Who is jay kay dating now
He grew up the only child of a single parent in 'the business’ – his mother is Seventies cabaret singer Karen Kay. And dare I say it, much as I like being at home, I love the buzz of a new hotel room. 'But then, of course, nowadays you get the biggest hotel room and you don’t wanna party in them!
’ These days, Kay gets his highs flying his helicopter. It goes away to cover two wars and to cover Labour’s excitedness about just giving sh-- away for f--- all.
Coming four years after his contract-fulfilling greatest hits High Times, it’s his first album for his new label, Mercury, following the end of his previous, 14-year relationship with Sony. The Victorian kitchen garden, meanwhile, is overflowing with harvest bounty: pears, grapes, strawberries, Cylindra beetroot, Eskimo carrot, rhubarb (three varieties), and so many tomatoes they’re plopping, overripe, into the compost.
'I don’t know who’s in charge of their art department but they want shooting! Cigarette blazing away furiously, he's ricocheting around a courtyard at Horsenden Manor, the 300-year-old country estate that he bought for a bargain-basement £1.5 million 13 years ago. ’ he barks, and his two cherished German shepherds flinch. Kay, a self-confessed detail obsessive, is buckling under the multiple demands on his time.
But Kay applies the same energetic gusto he deployed at Nyon. Behind him his crack squad of musicians make blood-rushing flesh of the songs this untrained, instinctive writer (Kay doesn’t play any instruments) dreams up with pen, paper and Dictaphone. His voice may be more 'lived in’, but he’s still possessed of our best male soul voice alongside George Michael. Sheep – graffiti sprayed with their owner’s initials, 'JK’ – graze in the far pasture. So expansive are the grounds that an ocular aperture, originally sited on top of a bank in Threadneedle Street, has been plonked in a field to bring some visual focus to the vista.
It’s a clubbily exciting mini-gig in an overlit, fussy five-star gaff. His first studio album in five years is a heartfelt collection of late-night soul confessionals and dance floor belters that was mostly recorded in his home studio. The purpose of the red telephone box sited in the middle of another field is less clear – Pink Floyd homage? A landmark to help the lord of the manor land his chopper?
Kay ducks into his personal pub, The Chequered Flag, located in one of the many outbuildings. 'I’ve got kidney disease here.’ Puff, puff, glug, glug.
'Well, that’s what it feels like.’ We jump in the car, a (for him) bog-standard Mercedes estate that smells of dog.
'This is the hard bit,’ he continues – and from here on in, please assume that every sentence has had some punctuation added and most swear words removed.
His staff – management, estate managers, PA, PR – wince and tuck their tails between their legs. He rants about the label, about his own team, about the Rock Dust Light Star cover art ('I’ve had to spend 20-grand of my own money on a new photo shoot!
’) and why exactly does he have to give Japan an extra two tracks? This period is the phoney war; he just wants to get out there, stop talking and start touring – trips to South America, Japan and Australia are in the diary for the next few weeks. This ranting argy-bargy, I’m assured, will blow over. 'And I wanna eat properly today,’ he declares to no one in particular.
Ready-meals stuck in the sci-fi oven in the hearty kitchen, we climb aboard a little John Deere motorised buggy and zoom off into the depths of his estate.
Up by his trout pond – well, it’s more like a lake and there are two of them – Kay has had a little cabin built, complete with jetty. With a blissful smile Kay says that he loves it out here, and rhapsodises about the solitude, wildlife and locally sourced seafood he enjoys at his Highland retreat.
As enlightened landowning gentry(ish), he takes seriously his stewardship of the countryside. It’s just a bit of solitude.’ Even in a country mansion with 11 bedrooms? By the time I get up in the morning there are six, seven people here.