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James Blake

James Blake

Since breaking through with his eponymous debut album in 2011, classical pianist-turned-electronic producer James Blake has become one of the most esteemed musicians of his generation. That record – which peaked at No.2 on the UK albums chart and featured the singles Limit To Your Love, Lindisfarne/Unluck and The Wilhelm Scream – was also nominated for the 2011 Mercury Prize.

Known for his delicate vocals and electronic experimentation, Blake went on to release three more albums in the ’10s. His follow-up, 2013’s Overgrown, saw him collect a Mercury Prize. Blake’s third album, 2016’s The Colour In Anything, not only boasted contributions from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon on I Need A Forest Fire and Frank Ocean on My Willing Heart, but also artwork by renowned illustrator Quentin Blake. In addition, a heavily pregnant Natalie Portman starred in the black and white video for My Willing Heart.

In the years that followed, the genre-defying musician has also done a series of seemingly unlikely hip hop and R&B collaborations with such artists as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Chance The Rapper and Kendrick Lamar, not to mention working on a couple of tracks for The Black Panther film soundtrack. One of those songs, King’s Dead (with Lamar, Jay Rock and Future), led to Blake winning his first Grammy for Best Rap Performance in 2018.

His fourth album Assume Form came out in 2019. He teased fans by projecting an image with the album’s title and his face in London and also with a billboard in New York's Times Square. Assume Form contained even more collaborations with the likes of Travis Scott, Rosalía, Metro Boomin and Moses Sumney.

Blake issued two EPs – Covers and Before – in 2020. In summer 2021, he revealed the lead single Say What You Will from his fifth album Friends That Break Your Heart, due out on 8 October 2021. A concept album, it features guest spots from SZA, Monica Martin and others.

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