The following is a Sony Music US mini-biography written shortly before the American release of Travelling Without Moving.
Over the course of two acclaimed albums Jamiroquai have pushed the beat to new dimensions and in the process have helped to redefine the parameters of soul. That willingness to take a chance and bring the noise is evident on their third album Travelling Without Moving. Already a smash hit in the UK, Europe and the Far East, Travelling Without Moving blissfully merges old school chops, rare groove rhythms and one world consciousness, resulting in a fluid junky record that is Jamiroquai's most accomplished and mature work to date.
Travelling Without Moving was written by the band and produced by its irrepressible front man Jason (Jay) Kay with Al Stone. Shifting from the silky tenderness of Spend A Lifetime to the disco flavoured title track, or the hit jungle collaboration with M Beat, Do You Know Where You're Coming From, Jamiroquai takes you on a joyous musical journey. As Jay says "Its funkier and catchier than our past records. I wanted this to be an up album, with memorable choruses and stronger hooks. Thats something I hadnt exploited before."
Jamiroquai's sharpened pop sensibility is obvious on the first single Cosmic Girl, a sexy futuristic love song set to a slinky Philly International groove and anchored by Jays soulful vocals. Also noteworthy is Virtual Insanity. Propelled by a sunny, finger popping melody, Virtual Insanity examines the underbelly of future technology, tackles the unlikely subject of genetic engineering and filters it through Jays unique perspective. It is that perspective, along with his undeniable charisma and willingness to take a stand that caused leading British magazine to declare, "There arent many stars worth a damn, but Jay is there."
Jason Kay was brought up with music. His mother was a jazz singer and as a kid Jay (or JK as his friends call him) tagged along on her gigs, soaking up the atmosphere and the sounds. In love with American soul and mid 70's jazz-soul fusion greats like Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers, Jay set about forming a band that would reflect his respect for the groove but that would speak to Londons club culture.
That group was Jamiroquai: the name was inspired by Jays affinity for the Iroquois nation and by his determination to create music that jammed and flowed. Quickly the 22 year old boy with the voice that conjured up Stevie Wonder was the toast of the cognoscenti and, more importantly, the kids. In 1992, their underground classic When You Gonna Learn, released on the indie label Acid Jazz, gave a face to the burgeoning musical movement. It also made Jamiroquai the subject of a very intense bidding war, one that was eventually won by Sony, who signed the group to an 8-album deal.
Emergency On Planet Earth debuted at number 1 on the British charts, making Jamiroquai the top selling UK debut act of 1993. Heralded for their spacey blur of rhythm, rhyme, and eco-politics, Jamiroquai quickly established themselves worldwide and Jay was singled out by the tough American press for his soul-boy style. Emergency On Planet Earth found Jamiroquai positioned as one of Englands biggest breakout acts.
1995's Return Of The Space Cowboy proved that the band was no flash in the pan. The CD went platinum in the UK and a critically acclaimed tour solidified Jamiroquai's growing American fan base. Yet despite the growing buzz, Jay began to feel the sting of the British press, who tore into his often outspoken statements and tried to take him to task for his off the cuff remarks. Jay brushes off the criticism. "Look, if I were a great orator I'd be a politician, but Im not. I'm good at making my point through songs."
The point is well taken on Travelling Without Moving. An admittedly happier record than Return Of The Space Cowboy, Travelling Without Moving is playful yet introspective. Whether taking on drugs on the reflective High Times or just letting the beat move you on the inventive Didjerama (featuring the bands trademark didgeridoo), Travelling Without Moving is Jamiroquai's missive for 1997. And proof that trends dont survive, talent does.