject of Alan Yentob's BBC One television documentary series Imagine..., in the episode Jacob Collier: In the Room Where It Happens.[64] On 29 September 2022, Collier released his first live album, Piano Ballads (Live From The Djesse World Tour 2022), which includes 11 covers largely improvised by Collier on stage, many of which involve a spontaneous audience choir.[65]

Collier collaborated with British rapper Stormzy in 2022 on his album This Is What I Mean.[66] Collier received two nominations at the 65th Grammy Awards; 'Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals' for his single "Never Gonna Be Alone" featuring Lizzy McAlpine and John Mayer, and 'Album Of The Year' for his featured artist, producer, songwriter and engineering contributions to Coldplay’s Music of The Spheres. [67]

Djesse Vol. 4 was released on 29 February 2024.[68] The singles include "Little Blue", featuring Brandi Carlile;[69] "Wherever I Go", featuring Lawrence and Michael McDonald; "Witness Me", featuring Shawn Mendes, Stormzy, and Kirk Franklin;[70] "Mi Corazón", featuring Camilo; and a cover of Paul Simon's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" featuring John Legend and Tori Kelly.[71]

On 8 December 2023, Collier was invited for the Royal Christmas Concert at the Westminster Abbey by Catherine, Princess of Wales, and performed "Last Christmas" on John Lennon’s "Imagine" piano owned by George Michael and loaned by his estate.[72] At the 2024 Grammy Awards on 4 February 2024, Collier was nominated and won the Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals for "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" where he featured alongside säje.[73] He also performed at the Grammy Awards ceremony, playing "Both Sides Now" with Joni Mitchell, Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell, SistaStrings, Blake Mills, and Lucius.[74]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Collier came from a family of musicians and was introduced to music at an early age. With the support of his mother, he learned to play various instruments and became acquainted with musical concepts. His recording career began in the family home, in a room filled with instruments where his mother used to teach violin lessons.[citation needed] He recorded himself singing and playing instruments, mostly covers of jazz standards or pop songs, using a split screen recording technique to display his vocals, and uploaded the recordings to YouTube.[citation needed] The videos often featured use of reharmonisation, close harmony, dissonance, microtonality and polyrhythms.[75]

His more recent releases, which were also uploaded to streaming services, featured unconventional musical elements such as microtonality and complex chords and progressions, as well as sudden key- and time signature changes. His style blended classical music with modern jazz, pop and R&B, experimental music and synthwave.


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected details and chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions





Classical Cross.

Folk Sales

In My Room
  • Released: 1 July 2016
  • Label: Membran
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
10 50 1 3
Djesse Vol. 1 (with the Metropole Orkest conducted by Jules Buckley)
  • Released: 7 December 2018
  • Label: Hajanga, Geffen, Decca
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
14 1 6 6 6
Djesse Vol. 2
  • Released: 19 July 2019
  • Label: Hajanga, Geffen, Decca
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
Djesse Vol. 3
  • Released: 14 August 2020
  • Label: Hajanga
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
Djesse Vol. 4
  • Released: 29 February 2024
  • Label: Hajanga
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Live albums[edit]

List of live albums, with selected details
Title Details
Piano Ballads (Live from the Djesse World Tour 2022)
  • Released: 29 September 2022[83]
  • Label: Decca
  • Format: Digital download, streaming

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays, with selected details
Title Details
Pure Imagination -the hit covers collection-
  • Released: 20 September 2017 (in Japan only)[84]
  • Label: P-VINE Records
  • Format: CD, Digital download, streaming
Jacobean Essentials
  • Released: 18 December 2020[85]
  • Label: Hajanga
  • Format: Digital download, streaming
Jacobean Chill
  • Released: 25 December 2020[86]
  • Label: Hajanga
  • Formats: Digital download, streaming

Non-album singles[edit]

Title Year Writer(s) Ref.
"Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing" 2013 Stevie Wonder [87][88][89]
"Fascinating Rhythm" 2014 George Gershwin,
Ira Gershwin (lyrics)
"Close to You" Burt Bacharach,
Hal David
"One Day"
(performed with Nikki Yanofsky)
2015 Jacob Collier,
Nikki Yanofsky
"Jerusalem" Hubert Parry,
William Blake (poem)
"In the Bleak Midwinter" 2016 Harold Darke,
Christina Rossetti (poem)
(featuring Becca Stevens)
2017 Jacob Collier,
Becca Stevens
"I Love Being Here With You" (Soundtrack for the All-New Electric Fiat 500 campaign) 2020 Bill Schluger,
Peggy Lee
"The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" Mel Tormé,
Robert Wells
"The Sun Is In Your Eyes" 2021 Jacob Collier [102]
"Flow Freely" (From the Film "Reflection: A Walk with Water")
(with Justin Kauflin)
Jacob Collier, Justin Kauflin [103]
"Fix You" (Live for There With Care) Chris Martin,
Guy Berryman,
Jonathan Buckland,
Will Champion

Guest appearances[edit]

Title Year Other artist(s) Album Ref. Notes
"For the Longest Time" 2015 Natalie Williams Kaleidoscope [105]
"Don't You Know" 2016 Snarky Puppy, Big Ed Lee Family Dinner – Volume 2 [106]
"Señor Blues" Dominick Farinacci Short Stories [107]
"Somebody That I Used to Know"
"Tomorrow (A Better You, a Better Me)" John Aram, Rootwords, The Children of the International School of Geneva [108]
"Both Still Here" 2017 Becca Stevens Regina [109]
"She's Gotta Be Somewhere" (Backing vocals) David Crosby Sky Trails [110]
"Silent Night" Justin Kauflin Silent Night [111]
"Restore the Feeling" 2019 Daniel Caesar, Sean Leon Case Study 01 [112]
"Church" (Backing vocals) Coldplay Everyday Life [113] Also co-writer
"Cry Cry Cry" (Backing vocals)
"Everyday Life" (Backing vocals)
"Slow Burn" 2020 Becca Stevens Wonderbloom [114]
"Noelle" JoJo December Baby [115]
"Good Days" (Backing vocals) SZA SOS [116] Also co-writer
"If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" 2021 James Marsden, Ariana Greenblatt The Boss Baby: Family Business (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [117]
"Independent Girl" Jonah Nilsson Now Or Never [118]
"Altar" (Backing vocals) Kehlani Blue Water Road [119] Also co-writer
"My Universe" (Backing vocals) Coldplay, BTS Music of the Spheres [60]
"Human Heart" Coldplay, We Are King [62]
"erase me" Lizzy McAlpine five seconds flat [120]
"Old Memories (Unlocked)" (Backing vocals and piano) Alicia Keys Keys [121] Also co-writer
"Thalamus Canticum" Stian Carstensen Musical Sanatorium [122]
"Where Do We All Go" (Backing vocals) 2022 Tank and the Bangas Red Balloon [123] Also co-writer, co-composer

Acting and opera credits[edit]


As Jacob Moriarty
Year Title Role Notes
2004 A Christmas Carol Tiny Tim
2005 The Best Man Olly Aged 10


As Jacob Moriarty
Year Title Role Notes
2006 The Virgin Queen Little Boy Episode 1


As Jacob Moriarty
Year Production Role Theatre Ref(s)
2002 Wozzeck Child Royal Opera House [124]
2007 The Magic Flute First Boy London Coliseum [125][126]
The Turn of the Screw Miles [127]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Category Work Result Ref
2017 Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals "Flintstones" Won [5]
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella "You and I" Won
2020 "Moon River" Won [54]
Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals "All Night Long" Won
2021 "He Won't Hold You" Won [128]
Album of the Year Djesse Vol. 3 Nominated
Best R&B Performance "All I Need" (featuring Ty Dolla Sign & Mahalia) Nominated
2022 Best R&B Song "Good Days" (with Solána Rowe, Carlos Núñez Muñoz, Carter Lang, and Christopher Ruelas) Nominated
Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" Nominated
2023 Album of the Year[a] Music of the Spheres (by Coldplay) Nominated [129]
Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals "Never Gonna Be Alone" Nominated
2024 "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" (with Erin Bentlage, Sara Gazarek, Johnaye Kendrick & Amanda Taylor) Won [130]

Jazz FM Awards[edit]

Year Category Result Ref
2016 Breakout Artist of the Year Nominated [131]
Digital Initiative of the Year (Sponsored by 7digital) Won [131]
2019 PRS For Music Gold Award Won [132]
2020 The Digital Award Nominated [133]

MOBO Awards[edit]

Year Category Result Ref
2016 Best JAZZ Act Nominated [134]


  1. ^ as featured artist


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