Albanian Artists

Newsletter Signup



Just Jack


Just Jack Bio

Jack’s back...

The strange, addictive single Embers (released on Mercury, 2009) marked the return of one of the UK’s most singular talents, Just Jack. Yet admirers might not have immediately recognised the rap singer-songwriter in the wash of loops, strings, handclaps and multi-layered, endlessly circling vocals. It was a bold introduction to a wildly ambitious, whip smart hit album All Night Cinema (2009, Mercury).

All Night Cinema is the work of an artist full of confidence both lyrically and musically. Spanning the gentle reggae flavoured hip hop and poignant sentiment of The Day I Died to the cut up electro rave and spiky observations of Goth In The Disco; it is funky, funny, pointed and rich in melody and boldness.

“I didn’t set any particular parameters, I just wanted to make songs that inspire me, a little bit unorthodox, maybe, but with some sort of popular connection,” he says of an adventurous production that draws as much from classic pop as the loops and beats of modern dance. “Back when I was a kid and my parents were playing Beatles albums, I was never into it, but now their song-writing has become a big inspiration. There’s feelings that you get that are amazing, otherworldly but of this world at the same time. So it’s been a kind of reverse musical journey, but I come from a clubbing background, and that is always going to be in there too.”

With his independent debut, The Outer Marker in 2002, Jack pioneered a breakthrough Brit Hop style alongside contemporary Mike Skinner and The Streets. Mixing up beats, melodies and witty, conversational lyrics to funky homemade loops, it is a sound that has influenced Lily Allen, Jamie T and a generation of bedroom beat poets. His 2007 major label debut Overtones went top ten in the UK charts and spawned the breakaway #2 hit Starz In Their Eyes.

His comeback single Embers is considered as a follow up to Starz In Your Eyes. The song builds from a handclap rhythm inspired by American minimalist composer Steve Reich, with string parts that are “driving and loopy” and individual sound-bite lines multi-tracked and overlaying each other, so that the whole piece turns into a “round song”.

There is nothing particularly soft or cuddly about Jack’s oeuvre. The follow up single Doctor Doctor (2009, Mercury) sounds more like Jack’s trademark witty lyrics and funky groove, but it’s a song with a black heart. “The song is about people who are a bit different, who don’t fit into situations. It’s a kind of about guy who is obsessed with a girl at work, but he starts to hate her because she won’t notice him.”

Jack’s parents were both artists and designers and he studied Furniture Design at Kingston University. “I am very visually aware, I do notice things,” he says. “But I like music because it doesn’t exist as a physical form, it’s in the air and you can’t really escape it, there’s always going to be someone going past with a radio blaring. “

Among his latest releases, some of his earlier work was equally excellent having released singles on imprints such as RG Records and Universal. Tracks include Paradise (Lost & Found) in 2002, Triple Tone Eyes (2003), Snowflakes (2003) and Writer’s Block (2006, Mercury).

Despite his fairly short career having started in the early noughties, Just Jack has managed to complete the first decade with some booming hits, flamboyant beats and a wonderful sense of creativity.