James Bay wins British Male Solo Artist at Brits 2016

Alumni Success

On the back of his Brits Critics’ Choice for 2015, winning British Male Solo Artist is another great indicator that BIMM Brighton alumnus James Bay has a great future in front of him.

Vaseema Hamilton, the principal of BIMM’s London, Brighton, Bristol and Berlin colleges, has nothing but praise for James:

If any young professional deserves to reap the rewards of their prodigious talent, hard work and absolute dedication to their music it is James Bay. As soon as James joined us at BIMM in Brighton we knew he was something very special – an incredible guitar player with a mature, blues-based sound, combined with unique and memorable vocals.”

Ian Sillett, Songwriting Programme Leader, described him as the “perfect student”. He said, “I couldn’t be happier for James. As soon as he started we knew he was something special.

James was in great company with fellow nominees Mark Ronson, Calvin Harris, Aphex Twin and Jamie XX, and was nominated for no less than three other awards at this year’s Brits. Alongside Best British Male, James was also up for British Breakthrough, British Single for ‘Hold Back The River’ and MasterCard British Album for his debut ‘Chaos and the Calm’.


After receiving his award – presented to him by Kylie Minogue – James thanked his management, record labels, (Republic Records and Virgin Records), and his family for believing in him.

“Wow, thank you very, very much….this is insane!”

Speaking backstage, he said:

“I feel fantastic. My debut album hasn’t even been out a year. It’s very cool. It’s surreal.

James joined  International Male Solo Artist winner, Justin Bieber to play guitar on a stripped-back version of ‘Love Yourself’’.

“I had met Bieber at 4 am after an Italian EMA thing at a party….There was a spot for the show that they needed a guitar player… they asked if I fancied doing it, and I said yeah!

He then took the stage for a second time to perform his nominated song ‘Hold Back The River‘.

As presenter Ant McPartlin summed up, James’ electrifying performance was “Absolutely brilliant!

During his interview with Ant, James gave advice to this year’s Critics’ Choice winner, Jack Garratt, who was on his table:

“Keep doing everything you’re doing.”

James was amongst fellow BIMM alumni at the Brits, including Ed Drewett (who co-wrote Black Magic by Little Mix) and fellow Critics’ Choice nominee Izzy Bizu, who performed at the Brits Aftershow Party.

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POSTED ON: February 25, 2016
  • Global, Guitar, Songwriting, Vocals