When jazz musician Jamie Cullum released his first album, Jamie Cullum Trio—Heard it All Before, in 1999, only 500 copies were made. Today, not only are copies of this very album considered a rarity, but Cullum himself has since gone on to break into the mainstream music industry, touring the world and selling 10 million copies of his albums, as well as collecting a long list of accolades that cover everything from the Brit Awards to the Grammys and the Golden Globes.
Having been appointed ambassador of the luxury hotel chain St. Regis in December last year—a move that further affirms his prowess and artistry—Cullum will be taking his music to Asia’s little red dot on May 13 as part of the “Jazz Legends at the St. Regis” series, which stands as a testament to the brand’s long standing affinity with the musical genre.
DestinAsian caught up with Cullum before the event next month to discuss his favorite St. Regis property, his thoughts on Asia’s jazz industry, and his favorite travel destination.
What do you enjoy the most about performing at the St. Regis?
The shows I have done for St. Regis have all been unique; a unique atmosphere and very intimate. Each hotel has created a beautiful space for me to play in. It has allowed me to play at small concerts that are truly one of a kind.
Which St. Regis hotel is your favorite?
It is very hard to beat the St Regis in New York City. In its original form, stuffed full of tradition and luxury but always with modern twists and unparalleled service. They always make me feel like I have my own room there!
Having performed in Asia several times before, what’s one thing about this region that you find most fascinating?
I have to say the food! The emphasis on different ingredients and flavors is so exciting to me. I have had many of my most memorable meals in Asia.
What are your thoughts on the jazz music scene in Asia?
It seems to me to be very vibrant and alive. There is a genuine appreciation for jazz-influenced music throughout Asia that extends into the younger generations as well. I have enjoyed many successful tours and headline festival dates throughout Asia for many years now. I always have a wonderfully responsive crowd.
How has the way you make music and your sound evolved since your first album?
I think it evolves all the time—that’s definitely a good thing. I can more confidently weave contemporary elements into my music now without it feeling forced or contrived. This hopefully creates a sound that is both classic and contemporary. It comes with increased confidence and experience. But the truth is every time I start something new I feel like a beginner again and that is what makes it exciting enough to keep coming back.