Having co-written some huge songs in partnership with Disclosure, Sam Smith, Naughty Boy, Mary J Blige and others, Jimmy Napes is now stepping into the limelight.
It's no surprise that he has been content for so long to be a background figure: reflecting in his discreet Kentish Town studio on how he came up with four Number Ones - Sam Smith's 'Stay With Me', Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne's 'Rather Be', the Naughty Boy monster 'La La La', and most recently the Bond theme for 'Spectre' - Sam Smith 'Writing's On The Wall' - as well as the song that keeps on giving, ‘Latch’ with Disclosure and Sam. In 2015, he earned a Grammy Award for Song of the Year for his work on Smith's 'Stay with Me', co-written with Smith and Tourist. In 2016 he was awarded the Oscar for Best Original Song, along with Sam Smith - for 'Writing's On The Wall'. His conclusion is disarmingly old-school: "It suits me to let the music do the talking", he says. "I'm a Burt Bacharach round-the-piano kind of guy."
Like Bacharach, Jimmy Napes has a gift for furnishing other artists with what they need to shine. "Most of the time I am trying to get the best out of someone else - that has been my job." Jimmy devoted many hours of this collaborative work to the two world-conquering albums 'Settle' by Disclosure and Sam Smith's 'In the Lonely Hour'.
However it was not long before Napes started creating material for himself: "Every so often in co-writing sessions I will write a song that feels incredibly personal to me. I've put together a set of songs that didn't feel right to have anyone else singing them, and recorded them myself."
The result is a new three-track EP that places Napes at centre stage. Under the title 'The Making of Me', for the first time ever Jimmy steps up to lend his own voice to his own material. "It's harder to put yourself on the line,' he says. 'I always wanted to be a songwriter - but the chance to release these songs as an artist is an opportunity I really wanted to take."