I’ve always been a lover of music. Played the piano since the age of 5, the clarinet through high school, performed in Gilbert and Sullivan productions, school choirs, even conducted – all this has led to a love of a wide variety of genres, from pop to jazz to classical to opera to almost anything in between. I have my favorite musicians and bands, but I’m not really the celebrity worshipping type.
There is one musician, however, that makes me dance and sing and jump up and down and cry.
Though a star in Europe and the UK’s biggest jazz artist, he is not well known on this side of the pond. But he sure as heck should be.
My love for his music started years ago when I happened across his song Twentysomething, from his 2003 album with the same title. I became an instant fan. Lyrics, melodies – you name, I loved it.
Fast forward 3 albums and 10 years…Mother’s Day 2014 – my husband gave me tickets to see Jamie Cullum in Brooklyn later that month. I was beyond excited! I’d never seen him in concert and started counting the days till our trip to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) – which is an awesome venue, by the way.
I felt like a school girl waiting for him to come on stage, absolutely giddy with excitement! And yes, I’m 45 years old, happily married and mother to 3 kids. I could barely contain myself! I clapped, sang, cheered, stood and danced through his incredible performance. I even cried.
Yes, I cried. 2014 had been pretty brutal. His concert came at a point in time where everything was crashing down around me. Our family was having a difficult year with some major upheavals, and I was suffering with severe depression, anxiety, health woes – everything was wrong. I was struggling to find even brief moments of happiness. But as I stood in the beautiful theater, next to my husband, I closed my eyes and let the energy of Jamie Cullum’s music – his passion, his love for glorious sound – surround me, and I cried. I felt some of my love for life return. Aww heck, I’m crying now just thinking about that moment.
Like any good fan, I follow Jamie Cullum on social media. I saw he was coming to NYC to the Blue Note in September. I got tickets that day. The Blue Note also happens to be where my husband took me on our first date. How could we not go? It’s an intimate setting, and of course, his performance was everything I knew it would be. And like any well-mannered groupie, I asked politely (I think it was his manager?) if I could get his autograph. I had brought my copy of the Twentysomething music book in the hope that I could get him to sign it. And well, he did. It is now a prized possession.
And last night, we went to see him again in NYC, this time at the famous Beacon Theater. And again, I sang, cheered, clapped and danced with abandon, loving every song and the energy that this man has for his music. And his fans. Jamie Cullum is a performer, through and through. (And as an aside – husband and I went out for dinner before the show, sat next to a couple who were also heading to the concert – turns out we live in the same New Jersey town, shop at the same stores and even know some of the same people! Jamie Cullum, bringing people together.)
So Jamie, I consider myself a groupie – not in the 1960s sense, but in the mature, polite, middle aged mom sense. You have reignited a passion for music in me, and for joy in life. Thank you for your music, your energy and your performances that showcase what a brilliant musician you are.
Oh, and of course, I think you’re super cute. What kind of groupie would I be if I didn’t say that?