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Jamiroquai Biography

Home > Music > J > Jamiroquai > Biography

Genres: Alternative/Indie, Electronica/Dance, Pop

Jamiroquai is a British jazz funk and acid jazz band formed in 1992. Fronted by lead singer Jay Kay, Jamiroquai were initially the most prominent component in the early-1990s London-based acid jazz movement, alongside groups such as Incognito, the James Taylor Quartet, and the Brand New Heavies.

Jamiroquai's first single, “When You Gonna Learn,” was released in 1992 on the Acid Jazz label. Following its success, Kay signed an eight-album record deal with Sony Music Entertainment. The first Sony album, “Emergency on Planet Earth” was released in 1993. It was followed in 1994 by “The Return of the Space Cowboy.” The single “Space Cowboy” gained notice on the music charts and in club rotation.

While Jamiroquai was growing in popularity in the U.K., Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, they remained relatively unknown to U.S. and other international audiences. The band's American breakthrough came with the third album, “Travelling Without Moving” in 1996, which yielded two big hits, “Virtual Insanity” and “Cosmic Girl.” The success of “Virtual Insanity” was due in part to its Jonathan Glazer-directed video, which featured Kay's dance moves and some physics-defying images.

In 1998, Jamiroquai released “Deeper Underground,” the first single from their fourth studio album, “Synkronized,” which also appeared in the soundtrack for the 1998 movie “Godzilla.” The acid jazz flavors and ethnic influences of the first three albums continued with the release of “Synkronized,” and Jay Kay's interest in funk and disco music were shifting the band's directions towards such.

By their fifth album, 2001’s “A Funk Odyssey,” they had evolved so drastically, that some critics and listeners would remark they lost the “Jamiroquai sound.” With the departure of more and more original band members, including Wallis Buchanan and his didgeridoo, Jamiroquai had become a very different band than that of 1992. In spite of the changes, the fifth album's first single, “Little L,” reached #1 on many charts worldwide.

Their sixth album, titled “Dynamite” was released in June 2005. It reached #3 on the U.K. charts. The first single, “Feels Just Like It Should” was released early in June, the second, “Seven Days in Sunny June” released in August 2005, followed by the third, “(Don't) Give Hate A Chance” in November 2005.

Jamiroquai released a greatest hits collection, “High Times: Singles 1992-2006” in November 2006. The release of this album marked the end of Kay’s eight-album contract with Sony. The album reached the #1 spot on the U.K. album chart after its first week of release. The album featured two new tracks, “Runaway” and “Radio.”

In March 2006, Jamiroquai announced their switch to Columbia Records. After leaving Sony, the band began to work on their seventh project, and several collaborations and side-projects.

In November 2010, they released their long anticipated seventh album, “Rock Dust Light Star.” Recorded in Jay Kay's home studio in Buckinghamshire, it saw a return to their earlier, less pop-like sound. Despite both singles, “Blue Skies” and “White Knuckle Ride” reaching into Top 100 charts worldwide, the album sold around half the amount of their previous album “Dynamite.”

In June 2011, the band released a new track called “Smile” which had a sound similar to that of the early albums and has been met with high appraisal amongst fans and critics alike.