About James Blake
James Blake Litherland is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer from London. He first received recognition for a series of 2010 EPs including CMYK and Klavierwerke, and he released his self-titled debut album in 2011 to critical praise. His second album Overgrown was released in 2013, bringing him to international attention, and later was awarded the Mercury Prize. In 2016, he released his third album The Colour in Anything and his fourth album Assume Form in 2019, both receiving positive reviews and the latter becoming his highest-peaking album in the US Billboard 200, at number 21.
During his career, he has collaborated with artists including Mount Kimbie and Bon Iver and has contributed production work to artists including Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Vince Staples, Frank Ocean, and Travis Scott. He has won a Mercury Prize from two nominations, a Grammy Award from five nominations, including for Best New Artist in 2014; and three Brit Award nominations.
James Blake is the son of musician James Litherland, and showed a strong interest and aptitude in music from a young age. He received classical training in piano as a child, and completed primary education at Grange Park Primary School, Winchmore Hill and secondary education at The Latymer School, Edmonton. Later on, he attended Goldsmiths, University of London, where he received a degree in Popular Music. While at school, Blake and friends hosted a series of "Bass Society" music nights that featured UK artists such as Distance, Skream and Benga.
Blake began his music career by releasing his debut 12" record, entitled "Air & Lack Thereof" in the United Kingdom during July 2009, while being persistent in recording songs in his bedroom. Having been released on the imprint record label, Hemlock, the extended play became a favourite of BBC Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson. Soon after the release of the record Blake was invited by Peterson to do a special mix on his international show, including an exclusive Mount Kimbie track. As a second-year composition assignment for his studies at Goldsmiths, he submitted the Klavierwerke EP which was awarded high marks.
A third EP, entitled CMYK, was released through R&S Records during 2010. The title track, "CMYK" was selected by BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw as his Record of the Week and also received airplay from other DJs. On 29 September 2010, Zane Lowe selected Blake's cover version of "Limit to Your Love" as his "Hottest Record in the World". The song was written and originally recorded by Feist and appeared on her studio album, The Reminder. The single was released in the United Kingdom on 28 November 2010, where it debuted on the UK Singles Chart at number 47.
Blake was nominated for the BBC's Sound of 2011, an annual poll that highlights the forthcoming year's likely successful musicians; he was eventually placed second, ahead of fellow shortlisted acts; The Vaccines, Jamie Woon and Clare Maguire. It was also revealed on 15 December 2010 that Blake had been made the runner-up behind singer-songwriter Jessie J at the BRIT Awards' "Critic's Choice". In January 2011, Blake was awarded Single of the Year for "CMYK" at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards. Blake's work found itself on numerous 2010 year-end best-of lists, with "CMYK" ranking 24th on Frontier Psychiatrist's top 40 songs of the year,the Bells Sketch/CMYK/Klavierwerke EPs ranking 8th on Pitchfork Media's top 50 albums of 2010, and "I Only Know " ranking 8th on Pitchfork's top 100 tracks of 2010.
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