Soundtrack Of My Life – James Bay On Kings Of Leon And His Teenage Love Of Guns N’ Roses

He’s scored a number one album with debut ‘Chaos and the Calm’ and played Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage, but what are the songs that got him there? James Bay fills us in on the songs that shaped him…

The First Song I Remember Hearing

Bruce Springsteen, ‘Born In The USA’: “It was probably one of the last records that my dad was massively into before he had kids. He’s a huge rock fan – he went to the old Wembley many times purely to see the Stones and Springsteen.”

The First Song I Fell In Love With

Michael Jackson, ‘Man In The Mirror’: “‘Man In The Mirror’ was one of my first loves in music. The wonderful thing about little children listening to music is that they have no inhibitions and no cares, and back then it was the same for me; the lyrics didn’t mean anything to me, I just loved the way it sounded.”

The First Album I Bought

Guns N’ Roses, ‘Appetite For Destruction’: “I was 13, about 18 months into playing the guitar and I was fully obsessed with everything to do with it. I just wanted to listen hard and learn fast.”

The Song That Made Me Want To Make Music

The Rolling Stones, ‘Wild Horses’: “The stuff that makes me write is more ballad-like. There’s so much to that song, but it’s so natural. It sounds thrown together, but clearly so much thought went into it. It’s full of feeling and emotion.”

The Song I Wish I’d Written

Bill Withers, ‘Lean On Me’: “It’s one of the most beautiful lyrics to sing, it’s faultless. It’s one of the greatest ever songs.”

The Song That Makes Me Want To Dance

Michael Jackson, ‘Get On The Floor’: “Nothing ever made you want to step on a dancefloor like that song. There’s this massive stab of horns and I’m like, ‘Get me to the floor.’”

The Song That I Can’t Get Out Of My Head

Jack Garratt, ‘Weathered’: “He’s a great singer-songwriter and he does that thing where he can just be there with a guitar – one voice, one instrument – and make it sound amazing. He’s got an enormous voice; he takes you on a musical journey with lots of twists and turns.”

The Song I Play To Warm Up Before A Gig

The Rolling Stones, ‘Rocks Off’: “Listening to ‘Exile On Main St’ has become a tiny bit of a ritual. We go onstage with a lot of energy, so I like to get the juices flowing.”

The Song I Can No Longer Listen To

Whitney Houston, ‘I Will Always Love You’: “As fantastic as she was and she is, I listen to it now and to remedy my frustration I run back to Dolly Parton’s version and its original roots. Whitney’s version is just too overblown for me.”

The Song That Reminds Me Of Writing ‘Hold Back The River’

Kings Of Leon, ‘The Bucket’: “I was listening to Kings Of Leon and the key track was ‘The Bucket’. I loved the repetitive, relentless guitar and the pace of it; the rush at the end is the same as where I take ‘Hold Back The River’ – that was the inspiration.”