Über Jamie Cullum
Already the biggest selling British jazz artist of all time, Jamie Cullum quickly crossed over into the pop world with a sound that marries superior piano chops with an upbeat variation on confessional 1970s singer-songwriter material. Unlike the stereotype of introspective singer-songwriters, Jamie Cullum's extroverted personality marries high energy, old-fashioned showmanship with breezy English wit. A professional since his formative years, he learned to captivate diffident pub and pizza joint audiences with a frenetic: "Look over here! I'll do anything to entertain you!" performing style. This works because the pianist actually has the talent to pull just about anything off and a self-deprecating wit that stops him from looking like a show-off. While he is a kinetic swing-to-bop pianist, he's developed a vocal style that recalls Billy Joel more than Frank Sinatra, which helps distinguish him from the post-Harry Connick Jr. pack of retro-pianists and crooners. Seeing his pop potential, Universal signed Cullum to a deal that promised to promote him outside of the jazz ghetto. The gamble quickly paid off as his major label debut Twentysomething -- a mix of original tunes and standards -- instantly conquered the British jazz charts and continued sailing up to the top of the pop charts in 2003. Twentysomething is an easy album to like, and its multigenerational appeal coupled with the musician's heavy touring schedule has helped it sell around the world. The follow-up Catching Tales saw Cullum boldly recruit the likes of Dan The Automator and move from covering the Doves to delivering a fresh take on Harry Warren's "I Only Have Eyes For You," while still managing to keep the Essex-born, Wiltshire-raised Brit's voice and piano at the heart of affairs.