biog



1962.
Born Philip Harris in Taunton, Somerset, to Pam, an opera singer, and Tony, a chiropractor and jazz Pianist. The following year, the family move to Bexhill and then to Eastbourne in 67 before his parents separate in 73. Phil and brothers Paul and Pete, move to South London in 76 with their mother.

1978-80.
Attends Richmond-Upon-Thames College, doing Art, English and Photography A levels. Fails Photography and also English, having spent the exam writing a letter to the examiner asking him for an A grade. Scrapes through Art.


1980-83.
Goes to live in France to paint, first to Arles for 6 months, then a small village west of Nimes. There he discovers the songs of Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel. His initial interest from songs heard on the radio is compounded when he sees Brel on TV singing 'Amsterdam' in October 1981, the third anniversary of his death. Inspired by the great man he determines to 'have a go' himself.

On his return to England he is taught to sing by his mother, herself trained at the Royal Academy of Music, and begins working on his first songs. Changes his name to Jeays after his maternal great-great-grandfather 'Grandpa Jeays', a man who had twelve daughters, thus ensuring the name died out.




1985-89
Performs for the first time at Hampton Wick Folk Club in 1985, singing 'Princess' and 'The Soldier', but, although these songs are well received, he doesn't play again for four years due to nerves. Starts out again at God's Little Joke, an acoustic and poetry club in Clapham, in 1989.

1990
He releases his first recording, a tape - side one: Only This High; The Soldier; The Laughing Song; This Is Your Child; Always - side two: Looking For A Horse To Ride; Squelch, The Poet Laureate; Down At Harry's; My Friend; Falling In Love Again.
The following year he teams up with Max Warner on guitar, enabling him to come out from behind his guitar for the first time to try and establish himself as a performer as well as a singer.

1992
He inadvertantly drives into a tree and nearly kills himself. After recovering from this car accident he continues to learn his trade singing around the small acoustic clubs of London,


1995
Teams up with other musicians - William George Q (guitar and bass) in January and David Harrod (piano) later in the year. The trio perform their first gig together in December at the Vortex in Stoke Newington.

1996
January - April: First 'One Man' shows at the Kings Head Theatre, Islington, and the Canal Cafe Theatre, Maida Vale, with Dave and Will. He is spotted by Tom Robinson who invites him into a support slot at the Borderline in June.
August: Plays the Edinburgh Festival for the first time, winning a Spirit of the Fringe Award. Performs live on BBC Radio Scotland and Scot FM. Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph describes him as "a real find, just the sort of discovery you're always hoping to make and rarely do."

1997 July - August: Invited to perform at the Vancouver International Comedy Festival in Canada. "But, while not being a comedy act at a comedy festival is a bit of a strain on the expectations of the audience, Jeays proved you can still win people over by virtue of being very talented at what you do." The Georgia Straight.

1998/1999/2000
Three more runs at the Edinburgh Festival, garnering more good reviews. Will leaves the band after the Edinburgh run in 1998 to pursue his own artistic endeavours, quickly replaced by John Peacock, while drummer Jezz Campbell starts jamming with the band at certain gigs, and soon also becomes a fixture.

In 1999 releases his first CD, 'October'.
Plays a major role in the BBC Radio 4 programmes 'Singing In The Wilderness' and 'Chanson', the former being a study of the effects of European songwriting traditions on British artists, and the latter a look at whether French Chanson is indeed possible in English at all.


2000
February: Invited to sing two of his songs at Songbook '99 at the Wigmore Hall in London. Releases second CD, 'Cupid Is A Drunkard'.

2000-2004
Continues to write and perform. Records an episode of the Arts magazine The Verb for BBC Radio 3, finishes his third CD, 'The Ballad Of Ruben Garcia', in 2002, and releases his fourth, 'Fame', at the end of June 2003.


2005
Takes part in the Radio 3 programme 'Kit and the Widow Cocktails'. Releases his fifth album, 'Mr Jeays', on Irregular Records.

Philip Jeays © Sean K

Released April 18th 2016 Take The Slow Train album

© Philip Jeays 2011-2016