Philip Jeays (born Philip Harris on 24 June 1962) is an English singer-songwriter. He writes and performs songs in a style close to the tradition of French chanson but in the English language. His main influences are Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel and English singer-songwriter and poet Jake Thackray.
After growing up in Somerset, East Sussex and London, at the age of eighteen and fresh out of a two year art course, he moved to Arles in the south of France to paint, and ended up living in the area for three years. There he was introduced to the songs of Jacques Brel which inspired him to start writing songs himself. Back in England, he was taught to sing by his mother, who had trained as an opera singer at the Royal Academy of Music, started playing a guitar and then changed his name to Philip Jeays, after his maternal great-great-grandfather.
His first performance in 1985 at Hampton Wick Folk Club was well received. Due to nerves he did not perform again until 1989 when he took part in an acoustic and poetry club night in Clapham, London.He releases his first recordings on cassette in 1990 and starts performing with guitarist Max Warner. This set up allowed him to 'perform' the songs more without the restraints of a holding a guitar. After a near fatal car crash in 1992, he recovered and continued to perform around various small clubs in London.
In 1995, he teamed up with guitarist and bass player William George Q and pianist David Harrod. The trio first performed at the Vortex Jazz Club in Stoke Newington and then at various London venues. He is spotted by singer-songwriter Tom Robinson who offers him a support slot at the Borderline in June 1996. Over the next few years he performs at the Edinburgh Festival, Vancouver International Comedy Festival and also on various radio networks. Guitarist John Peacock and drummer Jezza Campbell joined in subsequent years.
In 2006, Jeays was invited to perform as part of 'Robin Ince Loves Books' shows at the Bloomsbury Theatre and The Albany in London. He performed as support on Robin Ince's 'Bleeding Heart Liberal' tour of the UK in 2009 and also on Robin's Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People shows at the Bloomsbury Theatre and Hammersmith Apollo. Jeays also performed at Robin Ince and Brian Cox's 'End of the World Show' at the Hammersmith Apollo in December 2012.