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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 08:26 GMT
Chart victory 'dream' for singer
Gary Jules
Jules: "It's like a dream come true"
Little known US singer Gary Jules has clinched the Christmas number one with his cover version of Tears For Fears' 1982 hit Mad World.

Gary Jules is a name that has only started to become familiar in the past few weeks.

The Los Angeles musician lent his voice to the sparse, haunting cover of Mad World for the cult movie Donnie Darko - and the song is now number one.

"I honestly thought, it's a really great song and people love it but because it's Christmas people are going to go for a Christmas song," he said.

"At about two o'clock in the morning the phone rang and I heard and I was just freaking out," the singer said.

"My wife was awake but after about two hours she went back to sleep and I was just pacing around the house, staring at the ceiling hoping she would wake up again."

The song had been an outside chance to win the Christmas number one when the festive contenders were announced.

'Life is mad'

Jules said after the win he thought the song was easy to relate to.

"I think it's a really beautiful example of a person struggling with the fact that life is mad," he said.

"I honestly think it's one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard and the way it's stripped down now just pins people."

He said of the attention: "It's fantastic, it feels completely surreal."

He said the UK chart win was unlikely to change his life in the US too much because he was a virtual unknown at home.

"I've been working the life of a regular musician in the US, and this has taken off in the UK which is phenomenal," he added.

The 34-year-old has released two albums in his career and gained a loyal fanbase in Los Angeles - but less in the way of mainstream commercial recognition.

The Mad World track came about through working with old friend Michael Andrews, who penned the score to Donnie Darko, a surreal tale of a teenage boy whose meetings with a grotesque giant rabbit change the course of his life.

Tears For Fears
Tears For Fears originally scored a hit with Mad World in 1982

The song took 90 minutes to record in 2001, and has become big news thanks to British radio championing the track.

"Every so often a song with just vocals, piano and cello creeps up on you and says something about who you are, where you're going which stops you in your tracks," explains the artist.

Mad World's success is an opportunity the Californian singer-songwriter is keen to grasp.

Jules' imaginatively-entitled album Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets is coming out in the New Year, and will offer an introduction to his work.

"I consider myself to be from the folk songwriting tradition, post-punk rock folk," explains Jules.

"An album's worth of Mad Worlds would be pushing it a bit. It was produced by Michael Andrews and I in a basement and is very organic."

Gary Jules tops Christmas charts
21 Dec 03  |  Entertainment
Christmas number one contenders
24 Nov 03  |  Entertainment

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