WOOING FOR WOON
Yes. The man on this slightly psychedelic colour-distorted Polaroid is indeed none other than JAMIE WOON. So happy to have him featured here on A Polaroid Story. Lord knows I have been a loyal admirer of his work the minute his music reached my ears.
If you are not familiar with JAMIE WOON, let me get you through this quick introduction.
Jamie Woon or “Jamie Finn”, is a British singer, songwriter and producer. He is one of the few lucky ones who studied at the famous BRIT school, the same school where the likes of Amy Winehouse, Adele and Katy B graduated. (He later supported Amy Winehouse live btw!) The first music he came out with was somewhere in 2007 when he released WAYFARING STRANGER. When his friend BURIAL remixed that song, it got Jamie his first real buzz. This is the original.
I really loved Jamie his gospel-ish version of this classic song. Matter of fact, I would love to see this song live backed up with a real gospel choir. I predict the goosebumps going all wild. However, the first time I ever heard of Jamie Woon was because of this RAMADANMAN remix of NIGHT AIR. I quickly discovered the real version, this time co-produced by BURIAL and what can I say, I was literally …. smitten.
I’m a huge Burial fan, Burial is on instant replay évery morning for the last three years when I go to work with the train. His music blocks out all the annoying sounds from loud chatting and yelling teenagers going to school. Burial’s music makes my early mornings completely spaced out, takes me to this bizarre dream world and allows me to doze off into a semi-sleep kinda modus surrounded by weird noises, yet peaceful enough to wake me when I need to get off the train. The combination of the sweet, subtle voice of Jamie with a Burial production backing the R’n’B layered vocals results into a soulful yet obscure ambience that I ended up liking very much.
Btw, did you know that Jamie his mother provided vocals for the Night Air track?! apparently his mother (her name is Mae McKenna) is a renowned folk singer who used to sing backing vocals for Michael Jackson, Blur, Kylie Minogue, Bjork (?!) and is featured on more than 20 number one hits! That must be the best possible pick up line for a man. I mean, it would definitely draw my attention! I’m really fond of Jamie his lyrics. For some reason I feel like I understand every word he says, and it’s been a while since somebody described the presence of the night in a way that I felt the same way about. This LADY LUCK song went unfortunately a bit on radio airplay overdose, but I will always love this song because of the lyrics. This song feels as if Jamie channelled my thoughts all the way across the pond and put them down in that one song.
Definitely check out this HUDSONMOHAWKE remix of LADY LUCK. I basically know every song from his debut album MIRRORWRITING out of my head. I played the album a lot in the bar I do extras sometimes and there is just something about playing Jamie Woon’s music on dark days in empty bars. It fits the atmosphere right but it doesn’t make it more sad or something. Just slightly melancholic. Woon’s music is suited for those grey, cold days, without making you too depressed. Not like that XX album which is pretty dark and I once played while soaking in the bathtub and I really had to change to other music because I felt like killing myself in the tub for no reason. So not in thàt way. For some weird reason Jamie his music makes less sence on sunny beaches or happy jolly days. At least to me it doesn’t. I live in Belgium where the sky is grey 9 months of the year, so combined with Jamie’s music, that is just a match in a dark clouded heaven if you ask me. And when I found out that Jamie brilliantly covered this OLIVE song YOU RE NOT ALONE, a song I was OBSESSED about when I was 13 years old, I completely went head over heels for the man. I was…sold.
I was like … THAT DUDE COVERED THÀT SONG!! I mean, who does that?! (The answer coùld be Jamie XX who also did a brilliant version of that famous Rui Da Silva song that got stuck in the dance charts for ages somewhere in 2000)
Another favorite from the album is definitely SPIRAL.
I could personally run over every Jamie Woon song from the Mirrorwriting album and spill out why exactly I love it and what it means to me, but I will save you my opinions and hopefully convinced you enough by now to check out his work for yourself. Then again, if you read this blog, you probably already have. Now with all sudden success, there also comes criticism. Jamie was suddenly catapulted as thé next talent to watch for 2011 according to BBC together with artists like James Blake. Suddenly Jamie was performing all over the world and I read and heard through the grapevine that Jamie needed to grow on the live performance department, and was not yet strong enough to entertain like a professional artist. That he still needed to grow as an artist and that his voice was a little too silent when performing live. Maybe a little bit obvious, if you consider that Jamie made most of his music in his bedroom. How would you feel if you suddenly have to conquer stages and the hearts of various massive audiences in the world, especially if you are like Jamie, which is slightly shy or timid and not really aiming for Kanye West status? I think that is certainly not to be underestimated….
Now. Let’s get to the story behind the Polaroid.
A – fun – story that is. No drama and/or tears for this one. So, if you read my latest story, you know that I took a trip to Paris to set of my mind.While hanging with LEFTO in Paris, I found out that he was scheduled to play with Theophilus London again, but this time amongst other artists like Electric Wire Hustle, Jamie Woon & De La Soul for the ‘DIESEL ONLY THE BRAVE BLOCK PARTY’ I knew that this might be a cool opportunity for a new story and that I had to be there to see if I could snatch a Polaroid or two. Besides, I gladly take àny legit excuse to go to Paris. It’s been a while since I went hunting for Polaroid so I was glad Jules (and her swag) accompanied me to Paris for this one.
Jules and I decided that we would go all out on this trip and make things a bit comfortable for ourself instead of the usual “we don’t know where to sleep” kinda trip and we booked ourself a room in MAMA SHELTER. (No not Amour, they actually have a thing called ‘service with amour’ in Mama Shelter. #punintended )
Before we left for the DIESEL event we treated ourselves on an excellent ‘à la minute ‘made fresh pizza while sitting all alone on the longest table ever. Mad funny.
And this giant lamp in the restrooms makes you feel all Alice In Wonderland-ish.
And then we were off to the DIESEL ONLY THE BRAVE BLOCK PARTY, which was actually not so ‘block’ but more ‘nature’ with festival allure.
But hey, we’re not complaining! DIESEL is always on-point in their music/event department and never seizes to disappoint me. We were apparently right on time to see JAMIE WOON perform.
But unfortunately each artist was scheduled for a 3-song performance and I was slightly disappointed to see Jamie go before I could even soak up his music. We had no time to waste, because at that point we needed to go backstage in order to take the Polaroid picture. Luckily, for once in this long history of hustling ourselves into those damn hard-to-get-in backstage areas, we had things covered. Which is good, because we were in other country after all. Lefto was so nice to hustle some extra artist-badges for us, so basically the only thing we had to do is keep our eyes open for a good moment to ask for a Polaroid. We still need to do that in a very subtle way, because most artists have scheduled press appointments, supervised by managers and I have to make sure I’m not taking somebody elses time by popping up un invited or annoying production people or management with my presence by harassing artists unexpectedly for Polaroids. I kept an eye on the Jamie Woon backstage tent/lodge and the minute I saw his crew was ready to pack and leave the backstage area we knew it was the right moment to ask for a Polaroid. I entered the tent, apologized for barging into this tent, and asked him if I could please take a Polaroid picture of him before he left the Diesel event.
Jamie was very nice and polite, and had no trouble what so ever with my proposal. I quickly explained my blog a bit, and asked him to give me two different poses. He carefully warned me that he is not the best poser, so I assured him that whatever he wanted to do is completely fine with me and gave him some suggestions of poses to make him more comfortable with the idea.
For some weird reason my camera blocked and I had to take another camera. (I always come prepared aka with 2 – sometimes 3 – cameras, hence the big bag I drag around). Tricky thing about this was, that it was supplied with expired Polaroid film from 2004 and I had absolutely no clue what the result would be. So I aimed my camera and hoped for the best. 3.2.1. Flashing. Lights. Bingo!
While waiting for the pictures to come out, I could not help myself to tell Jamie that I was slightly disappointed that his performance was so short, since I missed his sold out concerts in Belgium, and although I know his album almost by heart, I never had the pleasure to see him perform live. Well, for longer than 12 minutes that is. He said: “Well, actually, I’m playing at Social Club tonight, so if you have time, you are welcome to come. I can guest list you if you want?” What can I say. Sometimes things work simply against you, other times, things get offered on a silver platter. I happily took his invitation and gave him my card. We shook hands and Jamie and crew left the Diesel compound. I looked at the results of my Polaroids and I thought the whole ran-out colour thing fits perfectly with Jamie, no?
De La Soul was still hiding in their backstage tent,
So the only thing we could do untill they would show up is….hang. This is what Jules and I do when we hang.
Take pictures of Lefteezy like professional paparazzi.
wondering what the héll is wrong with my camera?!
Taking pictures of the surroundings
Catching up with Theophilus
Taking family pictures
Giving a helping hand or rather body to a photographer in terrible light adjustment stress for his scheduled photo shoot with De La Soul.
Taking pictures of Jules taking pictures of me.
Helping Lefto out with some additional footage for his Paris video report while he is on scene with Theophilus.
And that’s basically it. We finished the day with a good meal when I suddenly received a text message on my cellphone from Jamie Woon telling me that if I still wanted to come and check out Jamie Woon in concert I was on the list at SOCIAL CLUB. Social Club was at the other part of town. The concert was starting in 30 minutes and we had no idea how to get there in time. And this is where things got even more fun! While spending the day waiting and hanging around, we also met Theophilus his driver for the day. Turned out that Kader is hired when folks like Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna and yes… Kanye West come to the city of lights! Kader gave us his number, for whenever we needed a ride in Paris. Jules and I looked at each other and realized that this might be thé right opportunity. Kader was jùst out of duty when we called him and asked him if he would feel like picking us up and escort us to Social Club. His answer: “Be outside in 10 minutes.” Haha, I swear, when Kader came and drove up in a long black Mercedes S with blinded windows, we felt completely Gangsta! Or as Jules said to Kader in a serious tone of voice: “After Rihanna, Kanye and J-Lo, you can now proudly say to your clients that you drove with JULES DA FRIEND.”
Big shout out to Kader. Let’s have Tajine soon!
When we arrived at Social Club, there was a huge line queuing in front of the entrance. This is always a tricky part. I hate going in front of people if you are not sure you are on the list and have that awkward moment that you are instructed to go all the way back in the line because you are nowhere to be seen on that damn list. You know what I mean right? And although Jamie confirmed that we were indeed on the list, history thought me that you simply never know with artists. We were kinda relieved when the cute Social Club guest list boy told us that we were indeed on the list and that we could get in. It was my very first time in Social Club and I immediately loved it. Classic club with dark black walls and a low ceiling. My kinda trip. Jamie was already on scene when we entered. We watched Jamie perform for a good hour and I realised that this club and his music was a perfect match. I’m glad I saw Jamie for the first time in more of an intimate setting, rather than a big concert venue. I have only a few (sucky) exhibits from the club performance because by then the camera battery went to sleep.
I thought it was a perfect match for an artist who made most of his music in his bedroom. I think the comfort zone was bigger for him than playing in a big giant venue or festival filled with people with highly expectations because of all the superlatives that have been stamped on his head. Although I’m pretty sure that he will match to each and every one of those one day. He already won me over, that’s for sure.
This was the perfect ending of a very fun, light-hearted story filled with music.
What else can this blog wish for?
PS: Oh. You were wondering what happened with the De La Soul part of this story, right? Now that my friends, is a whooooole other story. Soon. 😉