Second Cup Café: Jamie Cullum

British singer-songwriter and pianist Jamie Cullum is only 26 years old, but he already has the chops and the phrasing of a seasoned jazz pro. His major label debut album, 2003's "Twentysomething" sold more than 2 million copies worldwide and was nominated for a best jazz vocal album Grammy.

He visits Second Cup Café to share songs from his latest album, "Catching Tales."

Cullum was born in Essex, England, and raised in Wiltshire. He listened to many types of music at a young age, including rock, hip-hop, acid jazz and blues. As a teenager, he discovered the music of Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis and developed his love of jazz.

He began working as a singer-pianist while still in college, snapping up jobs on cruise ships and clubs, and even playing some wedding gigs. He recorded two independent albums before signing with Universal Records in 2003.

In "Twentysomething," Cullum interpreted a broad range of music, from Cole Porter and Jimi Hendrix to Pharell Williams and Radiohead. The album also featured songs written by Cullum and his brother Ben.

As other young artists began coming out with their own takes on jazz standards, Cullum began to focus more on his original music in "Catching Tales."

"I just had loads of ideas and loads of good songs floating around and I fancied doing them," he says on his Web site. "I just had this burning desire this time to want to write."

"Catching Tales" has further solidified Cullum's position as one of the hottest young jazz crossover artists on the scene, with Billboard calling him "a fine jazz bird, a solid pop songsmith, and an exuberant performer."
  • Judy Faber

Comments