Jake Bugg interview: 'It's quite weird playing big shows with 2,000 people going mad... then afterwards I stick the kettle on and have a cup of tea'
AFTER playing the biggest show by a Nottingham artist last night, with a sell-out gig at Rock City, Jake Bugg will top that in July by becoming the first homegrown musician to headline the Splendour festival.
The 18-year-old from Clifton will follow in the footsteps of Madness, Pet Shops, the Scissor Sisters, Blondie and Dizzee Rascal by topping the bill at the sixth annual music bash in Wollaton Park.
"I just hope that everyone who goes along has a good time, that's more important than anything," he said with typical modesty about his latest achievement.
"It'll be my biggest crowd to date. It's hard to believe I was playing the courtyard stage two years ago. Going from the bottom to the top is great."
Others confirmed for Splendour on Saturday, July 20 are Maximo Park, Squeeze and KT Tunstall.
George Akins, chairman of the DHP Group which organises the festival with Nottingham City Council, said: "It will be the biggest show by a Nottingham artist.
"It's really exciting seeing him grow from playing the smallest stage just two years ago to the main stage last year and now headlining.
"He also has the Brit Award nominee, the No. 1 album... the stars really are aligned for Jake and Nottingham. And, of course, he's the first Nottingham artist to sell out Rock City."
That was last night and was attended by his mum, dad and Bafta-winning Nottingham actress Vicky McClure, who appeared in his video for the single, Two Fingers.
Said Jake yesterday: "There will be a lot of people coming tonight who I know, so it'll be a mad hometown gig."
It's part of a sell-out tour, his first major outing since topping the chart in October with his self-titled debut album.
Last night was his first opportunity to party afterwards with friends and family.
"It's a long tour so I have to look after my voice. It's quite weird playing these big shows with 2,000 people going mad, then afterwards I stick the kettle on and have a cup of tea.
"But tonight is a different matter because I have a day off tomorrow, so it's going to be one of them."
The tour will end on his 19th birthday on February 28.
But he won't be back home in Clifton until April.
He calls his mum, IT worker Leeysa Kennedy, every few days but struggles to stay in touch with all of his friends and family.
He said: "I'm just so busy. I try to speak to people as much as I can.
"I remember who my friends are. They and my family are really important to me."
Jake's dad, David Bugg, a care home worker, also lives in Clifton. It was his brother who gave Jake his first guitar when he was 12. At 16 he appeared on the Post's online music show, This Is Live, where he was spotted by Nottingham musician Jason Hart.
"I thought he was the best thing I'd seen in 20 years – the most amazing voice and most amazing songs," said Jason, who now co-manages Jake.
"I took him into the studio we have in Colwick and worked on some songs.
"That was it."
Aside from the No. 1 album and Brit Award nomination, Jake has toured the US and Europe with Noel Gallagher, opened a secret show by the Stone Roses and appeared on national television in the UK and US.
"I'm not surprised at the success but I am by how fast it's been," said Jason.
"I thought he would do well anyway because he's real and I think that transmits.
"People buy into that. But I've never seen anyone have success like this so quickly."
And it's had a knock-on effect, with London record labels showing more interest in the Nottingham music scene than ever before.
Said George: "We are getting calls all the time. And I think that other musicians now feel that real success is actually within reach."
Splendour will again showcase the best of Nottingham's band and musicians across its three stages.
"We are moving some of them who have played before to a more prominent position on the bill."
The opening act on the main stage will be a local artist chosen through a competition organised by Nusic.
Last week Jake made it in to the gossip columns when The Sun speculated about his relationship with model Cara Delevingne.
Said Jake: "You do have moments when you think 'so, this is my life now'. But I knew that if I wanted to do this as a career there would be a few things that I'd have to deal with."
When asked about Delevingne, he said with a grin: "No comment."
He's not the first member of his family to have a taste of fame. His grandmother, who left Clifton to run a guest house in Mablethorpe, boasted to him that she was once asked out on a date by Buddy Holly.
"That's what she says and I hope it is true because it's a great story. It was when he was on tour and she was working in a theatre in Manchester. She said that he asked her out on a date. So I could be sat here speaking to you in a nice big pair of specs."
Tickets for Splendour, priced from £15 to £37.50, go on sale at 9am on Friday, February 22. For more information go to www.splendourfestival.com.
The Brit Awards, where Jake is nominated for British Breakthrough Act, take place on Wednesday.