Belfast Telegraph

Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay pays tribute to late band member at awards ceremony

The acid-jazz band member joins a long list of stars honoured at the awards.

Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay has dedicated a top music industry award to the band’s original keyboardist Toby Smith, who died earlier this year.

The singer-songwriter picked up the President’s Award at the BMI London Awards for his influence on songwriting and his “originality, which has inspired generations of music fans alike”.

Jay Kay thanked his partner Maria as well as his family and friends for their support over the years, including Jamiroquai founding member and co-writer Smith.

Smith, who died in April aged 46, played with Jamiroquai for 10 years between 1992 and 2002, and performed on some of the acid-jazz band’s popular singles including 1994’s Space Cowboy and 1996’s Virtual Insanity.

During his speech at the event, held at London’s Dorchester Hotel, Jay Kay said “we miss him so much”.

He told the audience: “I’m very happy to receive this award tonight, it’s been 30 years since I began a career in music, and I’m lucky to still be able to do my thing and express it through songs.

“There’s still no better buzz really, than starting off with that ‘thing’ in your head and letting it get to the stage where you hear it on the radio, in front of loads of people, all over the world, it’s a real privilege.”

The 47-year-old musician, who underwent surgery on his back earlier this year causing the band to postpone their tour, then took to the stage to perform acoustic renditions of hits Love Foolosophy and Space Cowboy.

Music stars such as Willie Nelson, P!nk, Kenny Chesney and Toni Braxton have previously been honoured with the President’s Award.

Other winners at the event, which celebrates UK and European songwriters, producers and publishers of the most-performed songs of 2016, included Ed Sheeran and producer Naughty Boy.

Sheeran was honoured by the BMI for the Song of the Year award for penning Love Yourself, the hit made internationally famous by Justin Bieber.

The prize is given to the most-performed song of last year by UK or European writers in the BMI catalogue.

Naughty Boy’s publishing company Naughty Words received an award for Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, while British indie rockers Foals picked up a gong for their song Mountain At My Gates.

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