James Blake (musician)

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James Blake
Melt-2013-James Blake-7 (cropped) (cropped).jpg
Blake performing at Melt! Festival 2013
Background information
Also known as Harmonimix
Born (1988-09-26) 26 September 1988 (age 27)[1]
Enfield, London, England
  • Singer-songwriter
  • musician
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • synthesizer
Years active 2009–present
Associated acts
Website jamesblakemusic.com
Notable instruments

James Blake Litherland (born 26 September 1988),[1] known as James Blake, is an English electronic music producer and singer-songwriter from London. He has also released remixes under the monicker Harmonimix. His self-titled debut album was released in the United Kingdom in 2011[2] and nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for that year. His second studio album Overgrown won the Mercury Prize in 2013.[3]

Blake received his first Grammy nomination at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards for Best New Artist.[4] At the 2014 Brit Awards, Blake was nominated for the Brit Award for British Male Solo Artist.[5]


Early releases[edit]

Blake began his music career by releasing his debut 12" record, entitled "Air & Lack Thereof" in the United Kingdom during July 2009, while being persistent in recording songs in his bedroom. Having been released on the imprint record label, Hemlock, the extended-play became a favourite of BBC Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson.[6] Soon after the release of the record Blake was invited by Peterson to do a special mix on his international show, including an exclusive Mount Kimbie track.[6] During that time, Blake attended Goldsmiths, University of London, where he studied popular music. As his second year composition assignment, he submitted the soon-to-be-released Klavierwerke EP.[7]

A third EP, entitled CMYK, was released through R&S Records during 2010.[8] The title track, "CMYK" was selected by BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw as his Record of the Week[9] and also received airplay from other DJs. On 29 September 2010, Zane Lowe selected Blake's cover version of "Limit to Your Love" as his "Hottest Record in the World". The song was written and originally recorded by Feist and appeared on her studio album, The Reminder. The single was released in the United Kingdom on 28 November 2010,[10] where it debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number 47.[11]

James Blake performing at Glastonbury Festival June 2011

2011–12: Self-titled album[edit]

Blake was nominated for the BBC's Sound of 2011, an annual poll that highlights the forthcoming year's likely successful musicians;[12] he was eventually placed second, ahead of fellow shortlisted acts; The Vaccines, Jamie Woon and Clare Maguire. It was also revealed on 15 December 2010 that Blake had been made the runner-up behind singer-songwriter Jessie J at the BRIT Awards' "Critic's Choice".[13] In January 2011, Blake was awarded Single of the Year (2010) for "CMYK" at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards. Blake's work found itself on numerous 2010 year-end best-of lists, with "CMYK" ranking 24th on Frontier Psychiatrist's top 40 songs of the year,[14] the Bells Sketch/CMYK/Klavierwerke EPs ranking 8th on Pitchfork Media's top 50 albums of 2010, and "I Only Know (What I Know Now)" ranking 8th on Pitchfork's top 100 tracks of 2010.[15]

Blake revealed in late December 2010 that his album would be self-titled, and the 11-track James Blake was released on 7 February 2011.[2] Only days after the original announcement was made, the album was leaked onto the internet.[16] On 9 January 2011, "The Wilhelm Scream" was trailed as the album's second single ("Limit To Your Love" was also included on the album).[17] The name Wilhelm scream refers to a sound effect used in numerous movies.[18] In February 2011, James Blake first appeared on the cover of the publication The Fader, in its 72nd issue.[19]

Blake debuted a collaboration with Bon Iver called "Fall Creek Boys Choir" in August 2011 and during the next month, the BBC released an exclusive mix by Blake, which included 10 of his unreleased songs. These included "Deeds", "Olivia Kept", and "Evening Fell Hard for Us". During the final weeks of 2012, James Blake performed three "intimate" shows where he debuted new songs.[20]

Blake performing in 2015.

2013–14: Overgrown[edit]

Blake announced via Facebook on 7 February 2013 that his second album, Overgrown, would be released on 8 April.[21] The first single from the album, "Retrograde", was debuted the same day on BBC Radio 1, and was released on 11 February. On 25 February, the track listing and album art were revealed[22] and it was confirmed that Brian Eno and RZA would both feature on the album.[22] It was selected as Variance Magazine's Album of the Year as of December 2013.[23]

2015–present: Radio Silence[edit]

In December 2014, during his BBC Radio 1 Residency, Blake announced that his third studio album would be titled Radio Silence and would be released in the first half of 2015.[24][25] He later confirmed that the album would feature Bon Iver and Kanye West, as well as feature guitar work from Connan Mockasin.[26] While the release date has not yet been confirmed, it's expected to be released in 2016.

On February 11, 2016, Blake premiered a new song entitled "Modern Soul" during his BBC Radio 1 residency.[27]

Personal life[edit]

James Blake is the son of James Litherland and showed a strong interest and aptitude in music from a young age.[28] He completed primary education at Grange Park Primary School, Winchmore Hill and secondary education at The Latymer School, Edmonton. Later on, he attended Goldsmiths, University of London, where he got a degree in Popular Music.[29]

In a 2013 interview with The Guardian, he revealed that he was in a relationship with Theresa Wayman, guitarist and vocalist of American indie rock group Warpaint;,[30] though the relationship has since ended.[31]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications


US Dance
James Blake 9 32 1 24 2 11 6 38 9 123 4
Overgrown 8 5 12 57 2 24 32 27 16 32 1
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released.


Title EP details
The Bells Sketch
  • Released: 8 March 2010[48]
  • Label: Hessle Audio
  • Formats: Vinyl, Digital Download
  • Released: 31 May 2010
  • Label: R&S Records
  • Formats: Vinyl, Digital Download
  • Released: 27 September 2010
  • Label: R&S Records
  • Formats: Vinyl, Digital Download
Enough Thunder[49]
  • Released: 7 October 2011
  • Label: ATLAS, Polydor
  • Formats: Vinyl, CD, Digital Download
Love What Happened Here
  • Released: 6 December 2011
  • Label: R&S Records
  • Formats: Vinyl, Digital Download
200 Press
  • Released: 8 December 2014
  • Label: 1-800 Dinosaur
  • Formats: Vinyl, Digital Download


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications Album


2009 "Air & Lack Thereof" non-album single
2010 "Limit to Your Love" 39 63 5 42 3 7 James Blake
2011 "The Wilhelm Scream" 136 64 82
"Lindisfarne / Unluck"
"Order / Pan" non-album single
"Fall Creek Boys Choir"
(with Bon Iver)
Enough Thunder
"A Case of You" 78
2013 "Retrograde" 87 88 10 Overgrown
"Life Round Here"
2016 "Modern Soul" Radio Silence
as Harmonimix
  • 2012: "Confidence Boost"—Harmonimix & Trimbal
Other songs
  • 2014: "0 to 100 / The Catch Up" - Drake feat. James Blake


Year Artist Song Title
2009 Untold "Stop What You're Doing" James Blake Remix
2010 Mount Kimbie "Maybes" James Blake Remix
2010 Destiny's Child "Bills, Bills, Bills" James Blake Remix
2013 Mala "Changes" Harmonimix Remix
2013 Drake "Come Thru" James Blake Remix
2014 Beyoncé "Drunk in Love" Harmonimix Remix

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director
2010 "Limit to Your Love" Martin de Thurah[50]
2011 "The Wilhelm Scream" Alexander Brown[51]
"Lindisfarne" Martin de Thurah[52]
"A Case of You" Seb Edwards[53]
2013 "Retrograde" Martin de Thurah[54]
"Overgrown" Nabil[55]
"Voyeur" Tobias Revell and Ferry Gouw[56]
"Life Round Here (feat. Chance The Rapper)" Nabil[57]
as Harmonimix
Year Title Director
2012 "Confidence Boost (Harmonimix & Trim)" Rollo Jackson[58]

Awards and nominations[edit]

On 19 July 2011, Blake was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize 2011 for his self-titled debut album;[3] the award was won by PJ Harvey. However in 2013, he was nominated again for Overgrown, and subsequently won the award, the result being announced on 30 October. The judges at the event described his album as "...late night music for the digital age. An inventive, poignant and poetic record of great beauty."[59][60] He was also nominated for Best New Artist at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Year Organisation Nominated work Award Result
2010 Worldwide Winners Awards "CMYK" Single of the Year Won
2011 BBC Sound of 2011 James Blake Sound of 2011 Second place
2011 BRIT Awards James Blake Critic's Choice Nominated
2011 Mercury Prize James Blake Mercury Prize Nominated
Q Awards James Blake Breakthrough Artist Nominated
2012 Ivor Novello Awards "The Wilhelm Scream" Best Contemporary Song Nominated
2012 BRIT Awards James Blake British Male Solo Artist Nominated
2012 MTV Video Music Awards Japan "Limit to Your Love" Best New Artist Nominated
Best Dance Video Nominated
2013 2013 Mercury Prize Overgrown Mercury Prize Won
2013 UK Music Video Awards "Overgrown" Best Alternative Video Nominated
"Retrograde" Best Colour Grade In a Video Nominated
2014 56th Grammy Awards James Blake Best New Artist Nominated
2014 BRIT Awards James Blake British Male Solo Artist Nominated
mtvU Woodie Awards "Life Round Here" Best Collaboration Woodie (shared with Chance the Rapper) Nominated
Music Producers Guild Awards Overgrown UK Album of the Year (sponsored by Universal Audio) Nominated
2014 World Music Awards James Blake World's Best Male Artist Nominated
World's Best Live Act Nominated
World's Best Entertainer Nominated
Ivor Novello Awards "Retrograde" Best Contemporary Song Won


  1. ^ a b "James Blake on his 23rd Birthday, Limit To Your Love". YouTube. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "James Blake – Album Release Information", Retrieved 2011-01-06
  3. ^ a b "Ministry of Sound Biography – The IMO Records Blog". Imorecords.co.uk. 2011-11-03. Retrieved 2013-02-18. 
  4. ^ "Grammy Awards 2014: Full Nominations List". Billboard. 7 December 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Brits 2014: Nominations in full". BBC News. Retrieved 19 January 2014
  6. ^ a b "Radio 1 Programmes - Gilles Peterson, James Blake Live In The Studio". BBC. 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  7. ^ "Interview: My university experience « The Telegraph". thetelegraph.co.uk. 5 September 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  8. ^ ShareTweet. "James Blake – CMYK EP review | Juno Plus". Junodownload.com. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  9. ^ "Music – James Blake". BBC. Retrieved 2010-12-12. 
  10. ^ "James Blake – Limit To Your Love – Release Date", retrieved 2011-01-06
  11. ^ "James Blake – Limit To Your Love – Chart Run", retrieved 2011-01-06
  12. ^ "BBC Sound of 2011 – James Blake Profile", retrieved 2011-01-06
  13. ^ "The BRIT Awards 2013". Brits.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-18. 
  14. ^ "Frontier Psychiatrist: Top 40 songs of 2010". Frontpsych.com. 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  15. ^ "Top 50 Albums of 2010". Pitchfork. 2010-12-16. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  16. ^ "Leaked: James Blake - James Blake". Jpsblog.net. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  17. ^ "The Wilhelm Scream revealed as second single". One Thing. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  18. ^ Mayer Nissim (6 March 2011). "James Blake: 'The Wilhelm Scream'". Digital Spy. digitalspy.co.uk. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "World Premiere! The FADER Issue #72: Wiz Khalifa, James Blake and Casely-Hayford". The FADER. 2011-02-17. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Watch James Blake Play Two New Songs – Pitchfork". Pitchfork. 2012-12-05. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  21. ^ "My new album...". James Blake. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  22. ^ a b Blake, James. "Brian Eno, RZA Guest on New James Blake Album". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  23. ^ The Top 25 Albums of the Year 2013
  24. ^ "James Blake announces new album title". Pitchfork. 2015-01-13. Retrieved 2015-01-13. 
  25. ^ "James Blake says new album out in about five months". Pitchfork. 2014-11-23. Retrieved 2015-01-13. 
  26. ^ James Blake Says Kanye West and Bon Iver's Justin Vernon Will Appear on His New Album
  27. ^ "James Blake Shares "Modern Soul"". Pitchfork. 2016-02-11. Retrieved 2016-02-11. 
  28. ^ "James Blake Re-Conquers The BBC, Covers His Dad and Joni Mitchell « The FADER". Thefader.com. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2013. 
  29. ^ Edwards, Rhiannon (5 September 2013). "Interview: My university experience « The Telegraph". Thetelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  30. ^ Lamont, Tom (7 April 2013). "James Blake Interview". The Guardian (London). 
  31. ^ http://www.gq.com/entertainment/music/201502/james-blake
  32. ^ a b Peak positions in the United Kingdom:
  33. ^ a b "James Blake > Australian Charts". 
  34. ^ a b "James Blake > Belgium Flanders Charts". www.ultratop.be/nl/. 
  35. ^ a b "James Blake > Belgium Wallonia Charts". www.ultratop.be/fr/. 
  36. ^ a b "James Blake > Danish Charts". danishcharts.com/. 
  37. ^ "James Blake - Music Charts". Acharts.us. 2012-02-05. 
  38. ^ a b "James Blake > Dutch Charts". dutchcharts.com/. 
  39. ^ "James Blake > News Zealand Charts". http://charts.org.nz.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  40. ^ "James Blake > Swiss Charts". hitparade.ch/. 
  41. ^ "James Blake > Billboard 200 Charts". www.billboard.com/. 
  42. ^ "News - James Blake at the Music Box". Dubstepswag.com. 2012-02-05. 
  43. ^ "Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  44. ^ "iTunes - Music - James Blake by James Blake". Itunes.apple.com. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2012-02-05. 
  45. ^ a b "Certified Awards Search" (To access, enter the keyword "James Blake" and check the 'Exact match' checkbox). British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  46. ^ a b c "SØG". Ifpi.dk. 
  47. ^ "iTunes - Music - Overgrown (Deluxe Version) by James Blake". Itunes.apple.com. 2013-03-08. Retrieved 2012-03-10. 
  48. ^ "James Blake - The Bells Sketch - EP". Factmag.com. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  49. ^ "James Blake Reveals Enough Thunder". Pitchfork. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  50. ^ "James Blake 'Limit to Your Love' - Music Video". GORILLA VS. BEAR. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  51. ^ "James Blake 'The Wilhelm Scream' - Music Video". YouTube. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  52. ^ "James Blake 'Lindesfarne' - Music Video". Stereogum. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  53. ^ "Watch the New James Blake Video". Pitchfork. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  54. ^ "James Blake 'Retrograde'". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-02-12. 
  55. ^ "James Blake : Overgrown". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-09-07. 
  56. ^ "James Blake//Voyeur". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-09-07. 
  57. ^ "James Blake Feat. Chance The Rapper "Life Round Here" (Official Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-19. 
  58. ^ "Video Confidence Boost". beatMashers. Retrieved 2012-09-25. 
  59. ^ "Mercury Prize 2013: The nominees « BBC News". bbc.co.uk. 11 September 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  60. ^ James Blake wins Mercury music prize for album Overgrown | Music | The Guardian

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Marina and the Diamonds
Sound of... Runner-up
Succeeded by
Frank Ocean