Jamie T is back! Need a refresher on the returning troubadour’s career to date? Fret not… Jamie first came to NME’s attention back in 2005, playing Whorefest in London. The one-day festival was put on by London indie club night White Heat, and saw a young Jamie Treays playing on the same bill as the Long Blondes, Blood Red Shoes, Les Incompetents and Vincent Vincent and The Villains.
Playing an acoustic bass guitar, the teenager sang boozy tales of suburban London life like a delinquent Billy Bragg. He was soon branded ‘a one man Arctic Monkeys’ for his deadpan delivery and scuzzy sound.
Jamie’s first release was the ‘Selfish Sons’ EP, which featured ‘So Lonely Was The Ballad’ and ‘Back In The Game’. The EP was a ragged, rugged mash-up of folk, hip hop and reggae, and marked the South London singer out as a true original.
Jamie T released his first mixtape, Panic Prevention Vol. 1 in 2005. The cassette only release featured everyone from punks The Clash and Rancid to Prince, Paul Weller, Billy Idol’s Generation X and reggae originals Toots and the Maytals. It was given out by Jamie for free during his autumn tour supporting Tom Vek.
Two more cassette mixes followed in late 2005 and early 2006, with Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 giving further insight into Jamie’s musical inspiration, with folk singer John Martyn, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Gangstar and Dangermouse sitting alongside his own Turn To Monsters’ remix of Gorillaz’ ‘Kids with Gunz’.
In 2006 released his signature single, Sheila. The tale of a messed up, pissed up girl, it was re-released in 2007, backed by a video featuring the late, great Bob Hoskins and hit Number 15 in the UK charts.
January 2007 saw the release of Jamie’s debut album, ‘Panic Prevention’ on Virgin. Scoring rave reviews across the board, the LP went Gold in the UK and bagged itself a Top Five chart placing. The artwork saw Jamie sat in his home studio surrounded by records and studio gear.
His first Top Ten single came in the shape of ‘Calm Down Dearest’, which was released just before his album. It was backed with ‘Fox News’ and came in at very respectable Number Nine.
Jamie T was crowned Best Solo Artist at the NME Awards in 2007, beating Jarvis Cocker, Lily Allen and Thom Yorke. He was spotted hanging out with Billy Bragg at the ceremony.
That spring, Jamie headed off to Austin, Texas for SXSW. He slayed the crowds at NME’s party at Stubb’s, playing on a bill alongside Lily Allen. Allen would go on to contribute backing vocals to Jamie’s song ‘Rawhide’ – the b-side to the re-released ‘Sheila’ – later that year.
Summer 2007 saw Jamie T crowned unofficial king of the festivals, playing everything from Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds to Radio 1’s Big Weekend as well as a host of Euro fests.
‘Panic Prevention’ was nominated for 2007’s Mercury Music Prize, given the prestigious nod alongside Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ and Bat For Lashes’ ‘Fur & Gold’. All of which lost out to Klaxons’ debut ‘Myths of the Near Future’.
Aside from a killer appearance at V Festival and a nomination for Best British Male Solo Artist at The Brits, 2008 saw Jamie T retreat from the limelight to work on his second album, ‘Kings & Queens’.
To thank people for waiting around for a year with no new material, in January 2009 Jamie put out the punky non-album track ‘Fire Fire’, telling NME: “’Fire Fire’ won’t be released as a single nor will it be on the new album, it is just a thank you for the fans being so patient.”
In May 2009 Jamie unveiled the video for new single ‘Sticks ‘N’ Stones’, which featured him and his bandmates in backing group The Pacemakers causing havoc on the streets of Wimbledon.
‘Sticks ‘N’ Stones’ was the first track to be taken from Jamie’s second album, ‘Kings & Queens’, and was released as a four song EP, alongside ‘St Christopher’, ‘On The Green’ and ‘The Dance of the Young Professionals’. It hit Number 15 in the Official UK Singles Chart.
Over the summer, Jamie T contributed a remix of Florence and the Machine’s ‘Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)’ to the song’s single release. Florence Welch also contributed backing vocals to Jamie’s second album, but they ended up on the cutting room floor.
Another four-track release came ahead of ‘Kings & Queens’, the ‘Chaka Demus’ EP – which also featured ‘Forget Me Not (The Love I Knew Before I Grew)’, ‘Planning Spontaneity’ and ‘When They Are Gone (For Tim)’.
‘Kings & Queens’ followed a week later, with a UK release on September 7, 2009. It went straight in at Number Two in the Official UK Album Charts, his highest ever chart position. Like ‘Panic Prevention’ before it, ‘Kings & Queens’ also reached Gold sales status.
Jamie postponed his Australian, European and British autumn shows, after contracting laryngitis.
In February 2010, Jamie played two triumphant sold out shows at London’s Brixton Academy. The shows – which were rescheduled from the end of 2009 – and saw him rattling through material from his two albums to huge skanking crowds.
In 2010 Jamie was named Best Solo Artist for the second time at the NME Awards. This time he beat Julian Casablancas, Florence and the Machine, Dizzee Rascal and Lady Gaga to score the gong.
‘Emily’s Heart’ was the last single to be released from ‘Kings & Queens’. One of Jamie’s most tender songs, the acoustic ballad was backed by a furious cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Atlantic City’.
Following a headline slot on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury and an appearance at T In The Park, Jamie T’s final gig was at V Festival 2010. Rumours begin to surface that he’d moved to New York, swapping South London for the Big Apple.
In April 2012, Jamie’s label told NME that he was in the studio working on new material. Fans across the world got a wee bit excited, but new songs never materialised.
In December 2012 Jamie T broke his almost three year long silence. As part of Tim Timebomb and Friends, he was heard guesting on Tim Armstrong from Rancid’s side project, singing on a new version of the track ‘Wrongful Suspicion’. “It’s always fun being with Jamie, and playing music together – whenever we are lucky enough, and the planets decide to line up,” said Tim and his band.
Rumblings about a brand new Jamie T album resurfaced at the start of this year, as pictures of Jamie’s name on a recording studio noticeboard made their way onto Twitter.
Then, earlier this week Jamie T posted a handwritten note online, announcing a trio of live dates. His first shows in four years are set to take place at the end of July in Glasgow, Liverpool and Portsmouth. Within minutes he was trending on Twitter, with Christmas coming early for Jamie T fans across the world.