The thing that should worry James Bay is not that he has a "trademark hat" (although that is worrying), but that every interview seizes on the hat (figuratively, not like a bully stealing a hat and throwing it over a nearby fence, even if that would do us all a favour.)
No, the worry for James Bay is that the hat is pretty much the only thing anyone is interested in. That he's basically a cardboard cutout until you get above the brow.
The Observer caught up with him at the weekend, and talk turned to the hat:
The hat remains staunchly in place during our two meetings, but Bay plans to take it off one day. “I might shave my head,” he says. “I hope to have a long career and I don’t want to be defined by things that aren’t the music.” For now, though, it feels like a uniform: he puts it on and he’s ready for work. “It’s my suit. There should be an element of mystique between the fans and the artist. That bit between the stage and the audience. I think that’s necessary. I used to dress up like Michael Jackson. I didn’t have the glove, but I had a red jacket like in Thriller.”The idea that his dull hat is adding a air of mystery to his act is heartbreaking, isn't it? Like someone who works in an office choosing a Daffy Duck tie to try and create a sense that he might have a personality.
More grim, though, is this description of the hat as a "suit" or a "uniform". The musician that the BPI thinks is the greatest hopeful of this year's hopefuls thinks of his music as a job that one might put a uniform on to do. Perhaps it's not a hat he should have gone with; maybe he should arrive on stage carrying a timesheet.