Take 5: Jake Shillingford of My Life Story

With a string of top 40 hit singles and albums in the 1990s, epic pop pioneers, My Life Story received huge critical acclaim with their brand of grand, orchestral pop, leading many artists of the Britpop era to feature them on their records. Heading up this clever, witty and beautiful wall of sound is the charismatic frontman Jake Shillingford, famous for his sharp tongue and even sharper suits. Vocalist and songwriter Shillingford has cowritten and coproduced the highly anticipated album ‘World Citizen’ alongside guitarist Nick Evans creating a new and distinctly rockier sound.

World Citizen’ is released via Exilophone Records on 6th September and was preceded by a single the inordinately catchy ‘Taking On The World’. Want to know more? Time for a Take 5….

When did you realise that you wanted to be a music artist? What or who has inspired you ? 

I was 13 in 1979 and spent a summer in New York.  At the time, a dangerous melting pot of crime, sex and violence.  The film The Warriors had just been released and it was incredibly exciting.  In that year Blondie’s Parallel Lines was all over the radio, Elvis Costello & The Attractions had just released Armed Forces, a colourful, spitting, vitriolic masterpiece.  

I saw hip hop graffiti for the first time on the A train.  When I got home The Specials were number one with Too Much Too Young and Are Friends Electric gave rise to dystopian electronica.  I still regard 1979 as the best year of music and youth culture.  

Who, living or dead, would you dream of collaborating with?

I would like to work with Marc Almond again, having collaborated with him on PJ Proby’s Legend album in 1996.  Four years ago he sent me a message telling me to write another My Life Story album and thankfully I listened to his words.

Tell us about your single ‘Taking On The World’ – what is the song about?

The single is like a Black Mirror episode in song form. It’s about the ultimate dystopian TV reality game. A pop apocalypse where Flat Earthers and Fake Newsters take on the Old Darwinians and Extinction Rebellion in a battle of conspiracy theories.  

I imagined what the end of the world would be like if it was played out live on TV, with Man declared the winner over Nature on a technical knock out, choking on golden non biodegradable ticker tape as he celebrates his pyrrhic victory!

Tell us five things you love about the city you live in, Brighton,  and why……

1.The Mods and Rockers riding together for the scooter / biker rallies, who would have thought that be the only unifying thing we would see this summer.
2.People smile at you in the street, small thing but it goes along way.
3.In an area called Hanover all the pubs and bars are so small you hear everyones conversations – great for lyric writing.
4.The winter when no one is around and the summer when everybody is.


What are you most looking forward to this year? 

Our first album for nearly 20 years comes out on 6 September will be a satisfying release after a turbulent year.  We can’t wait to share it with everyone and then hear fans singing along with us as we start our tour in November.

Tour dates

The Album ‘WorldCitizen’ is out now