Jacob Collier

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Jacob Collier
Collier at the Moers Festival 2016
Collier at the Moers Festival 2016
Background information
Born (1994-08-02) 2 August 1994 (age 26)[1]
North London, England
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • composer
  • arranger
  • producer
Instruments
Years active2011–present
LabelsHajanga
Associated acts
Websitejacobcollier.com

Jacob Collier (/ˈkɒliər/[2] born 2 August 1994) is an English musician. His music incorporates elements from many musical genres, and often features extreme use of reharmonisation.

In 2012, 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 to Quincy Jones' 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 small 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 features the Metropole Orkest, Djesse Vol. 1, was released in December 2018. The second, Djesse Vol. 2, uses 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 , "Moon River" from Djesse Vol. 2 and 2021 for "He Won't Hold You" from Djesse Vol. 3 respectively. The third volume, Djesse Vol. 3, which Collier describes as being based in electronic sounds, was released on 14 August 2020.[6]

Collier is the first British artist to receive a Grammy Award for each of his first four albums.[7]

Early life[edit]

Collier grew up in north London, raised with two younger sisters by his parents, who separated in 2004.[8] His mother, Susan Collier, is a violinist, conductor, and professor at the Royal Academy of Music's Junior Academy.[9] Collier's maternal grandfather, Derek Collier, was a violinist who also taught at the Royal Academy and performed with orchestras around the world. Collier's father, headteacher Patrick Moriarty, is also a talented amateur musician. Collier says, "We sing Bach chorales together as family – it's just so much fun."[8] Collier is partly of Chinese descent, through his maternal grandmother, Lila Wong.[10][11]

Collier attended Mill Hill County High School in north London and The Purcell School for Young Musicians in Bushey, Hertfordshire.[12] He briefly studied jazz piano at the Royal Academy.[13]

At age 10 he portrayed Tiny Tim in Arthur Allan Seidelman's A Christmas Carol.[14] At the same time, Collier was also 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, the latter of which heavily influenced his usage and understanding of harmony.[8] Of Britten's harmonic language, Collier says, "my mind was shattered outwards."[8] Collier received the ABRSM Gold Medal for the highest mark in the country for his grade eight singing result in 2008.[15]

Career[edit]

Collier began uploading homemade, multi-instrumental content to YouTube in 2011, releasing, among others, vocal arrangements 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". His activity caught the attention of Quincy Jones,[8] who flew Collier out to the Montreux Jazz Festival where they met and then met with Herbie Hancock.[16]

2014–2015: Quincy Jones, MIT Media Lab, and Live Performance Vehicle[edit]

Jacob Collier's Live Solo Show

Around this time, Ben Bloomberg, a PhD student at the MIT Media Lab, reached out to Collier regarding the creation and development of musical hardware and software for live performance. Over the following months, he and Collier constructed a multimedia live experience.[17]

In 2015, Collier launched a live show, touring Europe and the US.[18] The performance 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, courtesy of Louis Mustill and William Young of Artists and Engineers. Central to the show was a custom-built vocal "Harmonizer" instrument that Collier designed and created with Bloomberg, which enabled Collier to perform multi-voice harmonies in real-time.[19][18] The show debuted at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London.[20] A few weeks later, Collier opened for Hancock and Chick Corea at the 2015 Montreux Jazz Festival.[21]

2015–2018: In My Room, World Tour, and #IHarmU[edit]

In July 2015, Beats by Dr. Dre reached out to Collier to provide the music for 'The Game Starts Here' England Rugby World Cup campaign.[22] Collier recorded an a cappella version of the well-known hymn "Jerusalem" for the commercial, which aired on national television before each England match.[23]

In late 2015, Collier began preparing his debut album In My Room, after performing with WDR Big Band in a concert in Cologne, Germany.[24][25] He arranged, recorded and produced the album himself, playing every instrument. He wrote eight of the eleven tunes. He recorded and mixed the album over three months[26] in the music room of his family home.[27] It was mastered by Bernie Grundman,[28] and released on 1 July 2016 through the independent record label Membran Entertainment Group. Following the release, Collier embarked on a one-man world tour including the 2016 Montreux Jazz Festival.[29]

In anticipation of the release, Collier launched the "#IHarmU" campaign through Patreon, where 100 patrons sent him 15-second video clips of melodies, which he harmonised with multiple vocal parts with his well-known multi-screen layout, and uploaded to social media. He demonstrated this creative process in a two-hour live-stream on 31 October 2017.[30][31][32][better source needed] 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, arranging "White Christmas" for them which appeared on A Pentatonix Christmas, which won a Contemporary A Cappella Society award.

In February 2016, Collier was featured on Snarky Puppy's album, Family Dinner - Volume 2.[33] On 22 August, Collier took part in a Quincy Jones tribute concert at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall in London, in which he performed his own orchestral arrangement of his original song "In The Real Early Morning" with the Metropole Orkest, conducted by Jules Buckley, among other songs.[34][35]

In December 2016, Collier collaborated with 150 students at MIT to produce a 10 December 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,[36][37] Imagination Off The Charts, which won a regional Emmy in June 2018.[38]

In February 2017, Collier won two Grammy Awards: 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".[39][40] One month later he made his US television debut on The Tavis Smiley Show performing a rendition of "You And I" with jazz-gospel a cappella group Take 6.[41] That year Collier recomposed Samsung's signature ringtone, "Over The Horizon", for the new Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+,[42] and was co-producer on two songs from Becca Stevens album, Regina.[43] Collier helped score DreamWorks' film The Boss Baby with composer Hans Zimmer.[44] The following month, Collier performed with Zimmer and Pharrell Williams at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[45] In April, Collier was a guest on the daily weekday talk show Harry,[46][47] and a speaker at the annual TED conference in Vancouver, Canada.[48] On 10 November 2017, the album Jazz Loves Disney 2, on which Collier performs a cover of "Under the Sea", was released.[49]

Collier toured internationally for two and a half years (between 1 July 2015 and 18 December 2017),[50][51] 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 again with the Metropole Orkest and Jules Buckley at the North Sea Jazz Festival.[52] In December 2017, Collier collaborated with American Pop/R&B singer Tori Kelly to record an a cappella YouTube video cover of the Christmas song "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".[53]

In December 2017, Collier announced that the One-Man-Show's final performance would be in Rome on 18 December 2017.[54] He discussed plans for a second album, to be recorded in 2018.

In July 2018, Collier was one of the surprise guests at Quincy Jones' 85th birthday party celebrations, at the Montreux Jazz Club.[55]

On 19 July, "Jacob Collier and Friends" took the stage for a special concert as part of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Collier performed alongside the Metropole Orkest under conductor Jules Buckley, and invited Take 6, Sam Amidon, Becca Stevens, and Maalem Gnawa musician Hamid El Kasri.[56]

2018–present: Djesse[edit]

On 29 October 2018, Collier announced a new four-volume, 50-song musical project, titled Djesse.[57][19]

Following a one-week residency at MIT, Djesse (Vol. 1) premiered live in Kresge Auditorium on 8 December 2018. The concert featured his performance with the MIT JC Orchestra (composed of MIT and Berklee College musicians), MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble, MIT Vocal Jazz Ensemble, MIT Concert Choir and Chamber Chorus, Rambax MIT (Senegalese drumming ensemble), mother Suzie Collier and other guests from Boston and Los Angeles.[58][19] Ben Bloomberg, designer of Collier's "Harmonizer" equipment and again a collaborator at MIT,[19] was present in the audience and acknowledged by Collier. The sold-out concert, accompanied by a laser and LED display light show spectacular using custom-built lighting apparatus on-stage, was open to the MIT community as well as Boston aficionados.[59]

The first single of the Djesse project, "With The Love in My Heart", was released on 2 November. Two further singles, "Ocean Wide, Canyon Deep" and "All Night Long", were released in late November. Djesse Vol. 1 was released in full on 7 December.[60] 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.

In January 2019, Collier began the Djesse World Tour backed by a band, including Portuguese singer and multi-instrumentalist MARO, bassist Robin Mullarkey, and drummer Christian Euman.[60][61]

The first single from Djesse Vol. 2, "Make Me Cry", was released on 12 April 2019.[62] On 26 April, Collier released the second single from the album, a cover of The Beatles' song "Here Comes The Sun" in collaboration with Dodie Clark. The third Vol. 2 single was released on 13 June, an a cappella arrangement of "Moon River" by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer with over a hundred vocal contributions from family members, mentors, friends, and other collaborators.[63] The fourth and final single from Djesse Vol. 2, "It Don't Matter" featuring vocals of American singer-songwriter JoJo was released on 5 July.

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.[64][65]

Djesse Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 each won a Grammy award at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, for "All Night Long (feat. Take 6)" and "Moon River".[66][67]

On 29 November 2019, Collier released the first single from Djesse Vol. 3, "Time Alone With You" in collaboration with Daniel Caesar.[68] The video premiered on YouTube on 5 December.[69]

Also in November of that year, Collier appeared on Coldplay's eighth studio album, Everyday Life, providing backing vocals for the tracks "Cry, Cry, Cry", "Everyday Life" and "Church".[70]

Collier was scheduled to continue touring in 2020, before the tour was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[71]

On 25 March 2020, Collier released the second single from Djesse Vol. 3, "In My Bones", premiering the music video on the same day on his YouTube channel.[72] Three further singles, "All I Need",[73][74] "He Won't Hold You"[75][76] and "Running Outta Love",[77][78] were released later that year, leading up to the release of the album. Djesse Vol. 3 was released in full on 14 August 2020.[79] The album features collaborations with Jessie Reyez, T-Pain, Kimbra, Tank and the Bangas, Daniel Caesar, Mahalia, Ty Dolla $ign, Kiana Ledé, Tori Kelly, and Rapsody.[80]

In the weeks leading up to and following the release of Djesse Vol. 3, Collier performed songs from the album on various TV and radio shows. This included performances of "All I Need" with Mahalia and Ty Dolla $ign on Jimmy Kimmel Live!,[81] and with Mahalia on Later... with Jools Holland;[82] a performance of "Running Outta Love" with Tori Kelly on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert;[83] and a three-song set for a Tiny Desk Concert, performed from Collier's home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[84] Later, on 13 January 2021, Collier and Mahalia performed "All I Need" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[85] On 26 January 2021, Collier performed "Sleeping On My Dreams" on The Late Late Show with James Corden.[86]

On 20 November 2020, Collier released an a capella arrangement of The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).[87] A week later, he announced the release of the book Songs of Jacob Collier, which includes arrangements for solo piano and voice of 19 of his songs.[88] It was arranged by Collier and June Lee, with editing done by Lee and Nahre Sol.[89]

On 1 January 2021, Collier released a voice memo recording of an original song "The Sun Is In Your Eyes".[90] The memo was originally recorded in 2019, and a studio recording attempt was disregarded for in favor of the original phone recording. [54] Another version of the song premiered in a TED Connects livestream on 10 April 2020.[91]

At the 2021 Grammy Awards, Djesse Vol. 3 was nominated for the Album of the Year, which he lost to Taylor Swift’s Folklore; "All I Need" was nominated for the Best R&B Performance; and "He Won’t Hold You" won the Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals.[92] With this award, Collier became the first british artist to win a Grammy Award for each of his albums.[7]

Djesse Vol. 4 will reportedly be released in 2021.[93]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

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

[94]
US
Indie

[95]
US
Contemporary
Jazz

[96]
US
Jazz

[97]
US
Classical

[98]
US
Classical Cross.

[99]
US
Folk Sales

[100]
In My Room 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
18
Djesse Vol. 3
  • Released: 14 August 2020
  • Label: Hajanga
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download, streaming
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays, with selected details
Title Details
Jacobean Essentials
Jacobean Chill
  • Released: 25 December 2020[102]
  • 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 [103][104][105]
"Fascinating Rhythm" 2014 George Gershwin,
Ira Gershwin (lyrics)
[106][105]
"Close to You" Burt Bacharach,
Hal David
[107][104][105]
"One Day"
(performed with Nikki Yanofsky)
2015 Jacob Collier,
Nikki Yanofsky
[108]
"Jerusalem" Hubert Parry,
William Blake (poem)
[109][110][111]
"In the Bleak Midwinter" 2016 Harold Darke,
Christina Rossetti (poem)
[112][113]
"Bathtub"
(featuring with Becca Stevens)
2017 Jacob Collier,
Becca Stevens
[114][115]
"The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" 2020 Mel Tormé,
Robert Wells
[116]
"The Sun Is In Your Eyes" 2021 Jacob Collier [117]

Guest appearances[edit]

List of guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album Ref.
"Don't You Know" 2016 Snarky Puppy, Big Ed Lee Family Dinner – Volume 2 [118]
"Both Still Here" 2017 Becca Stevens Regina [119]
"As"
"She's Gotta Be Somewhere" (Backing vocals) David Crosby Sky Trails [120]
"Restore the Feeling" 2019 Daniel Caesar, Sean Leon Case Study 01 [121]
"Church" (Backing vocals) Coldplay Everyday Life [122]
"Cry Cry Cry" (Backing vocals)
"Everyday Life" (Backing vocals)
"Slow Burn" 2020 Becca Stevens Wonderbloom [123]
"Noelle" JoJo December Baby [124]
"Good Days" (Backing vocals) SZA TBA [125]

Songwriting credits[edit]

List of songs written or co-written for other artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Artist Album Ref.
"Church" 2019 Coldplay Everyday Life [122]
"Cry Cry Cry"
"Good Days" 2020 SZA TBA [126]

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"
2020 Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals "All Night Long" [67]
Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella "Moon River"
2021 Album of the Year Djesse Vol. 3 Nominated [127]
Best R&B Performance "All I Need" (featuring Ty Dolla Sign & Mahalia)
Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals "He Won't Hold You" Won

Jazz FM Awards[edit]

Year Nominee Category Result Ref
2016 Himself Breakout Artist of the Year Nominated [128]
Digital Initiative of the Year (Sponsored by 7digital) Won [128]
2019 PRS For Music Gold Award [129]
2020 The Digital Award Nominated [130]

MOBO Awards[edit]

Year Nominee Category Result Ref
2016 Himself Best JAZZ Act Nominated [131]

References[edit]

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  77. ^ Collier, Jacob (29 July 2020). "I cannot keep this one to myself any longer. Dropping this Tori Kelly collab on Friday!!!!!! 💥". Facebook.
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  86. ^ "Jacob Collier Performs "Sleeping On My Dreams" At Abbey Road, Talks "Album Of The Year" Nod On 'Corden' [Watch]: Watch". Live For Live Music. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
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  88. ^ Collier, Jacob. "I am SO extraordinarily excited to announce, for the first time ever, a sheet music book for you! A selection of 19 songs of mine, arranged for piano and voice by myself and the legendary @june.lee1214 !! June and I have been working non-stop for the last 6 months to bring this to life. At long last, its yours. ON SALE NOW! 10% off this weekend :-) Link in bio 🎶". Instagram. Facebook. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
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