UnklejamView in iTunes
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With influences as diverse as Gary Numan, Sam Cooke, and Eurythmics, transatlantic three-piece Unklejam's blend of cyber-soul, electro-pop, and synth-funk defied pigeonholing. Formed in 2006, their critically acclaimed eclectic sound was inspired by the globe-trotting experiences of all three members. Tyson "Tendai" Speede grew up in Northolt, Middlesex but traveled the world thanks to the success of his father's reggae outfit Misty in Roots; Bobby Joel Stearns was born in London's East End but moved to Hawaii at the age of two before moving to Bradford and then Glasgow in his teens; while Adonista spent his childhood in his father's several U.S. Army bases in New York, L.A., and Germany. Originally a producer, Stearns was persuaded to sing by Tyson when they began working together, and after meeting Adonista at a club night in London, Unklejam was born. Named after the 1979 Funkadelic album Uncle Jam Wants You, the trio soon signed a deal with Virgin Records. Debut single "Luv Ya" (number 54) drew comparisons with Prince and OutKast, but it was their second single, "What Am I Fighting For," that earned them mainstream recognition. Reaching the Top 20 in both the sales and airplay charts, it led to support slots with Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, and festival appearances at Wireless, Glastonbury, and T in the Park. However, third single "Stereo" could only peak at number 101 and their self-titled album was shelved. ~ Jon O'Brien