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James Bay: 'Wayne Rooney sang Hold Back The River with me'

James Bay: 'Wayne Rooney sang Hold Back The River with me'

December 3, 2016, 6:00 pm

Bay discusses playing the Grammys, dueting with Justin Bieber at the Brits and performing with Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville.

James Bay talks about his highlights of the year as he looks back at 2016 with an intimate chat with Q magazine.

On playing the Grammys and meeting Dave Grohl

On the night, I was performing [with fellow New Artist nominee Tori Kelly] and kept saying to myself beforehand, ‘I’m nervous and it’s going to get worse.’ I was wandering backstage and Dave Grohl went, ‘Hey! I know you!’ He tried to shake my hand but I had to say [wipes hands on thighs], ‘I’m sorry, it’s very wet, I’ve just been to the toilet and there were no paper towels.’ He didn’t recoil, he was a consummate pro. That helped break it up and keep it light. When I got to the bottom of the steps about to perform, the nerves all just fell away and I was pretty zen – that’s what I recall most about the night.”

On dueting with Justin Bieber at the Brits

My little cameo with Bieber was fun. He was great. He’s got a lot of people around him to make sure things run smoothly – and they do. He can really talk musically though. We only had 90 seconds [to perform Bieber’s Love Yourself] and I’d gone away and worked out how to cut the song down and he was really down with it. The Grammys were great but the Brits are a bit more of a party and there’s a higher sense of belonging because it’s home turf – a bit like making your debut at St James’s Park for Newcastle United if you’re a Geordie. Even the papers were asking the next day what was in the Champagne because it was intense, knock-your-socks off stuff.”

On performing with Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville

I performed at The England Footballers Foundation charity event in May in front of the England squad. Wayne Rooney sang Hold Back The River with me while Gary Neville played guitar. Wayne’s a wonderful, wonderful bloke who likes to sing and loves music. Gary was wicked. Bless him, he was so nervous. To see Gary Neville shaking is humbling cos he’s done so much on the pitch.
Pelé was there too There were a few people there to meet him but he just pushed through the crowd – and he’s got guys to help him walk because you can’t imagine what his legs have been through with opponents trying to kick him off the pitch – and said, ‘I loved your music.