Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay paid tribute to late keyboardist and songwriting partner Toby Smith at the BMI Awards last night.
Other winners at the Dorchester Hotel in London were Tito Jackson, Naughty Boy, Foals and Kyla and many more. Taking to the stage to accept the BMI President’s Award, Kay dedicated the award to Smith – who passed away back in April, aged just 46. He also thanked his partner Maria for “putting up” with him for being a “proper grump bag”.
“I’m very happy to receive this award tonight, it’s been 30 years since I began a career in music, and I’m lucky to still be able to do my thing and express it through songs,” said Jay Kay, accepting his award. There’s still no better buzz really, than starting off with that ‘thing’ in your head and letting it get to the stage where you hear it on the radio, in front of loads of people, all over the world, it’s a real privilege.”
Smith played with the band for 10 years between 1992 and 2002 before leaving to ‘spend more time with his family’. He was keyboard player and co-writer of the band’s early hits and albums, right up to and including the release of ‘A Funk Odyssey’ in 2001. Recent years saw him produce and write songs for record by the likes of The Hoosiers and Matt Cardle.
“I love you so much,” wrote Original Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender at the time of Smith’s death. “My big brother Toby crossed over to the other side last night. All my fondest memories are of him and the band that we created. The most talented musician I have ever had the honour to make music with. There will never be another like you Toby. Your light will shine on eternally.
“Thank you for making mine and everyone’s life so bright. I celebrate your love and life! Rest in Love. Your bald brother Stu.”