Jay Kay

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Jay Kay
Jamiroquai (6606877435).jpg
Jay Kay with Jamiroquai at the Sydney Resolution Concert on New Year's Eve
Background information
Birth name Jason Luís Cheetham
Born (1969-12-30) 30 December 1969 (age 47)
Stretford, Lancashire, England
  • Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1992–present
Associated acts Jamiroquai

Jay Kay (born Jason Luís Cheetham;[1] 30 December 1969) is an English singer-songwriter. He rose to international fame as one of the founding members of the acid jazz band Jamiroquai.

Early life[edit]

Kay was born in Stretford, Greater Manchester, on 30 December 1969. His mother, Karen Kay,[2] is a former cabaret singer and television personality. His biological father is Luís Saraiva, a Portuguese former guitarist,[3] whom he did not meet until 2001. Kay's identical twin, David, died some weeks after they were born.[4] Kay's mother raised him largely alone, which gave him "an itinerant childhood; half of it living in rural Suffolk and rural Devon", according to his 2010 Daily Telegraph interview[5] and his 1990s television interviews.[6] He is also a former resident of Ealing,[7][8] where he lived on Grange Road (W5) and played some of his first gigs in The Haven, a pub on Spring Bridge Road (now converted to offices) and Broadway Boulevard (now Club Karma).[9] 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".[10] James Royal—often misidentified as Kay's stepfather—is his mother's former manager with whom she had a relationship during Kay's childhood years. Royal had stated in his 2002 interview in News of the World that he never married Karen Kay but still regards Kay as his stepson.[11]

Kay attended Oakham School in Rutland.[12]


Kay formed Jamiroquai with members Toby Smith (keyboards), Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (1992–1993) (drums), Derrick McKenzie (1994–present) (drums-battery), 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.[13] 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 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.[14]

Jamiroquai's third album, Travelling Without Moving, received international attention with the music video of Virtual Insanity, which earned Jamiroquai four MTV Video Music Awards. Their fourth album, Synkronized, has received similar praise; it was recorded in Kay's home studio located in the garden of his 500-year-old, 11-bedroom Buckinghamshire mansion.

Kay is occasionally referred to as 'Jamiroquai', with a misconception existing that the band is actually a solo artist.[15][16]


Kay wearing a headdress during a concert

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.[17] It is said that he has many different hats that he wears at concerts and in public.[18] The Indian Country Media Network has criticised him for wearing sacred First Nations regalia. [19]

TV performances[edit]

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 Kay drove his Lamborghini Miura with Richard Hammond as a 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. Kay won Top Gear's "John Sergeant Award" for the best dance, after learning his time on the Top Gear test track was the fastest lap time in 2008.

The day before Jamiroquai performed their new single, "White Knuckle Ride", on The X Factor in October 2010, Kay was quoted by The Sun talking about Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue, two of the show's judges: "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, Cole and Minogue talked continuously and refused to applaud at the end or stand up.[20]

Paparazzi confrontations[edit]

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.[21]

In 2002, Jay Kay was filmed being headbutted by a photographer. His nose bled, and he received a black eye. No charges were brought.[22]

Personal life[edit]

From 1998 to 2001, Kay dated Denise van Outen. They were engaged and reported to be on the verge of marriage,[23] but split up in 2001; Jamiroquai's album A Funk Odyssey is mostly about their break-up.[citation needed] In a 2010 interview, Kay indicated that, at one time, he had a "substantial" cocaine habit. He has, however, been free of drugs since 2003.[24] He has two children.

Kay supports the Burma Campaign UK. He is also a patron of the Captive Animals Protection Society and has spoken out against animal exploitation for entertainment.[25]

Cars and vehicles[edit]

Kay has a strong interest in exotic cars, and has owned over 100 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.[26] Three of his cars appeared in the video for the song "Cosmic Girl". In total, he owns over 100 vehicles, including what he calls "staff cars" and he owned a "one-off" 1965 Ferrari 330 GT Vignale Shooting Brake.[27]

A combination of cars and music is also evident in the song "Black Devil Car" from 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.[28]

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, then 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.

At the 2014 Goodwood Festival of Speed, Kay showed off his bright green Ferrari LaFerrari, which is currently the only one of its colour in the world.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schmidt, Veronica (3 March 2009). "Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay's Ferrari Enzo smashed up". The Times. UK. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Star's secret past (From This Is Lancashire)". thisislancashire.co.uk. Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Jeremy Hart (7 September 2003). "Me & my motors: Jay Kay". The Sunday Times. UK. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Interview: Jamiroquai singer/songwriter Jason Kay". The Scotsman. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Jay Kay interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20160518121200/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ei1Nw5iprOM. Archived from the original on 18 May 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2011.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Return Of The Ealing Cowboy". NME. 18 April 2002. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "An A-Z Of Ealing Rock". The Ealing Club. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  9. ^ "Jamiroquai - Carling Homecoming, Broadway Boulevard, London (Ealing), UK". Channel 4. 15 May 2002. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  10. ^ "Archive | Homepage". This Is Lancashire. 10 March 1997. Retrieved 27 June 2013. 
  11. ^ [1] Archived 6 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "The 'fact' merry-go-round undermining Wikipedia". Channel 4 News. 18 January 2012. Archived from the original on 19 January 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  13. ^ "Jay Kay". The Sunday Times. UK. 
  14. ^ "Jay Kay quits music". Digital Spy. 
  15. ^ Jamiroquai’s Back And He’s Got A New Hat - Stereogun. 27 January. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  16. ^ Jamiroquai: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know - Heavy. 27 January 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Mad hatter". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 November 2005. 
  18. ^ Ozler, Levent (3 July 2005). "Jamiroquai to Launch Fashion Line". Dexigner. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "13 Rock Stars Who've Worn Native Headdresses (and Probably Shouldn't Have)". Indian Country Media Network. 9 June 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  20. ^ "Cheryl & Dannii 'Snub' Jamiroquai's Jay Kay". MTV UK. 1 November 2010. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  21. ^ Joe D'Angelo and Gideon Yago (20 November 2001). "Jamiroquai's Jay Kay Is A-OK After Assault Charges Dropped". MTV News. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  22. ^ Charles Miranda (14 May 2002). "Jay Kay in premiere party brawl". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  23. ^ "Jay Kay: 'I will marry Denise'". BBC News. 19 November 1999. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  24. ^ Craig McLean (19 October 2010). "Jay Kay Interview". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  25. ^ "Exclusive: The Jay Kay interview". Captive Animals' Protection Society. 
  26. ^ "Jay Kay Checks Out Ferrari 458 Spider". 13 September 2011. 
  27. ^ Top Gear (series 11)
  28. ^ "Angry Chef Trashes Rock Star's Ferrari Enzo". 4 March 2009. 
  29. ^ "Goodwood Festival of Speed 2014: Jay Kay's £1m Ferrari". 28 June 2014. 

External links[edit]