In that vein, Cullum will just as often cover a swinging jazz standard as a modern rock song, and his original compositions deftly move from earnest ballads to songs of sardonic wit. Having played guitar and piano since age eight, Cullum developed an avid interest in jazz passed down from his older brother Ben. Inspired by such piano icons as Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck, Cullum spent some of his formative years living in Paris, where he honed his abilities performing in jazz clubs. Cullum eventually earned a degree from Reading University, during which time he recorded his first album, Heard It All Before, at age 19. Its surprise success eventually put him in contact with jazz bassist Geoff Gascoyne, who offered Cullum the opportunity to play on his album Songs of the Summer. With Gascoyne's encouragement, Cullum eventually recorded his second album, Pointless Nostalgic, released in 2002. The album benefited from a boost of publicity as it received heavy airplay on TV and radio personality Michael Parkinson's BBC 2 radio show.
Cullum eventually signed with Universal Records and released his breakthrough third full-length, Twentysomething, in 2003. The album charted all over the world, sold millions of copies, and made him the fastest-selling British jazz artist in history. Catching Tales and the compilation/mixtape album In the Mind of Jamie Cullum followed in 2005 and 2007, respectively. In 2009, Cullum was nominated along with Clint Eastwood for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song for their composition "Gran Torino." A year later, he released the album The Pursuit. In 2013, Cullum returned with his sixth studio album, Momentum; it performed respectably the U.K., reaching 20 on the album charts, but didn't make much of a ripple in the U.S. Cullum's seventh album, Interlude, saw release in October of 2014 in most parts of the world -- including his native U.K., where it entered the charts at 19 -- but wasn't scheduled for U.S. release until 2015. ~ Matt Collar, Rovi