James Bay is relieved that his girlfriend Lucy Smith loves his shorn-haired look.
The British singer-songwriter, 27, has been dating Lucy since they were teenagers, long before he found fame as a tousle-haired troubadour with hits like 2014’s Hold Back the River.
James told WENN at the NME Awards in London on Wednesday (14Feb18) that having been with Lucy so long, he was worried she wouldn’t approve of his decision to chop off his locks and ditch the hat, but that his new smarter look has met with approval.
He explained, “My girlfriend, that was a big thing – I was like what if she hates it? She likes the new look. She’d been with me on the whole journey wearing the hat and long hair so she was just as excited.”
James debuted his drastic change of image at November’s (17) MTV Europe Awards, and revealed that he decided to transform his look as he didn’t think his old one fitted with the music on his upcoming album.
“So Wildlife, that came out the other day, the first single from my new album,” he said. “I think that’s one of the first songs I wrote for this new record, and I finished it and listened to it, and I was really proud of it and I realized immediately that it was not music for the guy in the hat with the long hair.”
The musician also revealed that boredom also played a part in his decision, and said, “You can’t wear a hat forever”.
Explaining his new sound, James said he had been inspired by artists including Prince and Michael Jackson, who he loved growing up, as well as contemporary acts like Chance the Rapper, Frank Ocean and Lorde.
“All that stuff, great pop music, fed into this music, it fed into this record for me as well,” he added.