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Singer/songwriter Matthew Jay received a record contract even before his first live performance. Often compared to U.K. troubadours such as Badly Drawn Boy and David Gray, Jay was originally signed by the British label Food, releasing two EPs, Four Songs and Friendly Fire, both snaring the ears of the English press. Jay was raised by a family of musicians in Abergavenny, South Wales. Jay often listened to the LPs in his parents' collection, records by John Lennon, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones; he was also the bassist in his family's group. Jay started writing songs in his bedroom and taping them onto cassettes, much of it appearing on his EPs and highly praised debut album, Draw, released in 2001 by Capitol Records. Draw quickly found residence on U.S. college radio stations. Combining acoustic guitars with electronic sounds, Jay was lumped in with Gray, Badly Drawn Boy, and Beth Orton as part of a 21st century makeover of folk-rock. By opening up for more established acts like Dido, the Doves, Shelby Lynne, and Stereophonics Jay outgrew his cult following and acquired even more critical acclaim. Sadly, he died September 24, 2003 after falling seven stories from his apartment window in Nottingham, England. He was 24. ~ Michael Sutton