March 20, 2014 via Pepsi
Style Evolution: James Blake
What James Blake achieved in a music career that spans less than five years is unprecedented. The UK singer/songwriter and producer first broke into the scene in 2010 with a series of EP’s that showcased his uncanny, yet sophisticated approach of experimenting with different soundscapes, namely dubstep, electronic, and a hint of R&B and soul. From there Blake released his self-titled debut album in 2011, an impressive project that served as a wake-up call for those that were sleeping on his talents. The 25-year-old artist has enjoyed further success as of late, releasing his critically acclaimed sophomore album Overgrown and earning a much deserved nomination for Best New Artist at the 2014 Grammy Awards in the process. Through his musical journey, James Blake has also quietly become an individual with an incredible sense of style. You won’t see him sporting the latest designer wear or something that immediately pops out in a crowded room. Instead, Blake displays an outer layer that feels warm and inviting, much like his musical tone.
The genesis of James Blake’s style really coincides with his humble beginnings in music. He grew up in North London, where his father exposed him to the blues, a genre that has influenced Blake’s more contemporary vocals. He later attended Goldsmiths, University of London, where he earned a degree in Popular Music. His studies of focus included dubstep and minimalism. Blake emerged at the start of his career wearing dark, solid colors to match his unassuming style. Navy blue, black, and a respectable jacket to keep warm during the colder months were the norm for Blake.
Relaxed and Ready for the World
While the success of James Blake’s debut album was an unexpected surprise that even he likely didn’t anticipate, the UK artist certainly took it in stride. Shortly following its release in February 2011, he exuded a new sense of confidence. Around this same time, Blake also altered his style a bit, though his core relaxed look remained intact. He slicked back the usually untidy hair and brightened up his color palette. The look could be described as preppy, though his music certainly played a wonderful dynamic here.
James Blake’s performance wear is fairly casual, and it’s understandable considering he spends the majority of the show sitting down while playing various instruments throughout. Staying in that position can be pretty tough, so comfort is key. In a sense, Blake also allows the music to be the main attraction here. No need to cause a spectacle with clothing when your music already has the crowd on cloud nine.
Sporting His New Label, 1-800-Dinosaur
It’s become commonplace in the hip-hop scene for rappers to wear clothing that identifies with their own brands. Drake shows off his own October’s Very Own brand from time to time, and even newer acts like Mac Miller have caught onto this marketing phenomenon. James Blake has taken a page from their book by sporting his own label, 1-800-Dinosaur. The label was founded by his manager and DJ, Dan Foat. Blake started wearing the labeled shirts after he released his 2013 album Overgrown, which was perfect timing as his success and likewise exposure began to grow exponentially.
Dressed to the Nines
James Blake showed off his dapper side when he appeared at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards this year. The 25-year-old wore a stylish brown suit, one that stood out on the red carpet before the show began. Blake had reason to dress up too, as he was nominated for Best New Artist. The only two nightmares for a potential Grammy winner: walking up to the podium without a speech prepared, and looking lousy in the fashion department. While Blake didn’t win the award, he still walked away as the tall, strapping young artist from the UK who knows how to look the part, and definitely play the part.