James Blake

Winning the 2013 Mercury Prize and earning a Grammy nomination for best new artist means plenty is in store for James Blake, a UK-based DJ-singer-songwriter whose live show includes the energy and instrumentation of a rock band.

“James always stood out as a special artist from the moment I heard his music and met him,” ITB’s Lucy Dickins told Pollstar. “He is a total genius.  Artists like him do not come along very often.”

Photo: Paul A. Hebert / Invision / AP

She knew that was the case early in his young career, after booking a residency at a somewhat unusual London venue.

“In the beginning we did a residency at St. Pancras Old Church, which was such a success,” Dickins said.  “We were turning queues of people away each night.  He just built up live from there and now his show blows you away.”

His show, which includes guitar and acoustic drums with Blake on vocals and keyboards, definitely made an impression in 2013, leading to high-profile gigs at Coachella as well as an “NPR Music Live” spotlight from his 9:30 Club show in May.

It was a busy year, with worldwide dates including major U.S. clubs like Terminal 5 in NYC, Boston’s House of Blues and a lengthy run through the UK and Europe.

Photo: AP Photo/Polfoto/Thomas Borberg

Blake’s thought-provoking, genre-defying material earned him the prestigious Mercury Prize for his acclaimed Overgrown album and at the Grammys put him in such mainstream company as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar and Ed Sheeran, in competition for best new artist.

When not wowing critics and fans with original music, he’s doing remixes of hits by the likes of Drake, Destiny’s Child and, most recently, Beyoncé’s “Drunk In Love.”