By Geoffrey Rowlands
With a real name of Timucin Fabian Kwong Wah Aluo, it’s perfectly understandable that the 29-year-old London-based producer, DJ, musician and songwriter should select the short and simple Jax Jones for his stage moniker.
“I suppose I might have gone with Tim Aluo,” he laughed. “But I wanted something different for my stage name. There is a saying about being alone which is being on your Jack Jones. I did all my early stuff alone so that gave me the idea of using the name Jack Jones.
“But I found there was already someone named Jack Jones in the music business. He’s an American singer who had hit records in the 1960s and won two Grammys. He’s quite elderly now but still performing so I couldn’t use his name. I decided on Jax Jones, which I think is actually more appropriate for someone who creates dance tracks.”
Tim/Jax could easily have pursued a high academic career. His schoolwork was so good that a place was on offer at Oxford University.
“I turned down the interview for Oxford and attended Brunel University in Uxbridge which is so much nearer the studio where I was creating my music. I appreciated the importance of a good education but I always knew music was what I wanted to do in my career.”
He could have been a classical guitarist.
“I started learning classical guitar when I was about 11. But I began coming up with my own riffs. I wanted to be like Slash from Guns N’ Roses rather than the great classical guitarist Andres Segovia.”
His parents recognised their son’s talent. “They bought me a little four-track recorder. I used this to record my own music and was able to programme drums on to each song. The software became more sophisticated as I developed my ability.”
He also credits his parents, particularly his stepfather, for his eclectic musical taste.
“Mine was a multi-ethnic household. My mother is Malaysian. She was into music ranging from Kylie Minogue to Luther Vandross. My stepfather is Nigerian. He listened to a lot of blues and R&B plus African stuff.”
Having gained a following through posting his songs online, he found further fame through playing at open mic nights and producing grime tracks for artists such as Roadside Gs and Big Narstie. He also performed acclaimed DJ sets in prominent London clubs. An engagement to perform at the Capital Summertime Ball in 2013 set Jax on the road to chart stardom.
“Duke Dumont was also on the bill. He’d had a massive number one earlier in the year with Need You (100%). I was a bit cheeky playing him some of my own songs during a break in rehearsals. Luckily, he liked my stuff and suggested we should work together. We created tracks such as Won’t Look Back and Ocean Drive but our biggest song from the collaboration was I Got U!”
The track proved hugely popular topping both the UK singles chart and Billboard’s dance Club Songs chart. But after enjoying such great success back in 2014, it seems surprising that Jax has taken so long to return to the upper reaches of the UK chart with his current top three hit, You Don’t Know Me.
“I’ve been so busy with other things. It’s not like being an artist who writes and records songs, puts them out and promotes them. That’s all they do. But there are so many aspects to my career. I produce other artists, do remixing work, collaborate on songs with other producers and DJs, plus perform my DJ shows. It doesn’t leave a lot of time to create my own music.”
His single, House Work, was a minor hit last year. But You Don’t Know Me has become a smash. Jax modestly credits the vocals of teenage singer Raye for much of the song’s popularity.
“People might remember her brilliant performance on Jonas Blue’s 2016 single, By Your Side. I can’t say enough good things about Raye. She came third in the BBC’s Sound of 2017 poll. She has a fabulous voice, writes great songs and is definitely going to be a star.”
Justin Bieber has set a number of UK chart records over the last year or so. But the Canadian heart-throb singer has now lost one of them to Ed Sheeran.
The English singer/songwriter became the first artist in UK chart history to hold the top two spots in the singles listings for five successive weeks. This feat, with Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill, surpassed Justin’s previous mark of four weeks which he set during November and December, 2015, with Sorry and Love Yourself.
Holding numbers one and two has only been achieved by seven artists in 60 years of the official UK singles chart. Of those, Ed is the only one to do so with brand new songs. The Beatles, John Travolta, John Lennon, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Madonna and Justin Bieber all had at least one of their songs previously listed in the charts.
There are many music fans who believe eight artists, rather than seven, should be listed as holding the numbers one and two positions on the same UK singles chart.
During the early 1960s, The Shadows were both Cliff Richard’s backing band and an artist in their own right. Cliff’s records were actually credited to Cliff Richard and The Shadows. So it was that in August, 1960, Please Don’t Tease by Cliff Richard and The Shadows was at number one while Apache by The Shadows held second spot.
It happened twice more in 1963. The Next Time by Cliff Richard and The Shadows held pole position with Dance On by The Shadows at number two. The two records swapped places on the following week’s chart. Exactly the same thing occurred later that year with Cliff Richard and The Shadows’ Summer Holiday and The Shadows’ Foot Tapper.
For whatever reason, the Official Charts Company does not count The Shadows’ contribution to their joint hits with Cliff Richard. But it seems only fair that the group should at least be mentioned when details are given of those artists who have been officially credited as simultaneously holding the top two spots on the UK singles chart.
Lady Gaga continues to enjoy a surge in record sales following her spectacular half-time performance at Super Bowl 51.
Her UK sales increased by 1,605% from the previous week while her US sales rose by well over 1000%. Gaga’s latest album, Joanne, climbed 64 places to number two on the Billboard 200. Her 2009 album, The Fame Monster, also returned to the top ten at number six.
Gaga performed her most recent single, Million Reasons, during the Super Bowl show. The second track taken from Joanne, it originally peaked at a disappointing number 52 and had fallen out of the Hot 100. But the song stormed back into the listings at number four equalling the record for the highest re-entry in the chart’s 58-year history.
Gaga now shares the mark originally set by LL Cool J and Jennifer Lopez with their 2006 single, Control Myself, and matched by Dixie Chicks who re-entered the Hot 100 in 2007 with Not Ready to Make Nice.
DJ Khaled / Jay-Z
DJ Khaled surprised fans with the unheralded release of a new single, Shining. The first track taken from Grateful, his forthcoming tenth studio album, it features vocals from Jay-Z and Beyonce.
The song can be heard on the Tidal streaming service but has also been unofficially posted at www.youtube.com/watch?v=nD92-vOEUG8
Many of those leaving comments question how long it will be before the threat of legal action forces the removal of this posting.
Jay-Z’s contribution to Shining has caused controversy. Fans have pointed to lyrics which appear to make derogatory references to Drake.
Without ever becoming embroiled in a full-on rap war, the two artists have been involved in numerous disagreements over the years. What issues they’ve had have always seemingly been resolved. Indeed, Jay-Z made a lyrical contribution to Pop Style, a track on Drake’s 2016 album, Views.
But after Pop Style achieved singles success, Jay-Z’s vocals, along with those of Kanye West, were omitted from the album version of the song. It is thought that this may be the reason for his apparent diss of Drake on Shining.
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