UK Jazz Artist Jamie Cullum Interviews Billy Joel for Two-Part BBC 2 Radio Special, broadcast December 6th and 13th, 2016
Jamie Cullum interviews one of his musical heroes – the legendary American musician, performer and composer Billy Joel. The musicians first met at Madison Square Garden where Jamie opened 4 shows in 2014 and 2015. Billy sat down with Jamie while in London the day before his Wembley Stadium show in September 2016.
In two special 60-minute programs, Jamie Cullum – a life-long fan of Billy and his music – talks to him about his career, his songwriting, and the great musicians and singers who have influenced him.
He recalls growing up in a musical household, his mother dragging a reluctant four-year-old Billy to piano lessons and his slowly developing love for classical music. “Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy…I love all that stuff.”
Jamie gets to the heart of Billy’s songwriting and composing methods: the observation, the storytelling and the complex musical structures inspired from his favorite classical composers. Even Gilbert and Sullivan get a namecheck from Billy for influencing one of his best-loved songs. And we hear how Billy composed all his hits “backwards,” compared to most songwriters. “I always write the music first. 99.9% of the time, the music comes first. Not the lyrics, I have no idea what I’m going to write about, I have no idea what the words are going to be.”
Jamie and Billy discuss the stories behind Joel’s biggest hits and the lesser known album tracks that have become live show favorites. And Billy explains why he’s released virtually no new pop material since 1993. “People say ‘Thought you weren’t writing anymore?’ – well I am, I’m just not writing songs. I’m writing music. And I have been for the past 27 years.”
Billy also talks about his deep love for jazz, the influence it has on his own work and his admiration for great jazz piano players like Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans.
This is a rare and exclusive chance to hear two great performers sit down and talk about their shared love of music.
Link to Broadcast:
10pm British time is 5pm EST 2PM PST
For more info on Jamie Cullum: