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Blake for Brits

Blake (left-right) Jules Knight, Stephen Bowman, Dom Tighe and Ollie Baines.

A graduate of the University of St Andrews who formed a band via Facebook has been nominated for a Classical Brit award.

Jules Knight – known as Julian Kaye during his student days – graduated in 2005 with an MA in Art History.  In June 2007, he formed the classical-pop quartet Blake on the social networking site with Stephen Bowman, Dom Tighe and Ollie Baines.

Since forming and releasing their self-titled debut album later in the same year, the band quickly hit the big time with `Blake’ going straight to number 1 in the UK Classical Album chart.  From Beach Boys covers to traditional classical hits, the album hit the top twenty UK Pop Album chart and achieved gold status within three weeks.

Blake with Shirley Bassey on her 70th birthday.The nomination for Album Of The Year at this year’s Classical Brits is the latest recognition for the band, who count Keira Knightley, Mick Jagger and Shirley Bassey among their celebrity fans. Shirley Bassey is such a big fan of the boys that they were invited to sing Happy Birthday at her 70th birthday party in front of a celebrity audience.

Named after the poet William Blake, the band’s version of ‘Swing Low’ was chosen as the official Rugby World Cup anthem. In addition to the news of the Brit nomination, the band have recently confirmed they are to tour with Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins this summer.

Sussex-born Jules has often spoken fondly of his time at St Andrews, which he views as a `second home’ – during his student days he performed regularly in plays and musicals for the local community.  A chorister from an early age, by the age of 13 Jules had performed all over the world including tours of South America, the USA, and Australia.  After graduating from St Andrews, he pursued his love of singing and acting by attending London’s prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama.

Jules outside the School of Art History in St Andrews.He said, “I feel very privileged to have been to St Andrews and it is true to say those were the best years of my life.  I made many friends for life in that beautiful town and it seems like yesterday that I was at St Andrews, organising the May Ball, walking through the streets as Field Marshall Haig in the procession (!) and running on the West Sands.

“I would love to win this incredible award as a thank you to the University and the town for putting up with me for four years and for giving me such a great start in life.

“I never expected to have such success so quickly and I am humbled that Blake have been nominated for Album of the Year at the Classical Brit Awards. St Andrews is like a second home to me. I would love to come back to the `old grey toun’ and give a performance as a way of saying thank you.”

Vote for Blake online at www.classicalbrits.co.uk – voting is open until 11 April.

 

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

NOTE TO EDITORS:

 

JULES IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW VIA JODI MITZMAN AT THE TCB GROUP ON 020 7328 7272.

 

 

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

 

 

IMAGES OF BLAKE AND OF JULES DURING HIS TIME AT ST ANDREWS ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

 

 

 

 

 

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Gayle Cook, Press Officer on 01334 467227 / 462529, mobile 07900 050 103, or email gec3@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ref:  Blake for Brits 200308
View the latest University press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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