5 Things to Know About James Bay

The breakout Brit hits the road with Swift for the 1989 Tour this summer

Photo: Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

James Bay is having a moment.

After releasing three solid EPs, the English indie-pop artist dropped Chaos and the Calm in March, his debut full-length. And next month, the breakout star is joining the big leagues, joining Taylor Swift on a leg of her 1989 Tour.

“That kind of association is cool,” Bay tells PEOPLE of hitting the road with the recent Billboard Music Award winner, who adds he’s excited “to see what it’s like to stand in a room of that size and play my songs to that amount of people.”

PEOPLE recently caught up with the soulful Brit, 24, who’s hot off the success of his hit single “Hold Back the River.” Get to know this one to watch.

1. He’s Made at Least One Fan’s Dreams Come True.
“There was a crazy moment when I was walking through London, and I turned down the street, and this girl came up to me, and she burst into tears – she’s walking up to me, and she’s crying, and I approached her and said, ‘Are you alright?’ And she said, ‘No, it’s cool, it’s okay. Just, last night I had a dream that I met you, and it’s so crazy that it’s coming true right now.’ So that was a very bizarre moment.”

2. He’s Got a Favorite T-Swift Song – but Will They Write Together on the Road?
Bay admits he’s not familiar with Swift’s entire body of work, but he still has a favorite tune: “I think everything off her new album is really great, but I’ve always loved ‘I Knew You Were Trouble.’ I think that’s an incredible pop song, I really do,” he says.

So, since both are such serious songwriters, can fans expect a collaboration when they’re on tour? Never say never!

“I don’t really know. That’s a very different and intimate environment, songwriting, and I don’t know what she’s like. I’d love to talk about it, but I don’t know – It’s something we’d have to chat about first,” he says.

3. He’s Pals with Fellow Breakout Brit Hozier.
Last fall, Bay opened for “Take Me to Church” singer Andrew Hozier-Byrne while touring.

4. The Greats – Like Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and Miles Davis – Inspired Him Musically Growing Up.
“I think there are little snapshots of things other people have done that we all as musicians would love to do our own version of. But there are people that have come at me in the last couple of months and said, ‘I reckon you’ll be the next this, the next that,’ and I appreciate that, but at the end of the day, I would just like to be the first me. I’m trying to tread my own path. I have a lot of influences and inspirations. But I want to do it on my terms, you know?”

5. Just Call Him Mr. Nice Guy.
“I think the one kind of ingredient you need to keep in mind [to make it] is to be nice. It doesn’t cost anything to be a nice guy, and that’s just how I am. I’m incredibly lucky to be in this situation. I’ve got an incredible team of people that keep my feet on the ground. Always remember where you started.”

For more on James Bay, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now

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