James Bay in Black and White / by Liz Brown

In highschool and even a little into college, I had time to scour myspace and Facebook and Pure Volume and find new music. The older I get, the more life demands my time and the less time I have to wander the internet for new songs. A few of my younger friends have been lovely and recommended new music to me so I stay moderately relevant, but rarely do I find artists myself anymore.

Somehow around April, I stumbled across James Bay. Perhaps I’d heard a song on the radio and spontaneously decided to listen to the entire album. However it happened, I discovered him and as a result, his music is quite endearing to me. 


For the seven months I processed claims, I listened to music in my cubicle from 7:25am to 4pm. James Bay’s The Chaos and the Calm became how I woke up; it was my first cup of coffee in the morning. I’d fill my french press with water and coffee from the last city I’d visited and I’d begin that album. Sometimes once-through, sometimes until noon.

Shooting James was on my photography bucket list. Between his music and his general photogenic-ness (he models for Burberry), I hoped to shoot his show someday. And I still hope to get portraits of him.

As of the Friday morning prior to the Saturday night show in Kansas City, my friend Brittany and I only had tickets. I didn’t have a photo pass and I was still pretty content with that. I would dance and sing every single word and it would be beautiful. By 2pm on that same Friday, I’d received an email confirming a photo pass. Undeserved and grateful.

That Saturday night I was the only one in the photo pit during James Bay’s set. The only one. In a giant theatre of beautiful faces and delicate melodies and deep feelings, I was right there in the middle of it. The night was poetry and if I can even do a fraction of justice in illustrating that poetry, I’ll be satisfied. 

Grateful and full of words. Thank you.