Lloyd Brown

Lloyd Brown interview on Colourful Radio 29-March-2020

Over the course of the past five decades, Lloyd Brown has risen to the very pinnacle of his profession, and with a string of hit singles and critically acclaimed albums to his credit, is now hailed as one of this country’s best ever reggae vocalist/songwriter/producers.

Born and raised in London to Jamaican parents, he began his career in 1979 by dee-jaying in “blues-dances” before progressing on fully fledged sound-systems in the early eighties with London-based sound-systems Jah Marcus, Exodus and East Man. After taking a sabbatical in Jamaica, he then joined vocal harmony group Sweet Distortion, who were voted Best Reggae Newcomers by the readers of Black Echoes in 1984, just prior to their guest appearance on the BRAFA (British Reggae Artists Famine Appeal) single, Let’s Make Africa Green Again. Led by Lloyd’s namesake and early source of musical inspiration, Dennis Brown, this record helped raised funds for Ethiopian famine victims, and remains a milestone of UK reggae history.

By 1987 Sweet Distortion had successfully auditioned for the part of the Jackson Five in the acclaimed British musical, Black Heroes In The Hall Of Fame produced by the late Flip Fraser, but split up soon afterwards, leaving Lloyd free to pursue a solo career. His earliest singles included Music Medley, Ring Up My Number and The Love In Me, all of them released on Robert ‘Ribs’ Fearon’s Unity label circa 1987. In the meantime, he’d started performing more demanding roles with Black Heroes In The Hall Of Fame – most notably those of Otis Redding, Marcus Garvey, Haile Selassie and Nelson Mandela. Sharing The Night (produced by the late Junior Frost), then provided him with his first No. 1 hit, and was voted Reggae Single Of The Year in 1990. You Can’t Hurry Love, For The Love Of You and Love U Down (his second No. 1 hit, and another Reggae Single Of The Year) soon followed, together with a version of Otis Redding’s These Arms Of Mine.

Despite his success with other people’s songs, Lloyd was increasingly writing his own material by this time, as demonstrated on It’s A Love Thing, which marked the start of his long-standing partnership with Saxon sound system dee-jay Tippa Irie. Their follow-up smash hit, Stress, caused controversy since it put into song what many men were thinking about their female partners, but both singles duly topped the UK reggae charts, then won the duo a well-deserved contract with Arista, who released their follow-up single, Baby Mother (another vibrant slice of social commentary), in 1995. An album recorded for Arista during this period was subsequently released as Combination on Discotex at the end of 2001 – Lloyd & Tippa’s association with Arista having ended as unexpectedly as it had begun.

Undaunted by such disappointments and eager to reclaim his popularity among grassroots reggae fans, Lloyd began recording with leading UK lovers’ rock producers Groove And & Quarter, who issued his debut album, Straight No Chaser, in 1996. Among the many highlights was A Mother’s Prayer, which he recorded with a veritable Who’s Who of UK soul and reggae talent and dedicated to the memory of his mother, who’d recently died of cancer. Two other tracks, Jah Works and Increase The Peace, offered early evidence of the roots and culture content he was to showcase on his next double CD set, Rhyme & Reason, which he recorded for Saxon. Prior to its release in 1998, the singles We Need A Revolution and Power Of Jah had marked a turning point in both his life and career. His new head of dreadlocks illustrated this change of direction, and he began writing lyrics with far more spiritual content than before, even whilst continuing to make sublime lovers rock hits such as Night Shift, Blackbird and Real Love. He named Buju Banton’s ‘Til Shiloh LP as a formative influence during this stage of his career, and after announcing that the emergence of the new cultural artists had taken reggae to a different plane, said he wanted to sing songs that will uplift people.

His Saxon album thus had transformation at its artistic core, and with its emphasis on self-penned material, proved a masterly showcase of his talents. Once Saxon producer Lloyd “Muscle Head” Francis had decided to concentrate on his sound-system, rather than production, the durable Mr. Brown embarked on a run of hits for Jet Star that still shows no sign of abating three years later. Their most significant triumph to date has been a massively successful cover of Craig David’s Fill Me In, as included on Vol. 2 of Jet Star’s Pop Hits In A Reggae series. With Fill Me In getting regular airplay in Jamaica – where Lloyd enjoys widespread support – Jet Star then helped further his dominance with several other notable single releases, including Hook It Up, Put It Down and Memories, which like Humanity Part 2 (recorded for Mikey Koos’ ARM label), is another joyous celebration of old school reggae vibes, and so steeped in nostalgia, it could bring tears to the eyes.

In-between voicing for Jet Star and making preparations for his starring role in yet another musical, The Best Years Of Our Lives (starring alongside the great Pam Hall), Lloyd then began work on an independent project with former international hit maker Bitty McLean, who’d served his apprenticeship with UB40. Aided and abetted by Bitty’s production and engineering skills, and with his own creative ideas going into overdrive, Lloyd completed the nucleus of his album Deep at Bitty’s Platinum Suite studios in Birmingham before adding a choice selection of Jet Star material into the mix. It was the kind of album only true craftsmen could produce. Its dazzling range of lyrical perceptions being matched to some of the most enthralling, contemporary reggae and crossover rhythms heard all year. I Know (inspired by Bob Marley’s Kinky Reggae) subsequently became one of 2001’s biggest reggae hits, even as Deep was being acclaimed as a masterpiece and his best album thus far. By the time the follow-up, Against The Grain, was released two years later his tally of hit singles had swelled to include You Must Know, co-starring Don Campbell; Bless Me and the unstoppable Main Squeeze, which rocketed into the Reggae Top 5 on both sides of the Atlantic.

Like its predecessor, Against The Grain was another world-class collection, showcasing tracks like the popular Mr. Brown, Food For Thought (a version of Aswad’s Warrior Charge); he and Omar’s stunning cover of Stevie Wonder’s Feeding Off The Love Of The Land and the magical Love Within The Music, co-starring a galaxy of UK talent. Against The Grain was nominated for Best Album at the 11th Annual Reggae Soca Awards in Florida; an event that saw Lloyd being crowned Best Newcomer for the second time in his career. His next set was Dreams To Remember, produced by Lloyd Campbell and released on VP Records in 2004. This album, recorded in Miami, yielded four hit singles in the shape of Bless Me, Since You’ve Been Gone, Heartaches and Bongo Nyah, which soon gave Lloyd his second Reggae Top 5 hit in New York. Songs like that, voiced over Lloyd Campbell’s more traditional style reggae rhythms, fuelled growing demand for his sublime vocal and writing talents in America. Its success prompted the release of an album shared with Peter Hunnigale as part of Jet Star’s celebrated Toe 2 Toe series that same year. Here was an album that made artistic, as well as commercial sense, since both singers epitomise the best of UK reggae music.

Three of Lloyd’s more recent hits were included, namely Full Hundred, No Watch Dat and the compelling Black Bags, together with other tracks that inspired comparisons with reggae legend Beres Hammond. Red-hot form like this saw him embark on a string of European tour dates with Sanchez throughout the summer of 2004, as he continued on his journey towards some long-overdue international recognition. His follow-up album for VP Really Together featuring Fiona was cited by Lloyd as a “true labour of love” as Fiona was an artist he really admired and wanted to work with-which proved its point in the finished product, also with the reggae panel of the Grammys who have shortlisted the album for nomination for Best Reggae Album 2005. Armed with album number 10 called Said And Done in the bag (entirely self-produced) and his own studio Riddimworks Production House, truly demonstrated his skills as a producer in his own right with all he has absorbed culminating thus far.

Further expanding his all-round skills, Lloyd broadened his Riddimworks “imprint” on other projects in 2007, co-producing fellow U.K Lovers King Michael Gordon’s “Poems and Rhymes” set, also U.K Lovers Queen Donna Marie’s “Next Chapter” and various music-video projects showcasing his extraordinary skills as a director, headed by his truly cinematic offering of “I’m Sorry” which co-stars his peer and friend Peter Hunnigale. His eleventh landmark release entitled Silver, celebrates Lloyd’s 25th year in the music industry and has undoubtedly stood testament in his long and distinguished career. The album’s opener “Show Me That You Love Me” voiced on Tarrus Riley’s monster hit riddim “She’s Royal” proves that Lloyd’s song-writing skills are in effect and leans not solely on the riddim to carry his songs..far from it. When he does put pen to paper, as on “From The Root”, “Up To You”, the powerful and haunting “Charcoal Bridges” and the truly wonderful “Seacole”, a song commissioned by Flip Fraser to feature in the hit musical Black Heroes In The Hall Of Fame, and written about nurse Mary Seacole, the quality shines through like a beacon, and you remember just how lucky we are having a reggae artist like him in our midst.

2008 saw Lloyd’s appeal grow to a more international status, amassing fans in Japan, North and South America and numerous territories. In turn, Lloyd concentrated towards embarking on promotional tours in the U.S, starting off in California. The tour proved so successful, that he was booked speedily to tour California again in early 2009. In between time, Lloyd worked on his twelfth album entitled “Brownie Points”. This album was a slight departure to material he had recorded before, but nonetheless had the unmistakable Lloyd Brown imprint that has been skillfully carved throughout his career. Covers and originals blending beautifully to present another concept album, headed by 12 various “Brownie Points” describing in song his observations and also, what makes the man tick. Covers such as “It Takes Two” duet with Lovers Rock chanteuse Sylvia Tella, Dennis Brown’s “Ray Of Light” and Nicky Thomas’ angelic “Love Is” simply describes what love is in musical terms so well, that the coldest of hearts will truly melt to it. Originals, such as the salsa-tinged “Loco Theng” takes you on a heady trip to Acapulco in the first two bars, and “Forgive Them” duet with friend and peer Peter Spence takes you to the hills in Jamaica amongst the Rasta brethren and sistren citing forgiveness as the way forward for humankind.

Not being a man to rest on his laurels….Lloyd released his thirteenth album entitled “For Your Consideration” accompanied by his Riddimworks Films produced music video “It’s Not About…..” released thru Riddimworks/Cousins Records November 2009. The album featured hits such as Dean “Cannon” Fraser production of “Know Yourself” “Empress One A Way” and the awesome “Badbwoy” featuring fast rising Dancehall DJs Mr. Williamz and Juxci D was toured extensively on the US West Coast throughout most of 2010 to crtical acclaim.

In 2010, Lloyd’s consummate consistency had now produced his fourteenth studio album entitled “Cornerstone” which was released entirely independently through his Riddimworks Productions label, which on this occasion had an American import release, the first for a UK based Reggae Artist. The seventeen track album boasts a large eleven collaborations, which not only features long established artists such as Macka B, General Levy, Nereus Joseph, Rodney P and Top Cat, but also features bright new talents such as Dancehall act Babyboom, U.S Hip Hop act Krytykal: Tha’ Problem and songstresses Miss Kjah and Adele Harley. His decision to feature new talent proved wise and fruitful for all concerned as their respective profiles have raised to further works and recognition with other producers. Highlights from the album includes, Rootdown Records’ Thilo “Teka” Jacks produced ska-tinged “She Nuh Easy”, Lloyd’s self-produced homage to Joe Higgs with his version of “There’s a Reward For Me” and Lloyd’s duet with Miss Kjah on “In Every Way You Can”.

2012 saw another landmark year for Lloyd as he had released his fifteenth 20-track studio album celebrating three decades of making music simply entitled “30” released in February 2012 via Riddimworks Productions and Phoenix Music International The standout track which garnered him a Top 3 Reggae Chart hit was the crowd-rocking “Get To Know Ya” utilizing Dennis Brown’s seminal Lovers Rock hit “Someone Special” also utilising Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “Could You Be Loved” with his Disco/Reggae rendition of “Catch The Feeling. Still on the Wailer’s tip, Lloyd collaborated with three of his peers and friends Don Campbell, Delroy Pinnock and R n B singer Wayne Marshall and covered the awesome “Pass It On” from their “Burnin” album A master stroke was performed when Lloyd collaborated with Diva Grace Jones on the remix of the Pretenders’ Chryssie Hynde’s penned “Private Life” featuring the Riddim Twins Sly N Robbie which coincidentally was thirty years old [at the time of recording] and still sounds fresh today.

2013 had seen a level of ambition not realized by Lloyd before as he had released TWO albums, the first being his “New Veteran” set, again released via his Riddimworks Productions and Phoenix Music International which consummately provides the all-round versatility that his peers and fans come to know and love, featuring highlights such as the roots filled collaboration with R n B songstress Kele Le Roc entitled “If You Want Good” the first music video release from the album, also a latin/salsa tinged dancehall collaboration with the exquisitely lyrical Tanya Stephens on “Bada Boom, Bada Bing” alongside sparkling solo efforts such as the hits “Crush On You” and “My Baby Loves Me” produced by veteran artisans Willie Lindo and Bunny Lee respectively as well as the moving and awesome posthumous collaboration with the “Crown Prince of Reggae” Dennis Emmanuel Brown with their rendition of the Eagles’ country classic “Lyin’ Eyes”.

The second set of the year saw a third party release in conjunction with acclaimed Florida/Virgin Islands production outfit Zion High Productions whom Lloyd had recorded various projects with prior entitled “Rootical” an entirely original recording project released in October 2013. The first release from the “Rootical” set was the haunting and deep “What You Sow” taking an old time proverb and reiterating it in such a way that it paints a picture to the mind immediately. Other highlights feature the title track featuring chanter Pressure Buss Pipe which sets the tone for the whole album in one fell swoop. Other collaborations such as “How Could I” include rising artist Yisrael Immanuel, “Keep On Keeping On” featuring Jahdan Blakkamoore and the anthemic “Together” featuring lioness roots singer Queen Omega.

Spring 2014 saw Lloyd return to his productive form with yet another milestone album entitled ‘LB50’ celebrating his 50th birthday, with a collection of eighteen varied tracks featuring collaborations with veteran DJ Sarjant D on his introduction track ‘Fiddy’, Homefront Productions Patrick Anthony on joint production and performing collaborations on the sound boy killing ‘My Sound’ and tropically lovers rock tinged ‘There You Are’ also the standout hit track ‘All About You’ featured on the Mighty Diamonds’ ‘Country Living’ riddim, culminating with the ‘father and son duet’ entitled ‘Faith’ featuring his son Courtney, his first commercial debut recording.

Autumn 2015 saw the release of TWO albums from Lloyd. The first being a collection/compilation of sixteen tracks recorded on Studio One/Treasure Isle/Rock Steady compositions across his eighteen albums called ‘From The Old School’ featuring two new tracks, one of which was an ode to his childhood residence and childhood memories entitled ‘Pembroke Road’ and the second, a cover of Bob Marley and The Wailers’ ‘Pimpers Paradise’.

The second album release of the year saw yet another milestone for Lloyd, in which he released his twentieth studio album entitled ‘Twenty’ a sixteen track project which contained production collaborations with the late Lloyd Campbell [Joe Fraser] Willie Lindo [Heavybeat Records] David Simmonds [Heddrokk Productions] David ‘Jah D’ Goldfine [Zion High Productions] Patrick Anthony [Homefront Productions] Chris Peckings [Peckings Records] also performing collaborations with fellow Reggae artists Don Campbell, Peter Hunnigale on the hymnal ‘Never Leave You Lonely’, Veteran actor and artiste, the late Count Prince Miller covering comedians Morecambe and Wise’s ‘Bring Me Sunshine’, also Third World’s Stephen ‘Cat’ Coore on the beautiful Nyahbinghi themed ‘Give Thanks with Praise’

2016 saw Lloyd take a sabbatical before releasing his 21st studio album entitled ‘Vocalist’ in October 2017 to concentrate on producing his former backing singer Lyn’s first studio album entitled ‘Debut’ released May 2017 and fellow former Riddimworks Band backing singer Shade Aman’s set entitled ‘Travelling Hopefully’ which was released in November 2017 ‘Vocalist’ forms an entirely worldly and varied ORIGINAL set from the Reggae icon featuring production collaborations from Patrick Anthony [Homefront Productions UK/JA] Carlton ‘Bubblers’ Ogilvie [Nu-Edge Productions – UK] Peter Hunnigale [Street Vibes – UK] Dominic Gomes [D Rebell Productions – Trinidad] Oliver Schrader [Silly Walks Movement – Germany] and David ‘Jah D’ Goldfine Andrew ‘Moon’ Bain Laurent ‘Tippy’ Alfred [Zion I Kings/Zion High Productions – Florida/Virgin Islands]. Also featuring vocal collaborations from Fiona [US/Jamaica], Aleighcia Scott [Wales] and Babyboom [UK/Jamaica] also touring his live concerts with his Riddimworks Band.

2018 has seen a busy year for Lloyd in terms of his solo output of album material, one of which was the extended release of his ‘Vocalist: Digital Deluxe Edition’ which contains six bonus tracks featuring collaborations with Adele Harley, Chucky Bantan, Grantie Asher, Jacquie George, Chardel Rhoden and Dean Fraser and additional productions from Gary ‘Digitec’ Lewis, Carlton ‘Bubblers’ Ogilvie and Patrick Anthony.

2019 saw the releases of his 22nd compilation studio album ‘Collabs: Vol 1’ featuring collaborations with British and international Reggae, Pop, RnB and Hip Hop artistes such as Don Campbell, Don Ricardo, Michael Gordon, Paulette Tajah,  Grace Jones, Sly n Robbie, Beres Hammond and Tanya Stephens to name a few [also a debut featuring his son Courtney]

Coupled with his  his 23rd studio project album ‘Brown and Bubblers’ album featuring ten original riddim tracks built and produced by the legendary UK Reggae producer Carlton ‘Bubblers’ Ogilvie and original songs written and performed by Lloyd, exclusively released on Carlton’s ‘Nu-Edge label and website [www.nuedgemusic.com].

Spring 2020  heralded the release of Lloyd’s ‘labour of love’ various artists 24th studio album project entitled ‘The Salute Project’ with Lloyd now in the producer’s chair, featuring a wealth of fast rising vocal talent from the UK, simply re-interpreting [by way of musicality as well as vocally] some of Lloyd’s hits chosen by the artists themselves

The roll call of artists featured in ‘The Salute Project’ are, Shade Aman, Grantie Asher, Chucky Bantan, Tony Corbin, Garnett Cross, Harmonie Deja, , Steve ‘Stickz’ Heyliger, JayJayBorn2Sing, Donovan Kingjay, Mandee, Rafeelya, Stacey Phipps, Kareem Shabazz, Ann Sianab, Simon and El’Tee.

Lloyd’s landmark 25th studio album release ‘Therapy’ sees Lloyd in a deeply personal light as an album of tracks by way of closure from his past trials of life as a timely gateway to his progression as an artist, featuring collaborations with ever rising artist Ras Charmer, Harmonie Deja and Rafeelya as well as co-production collaborations with Diane Black and Caroline Williams [Real Talk Productions], Peter Hunnigale [Street Vibes Productions], Stevie P Productions, Patrick Anthony [Homefront Productions] and Carlton ‘Bubblers’ Ogilvie [Nu-Edge Productions].

Sophia Brown

Sophia Brown interview on Colourful Radio 15-March-2020


Sophia Brown
Going Global Sophia Brown’s first involvement in the entertainment industry was as a dance choreographer in 1986 for Dancehall Pioneers, this was what opened the door to the opportunity for her to showcase her musical talents with the Jamaican Tourist Board, on what was then known as the Appleton Estate Tour. This was the fortuity that gave life to Sophia’s dream of becoming an International & Inspirational acclaimed Reggae Artiste.
In 1988, with a network of support she left her home of Parish St. Elizabeth to live closer to Kingston the music capitol of Jamaica in St. Catherine. The beautiful and talented Sophia, standing at a petite 5’3″ was extremely passionate about her music. She persevered and knew that “every journey begins with a first step” taking her 3 years, but she finally realized her passion and released her 1st recording, a single entitled “Jig Me” produced by Outta National in 1992, giving Sophia her very 1st local radio listenership. The song resonated well with reggae music fans, creating an opportunity for Sophia to perform alongside popular International Reggae & Hip-hop Artists Shabba Ranks, Lady Patra, Frankie Paul, Richie Stephens & Doug E. Fresh in BlaBla Town the same month.

In 1992, Sophia performed in the one and only major “Reggae Sun splash” in Montego Bay. This sensational performance was greatly received escalating her career, with a collaboration with the renowned Mad Professor from Europe. This collaboration set in motion this “Lovers Rock Artiste” putting her on a roll. Initially, she landed a recording contract with a Cayman Island Co. Strawberry Records, which was later sold to CMI in 1995. There she was to have had a 4 album deal until the contract was forfeited when CMI declared bankruptcy. This didn’t put the cabash on Sophia she remained focused & formed her own record company called “Music Mecka” with colleague dale Dunkley, both releasing a host of singles during that time, including “Baby Tonight” and “Give it up” which received favorable airplay.

In the following years, Sophia took to the road doing several tours both locally and abroad, including the Tri-state area of NY, Arizona and Virginia. She has performed with such greats as Snoop Dogg, Lil Kim & Ja Rule in 2002, in Norfolk, Virginia. In 2007, on her return to Jamaica, Sophia recorded a single entitled, “Love You Pure” a Reggae/R&B track inspired by a friend’s personal relationship experiences. It was a beautiful song that could have easily been a Valentine’s Day classic.” said a smiling Sophia Brown. A video for this single followed eventually finding its way on the local and E.Strip Video Charts peaking at #3.
Sophia continued recording and releasing other hit singles under her “Music Mecka” label before recording her first album “The Spotlight” May 15, 2009, which had an official press launch and success began to knock on Sophia’s door. At the turn of the decade, s he attempted to attract a younger demographic by the release of her new single “Gimme That Good Love” and video.

Sophia was also nominated for the local EME Awards (Excellence in Music & Entertainment) Awards, “Best Female Vocalist” category, while “Gimme That Good Love,” single found its way at the top of the CVM hit list Video Charts.

In January 2010, Brown also met with kids from the Alman Town Primary School in Kingston where she was invited to give a motivational speech. She spoke about the importance of self-esteem. “Their selfesteem is a very big part of anything they do,” she remarked, “when they have that they can accomplish anything.” This was important to her, after having lived a difficult life herself.

2010 through 2011 saw a steady increase in both local and U.S. promotional activities for Sophia, with the release of her new singles “Let It Be Me” produced by Cash Flow Productions, “Gimme That Good Love” and “Lovers Rock” produced by her label “Music Mecka.” “Let It Be Me” hit N.Y. and South FL. Top 30 Reggae Single Charts, the debuting entry to the U.S. charts. She also made the Top 100 songs for 2010 in N.Y & South Fl. coming in at #100. Sophia charted in the Top 10 Urban, Chris Coxson Reggae Top 10 on NY Radio and Top 50 Pop for Satellite, College & Internet radio, marking her crossover from Reggae to Reggae-Pop. “Let It Be Me” hit a UK base chart as well.

Sophia continues to climb the international charts and is due to release her, most successful and acclaimed album “Catch Me If You Can” on Valentine’s Day 2012.
“Catch Me If You Can,” is a masterful blend of Hip-Pop, Neo-Soul, and Hip-Reggae. Sophia has transcended beyond the borders of Jamaica to the International scene and is now crossing genres with her beautiful ballads such as “Love You Pure,” and “I’m the Rose.” Sophia has already planned a number of press launches to promote the release of “Catch Me If You Can” in NY, Jamaica, in Barbados at the Reggae Festival and in Los Angeles with many more venues in the works.

Additionally, Sophia is sporting her merchandise line marketing her clothing and accessory products through Café Press.com, come check it out! Sophia is a mother and Philanthropist at heart and plans on donating $1.00 from every album sold to help the under-privileged children in Jamaica.

May 2017 Sophia met with kids from Ascot Primary school in Portmore, St. Catherine where she represents as an artiste, she spoke with them on their career day and share with them her experience and steps to being an artiste.

2017 and Sophia Brown is ready again for the world with her newly release album “Change”, as the name stated , this is a turning point for the songstress towards a higher level in the music business “Change” is a compilation of great Reggae beats and Jamaican culture and can best be describe as smooth, soulful, sexy, and inviting. You are going to be drawn by songs like ; “Never Felt like this before” by Sophia Brown and Gregory Issac, “Love zone “ and “ Sexy Reggae !

Ms. Brown sees this opportunity of “Change” as the entry into her global movement. She is determined to make a difference in the world and in the lives of the children of Jamaica.
Unfortunately, July 2017, Sophia met in an accident on her way to a show in Baltimore USA which puts her tour on pause, but that did not stop her from her passion she continues to record even though it was very hard for her but she persevere . 2019 she capped another award for best lovers rock reggae award from the Lady Flava network award . She also reinvented herself with new Singles alongside Ginjah “Changes” which reflects on the state of Jamaica.

2020 she is back!!!! with her EP and single“ Baby when you Left” which is now taking the airwaves by storm both locally and internationally.

So Catch Sophia if you can! Wherever she may be, in Europe, Asia, the United States, Caribbean, Australia or Africa!

The Real Thing

The Real Thing interview on Colourful Radio 08-March-2020


Best known for their legendary hits ‘You To Me Are Everything’, ‘Can’t Get By Without You’ and ‘Can You Feel the Force’, as well as their ground-breaking 1977 song, ‘Children of the Ghetto’, The Real Thing remain Britain’s most successful black group of all-time. Pioneers in soul, funk and dance music, the two original members – Chris Amoo and Dave Smith – are now celebrating over 45 years in the music industry. Still gigging across the world, the band’s success and longevity is unprecedented in British entertainment history.

Although The Real Thing were established in Toxteth, Liverpool, L8, in 1972, the band actually has its roots in Sixties’ vocal harmony group, The Chants; Britain’s first black acapella quintet, established by Chris’ older brother Eddy. A chance meeting with Paul McCartney at a Little Richard concert at the Tower Ballroom in Birkenhead, led to The Chants being invited to audition for The Beatles at Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club.
 
The Beatles were so knocked out by the group’s sound that they invited the boys to appear with them that same night, much to the reluctance of their manager, Brian Epstein, who didn’t want his group being backed by anybody.
Thanks to John Lennon’s persistence, The Chants were a resounding success on stage, and for a brief time, Epstein represented them. The band was signed to Pye Records by Tony Hatch, but despite touring for 13 years The Chants were unable to achieve the same level of success as their ‘Merseybeat’ peers. Throughout his time performing with The Chants, Eddy honed his burgeoning songwriting skills, which were to stand him in good stead for his next musical collaboration.
 
Whilst Eddy was busy with The Chants, his younger brother Chris had been watching intently. Inspired by his elder sibling, Chris formed his own vocal group, extravagantly-called The Sophisticated Soul Brothers. The band consisted of Chris and his friends Dave Smith, Ray Lake and Kenny Davis (and later joined by Edward Ankrah, younger brother of Joe Ankrah, from The Chants). The S.S.B. began to pick up gigs and were soon brought to the attention of legendary A&R man Tony Hall, who drove up to Liverpool from London to see them perform. He signed them immediately, but decided they needed to change their name. Sitting in his car one day at traffic lights at Piccadilly Circus, Tony looked up the famous Coca-Cola advertising slogan blinking above him and made his mind up immediately. In January 1972, The Real Thing were born.
 
Within days, the band was appearing on long-running ITV talent show ‘Opportunity Knocks’, presented by Hughie Green. The guys performed a cover version of ‘Grazin’ the Grass’, and easily won the show, getting the highest score for their episode. The band were the very first all-black group to appear on a TV talent show, but sadly, that pioneering TV performance no longer exists in the archives, having been wiped in the 1980s.
 
Tony Hall guided his new band through the often-treacherous labyrinth of the music business, acting as their mentor and never once losing faith in the foursome. Just three months after their ‘Opportunity Knocks’ appearance, The Real Thing released their debut single, ‘Vicious Circle’, written by Eddy. Tony was handed a cassette of tunes Eddy had composed, whilst in The Chants, and was so impressed with his songwriting skills that he requested even more original material. Released on EMI records in April 1972, ‘Vicious Circle’ was a hard-hitting ‘conscience’ song, in the mode of The Temptations’ ‘Cloud Nine’. Although it didn’t chart, the song gained plenty of airplay and positive reviews from the predominantly white music press.
 
Eddy became a regular at The Real Thing’s recording sessions, often contributing instrumentation and extra vocals. The band’s second single, ‘Plastic Man’, was released in January 1973; just weeks after the group had represented the UK at the lavish ‘Gala de l’Unicef’, held in Paris. The concert was later broadcast in 14 countries around the world. ‘Plastic Man’ earned the group their first appearance on BBC TV’s ‘Top of the Pops’, but it was spoiled somewhat when DJ Jimmy Savile erroneously announced the group as “… the Plastic Men singing their new single, The Real Thing!”
 
Eddy and Chris Amoo had now formed an unbeatable songwriting partnership and manager Tony Hall realised success ultimately lay with the band being able to come up with their own distinctive sound. Other single releases came in quick succession, including ‘Listen Joe McGintoo’, ‘Check It Out’, ‘Daddy Dear’, and ‘Love Is A Playground’. Kenny Davis exited the band in 1974, and for a while The Real Thing continued as a trio, performing with a formidable group of musicians including Vic Lynton (guitar), Nigel Martinez (drums), Pete Nelson (keyboards), Earl Lee Robinson (bass) and twin brothers Jon and Dave Plotel (bass & guitars). At the time, The Real Thing wanted to establish themselves as a tight soul/funk ‘unit’, similar to Earth, Wind and Fire or Funkadelic.
 
After the demise of The Chants, Eddy Amoo joined The Real Thing full-time, making the band a quartet once more. The group signed with Pye and released a brilliant new single – ‘Stone Cold Love Affair’ – written by Ron Roker and Gerry Shury, which became a big club hit both in Europe and the US. Through producer Jeff Wayne the group was introduced to singer David Essex, who instantly loved the band’s look and sound, and invited them to contribute backing vocals to his 1975 album, ‘All the Fun of the Fair’. Essex also wrote and produced their next single, ‘Watch Out, Carolina’, released in September 1975. Jeff Wayne engaged Eddy, Chris, Dave and Ray to sing on the soundtrack of his forthcoming concept album, ‘War of the Worlds’. Chris took lead vocals on iconic track ‘Forever Autumn’, but before the project was released Wayne’s negotiations with Pye Records broke down, and the band’s soulful vocals were replaced by a variety of other singers, including Justin Heyward from The Moody Blues.
 
The Real Thing toured with David Essex extensively, including his American ‘Lamplight’ tour, and exposed the band to a more mainstream pop audience. Whilst in the US they even headlined at the famous ‘Bottom Line’ club in New York’s Greenwich Village, performing with three of the hottest black musicians in the city – John Lee, Reggie Lucas and Jerry Brown, who had all played with Miles Davis. In early-1976 the boys appeared on Essex’s latest single ‘City Lights’ and co-starred with him in the video, shot in London’s West End.
 
Naturally, The Real Thing were still looking for that elusive big hit single and then, quite suddenly, their fortunes changed forever. Hugely popular songwriters Ken Gold and Michael Denne contacted Tony Hall, requesting that they write a song for the band. The British duo had already enjoyed success across the Atlantic, with Aretha Franklin, Billy Ocean and Jackie Wilson, but were now looking for a home-grown hit. Gold & Denne’s publishers had, inexplicably, ignored their latest composition, and Tony Hall asked that The Real Thing be allowed to record it. The song was called ‘You To Me Are Everything’.
 
The record was laid-down at Camden’s famous Roundhouse Studios, with Lynton Naif doing the arrangements. Lynton had recently worked on Maxine Nightingale’s global chart-topper ‘Right Back Where We Started From’ and was highly sought-after. Everybody knew immediately that ‘You To Me Are Everything’ had ‘hit’ stamped all over it. Released on 14 May 1976, the song was picked up immediately by BBC Radio One and gradually crept up the charts during that scorching, record-breaking summer, selling some 30,000 copies per day.
 
The band performed the song five times on ‘Top of the Pops’ in 1976 and it eventually knocked The Wurzels’ ‘Combine Harvester’ off the #1 spot. It remained at the summit for three solid weeks and was the first number one hit for an all-black UK group. ‘You To Me Are Everything’ has subsequently been recognised as the 69th most played record of all-time in Great Britain, and is listed by the Guinness Book of Hit Singles as one of the top 100 songs of the millennium.
 
The follow-up song, again written by Gold and Denne, was nearly as successful. ‘Can’t Get By Without You’ was released on 27 August 1976 and reached number two in the UK charts, remaining in the top forty for 10 continuous weeks. On the strength of their second big hit single, the band released their self-titled debut album in November 1976, produced by Jerome Rimson, later to be a member of short-lived US band Atomic Man.
 
Aside from the two Gold/Denne hits the remainder of the album was solely filled with original Amoo Brothers compositions – a huge gamble, but one the band felt they needed to take if they were going to be recognised as a serious group. A 19-date tour around the UK promoted the album, culminating in a ‘homecoming’ gig at the Grafton Rooms in Liverpool.

The band’s next single – ‘You’ll Never Know What You’re Missing’ – comfortably sailed into the top 20 in January 1977, and gave Eddy and Chris their first bona fide hit as songwriters. The Real Thing capped a hugely successful 12 months by winning the ‘Best New Group’ gong at the ‘Daily Mirror Awards’, held at Bingley Hall, Birmingham. The ceremony was headlined by Paul McCartney, who Eddy hadn’t seen for well over a decade.
 
June 1977 brought a brand new song, the beautiful ‘Love’s Such A Wonderful Thing’. Despite only reaching #33 in the UK, the single shifted some 90,000 copies, and 25 years later Eddy and Chris’s faith in the song was justified when it was first sampled by French DJ duo Daft Punk for a white-label bootleg, and then two years later by The Freeloaders for their single ‘So Much Love to Give’. The dance track became a smash with clubbers in Ibiza, and across Europe, eventually reaching #9 in the UK charts.
 
 
‘Love’s Such a Wonderful Thing’ was intended as the first cut from the band’s sophisticated second album, ‘4 from 8′ (shorthand for ‘four lads from Liverpool 8’). The collection of 10 self-penned songs was indeed ambitious, with the lyrics touching on many social issues facing the working class black community at that time.
 
Pye Records threw all their weight behind an extensive marketing campaign to promote the LP. “To Get Close to The Real Thing, Get 4 from 8” shouted the advertising posters, but The Real Thing’s ambitious change from pure pop to proper politics was not always to a mainstream audience’s taste. Frustratingly, the addictive driving percussion of next single ‘Lightning Strikes Again’ didn’t make it a hit, despite massive airplay. It also appeared on the soundtrack to Britain’s very first all-black movie, ‘Black Joy’ (1977), in which the band also had a cameo appearance, singing at Count Suckle’s celebrated Q Club in Paddington.
 
The real strength of ‘4 from 8′, however wasn’t the more commercial-sounding tracks, it was the awe-inspiring ‘Liverpool 8 Medley’ – a tryptic of stunning, melodic songs, speaking directly from the streets of Toxteth. The trio of ‘Liverpool 8’, ‘Children of the Ghetto’ and ‘Stanhope Street’ were light years ahead of their time, and totally unique in British music, being the first home-grown soul music to properly address the experience of black people in the UK.
 
Music magazine, ‘Black Echoes’ reviewed the album in July 1977 and heaped praise on the songs. ‘The band continually delights,’ they wrote, ‘and the singing on the Liverpool 8 Medley is superb…’ Ironically, ‘Children of the Ghetto’, although never promoted to single status, has enjoyed the greatest longevity of any Amoo composition. It was first covered by Phillip Bailey (from Earth, Wind and Fire) on his Phil Collins-produced ‘Chinese Wall’ album (1984), as well as by Courtney Pine (1986) and Paul Hardcastle (2006). Additionally, since 2002, the song has appeared regularly on the set-list for Mary J Blige’s live concerts, and features on her 2004 collection, ‘Live in Los Angeles’ (2004)
 
The group reverted to a poppier sound for their January 1978 mid-tempo single, ‘Whenever You Want My Love’, composed by old favourites Ken Gold and Michael Denne, and returned them to the UK top 20, and two appearances on BBC1’s ‘Top of the Pops’. The single acted as a taster for the band’s third album, ‘Step Into Our World’, produced by Ken Gold, with superb brass arrangement by Lynton Naif. The Amoo Brothers regard one of the album’s stand-out tracks, the super-smooth ‘Won’t You Step Into My World’, as one of their finest ever songs. The album begat another amazing single, ‘Rainin’ Through My Sunshine’ in August 1978, which sold 80,000 copies in its first week, and features one of Chris’s strongest-ever lead vocal performances.
 
The band’s other hit single of 1978 was ‘Let’s Go Disco’, written and produced by prolific Indian musician Biddu Appaiah for the soundtrack of massively-successful ‘X’-rated movie ‘The Stud’, starring Joan Collins. The band also made an energetic appearance in the movie performing the track.
 
A few months later, in January 1979, came ‘Can You Feel the Force’, penned by the Amoo Brothers, and the song that propelled them back into the top 5 all across Europe. The band considered this to be one of the greatest moments of their career, and a song which they are still immensely proud of. By the end of the decade, The Real Thing had established themselves as Britain’s best-selling black band of all-time.
 
A string of other singles followed, including ‘Boogie Down (Get Funky Now)’, ‘Give Me Your Love’ and ‘Saint or Sinner’, all recorded for the band’s fourth album ‘Saints or Sinners’, released in January 1980, and produced by Frenchman Jean-Phillipe Illiesco (who had produced the huge Euro band Space). Sadly the collaboration was not to be a happy one. After moving from Pye Records to the Calibre label, The Real Thing released one of the best dance tracks of their entire career, the Michael Jackson-influenced ‘She’s a Groovy Freak’, produced in America by James Mtume & Reggie Lucas. The song packed dancefloors across the UK.
 
The 1980s were a time of mixed fortunes for the band. The group returned to working with David Essex, performing backing for his 1982 hit ‘Me and My Girl (Nightclubbing)’ and accompanying him on his controversial 1983 tour of South Africa, which, in the era of apartheid, they now consider one of the very few regrets of their entire career.
 
The Real Thing were saved in February 1986 when ‘You To Me Are Everything’ re-entered the European charts in a brand new remix by DJ Froggy & Simon Harris, eventually reaching #5 in the UK. With renewed interest in the band, they followed it with new hit remixes of both ‘Can’t Get By Without You’ and ‘Can Feel the Force’, plus a Best Of collection returning them to the charts, primetime TV and national radio for the first time in several years. The group’s rebirth prompted a new record deal with Zomba, which produced a brand new single ‘Straight to the Heart’, co-written by Michael Denne, and released in October 1986. Three further songs emerged from the band’s time with Zomba – the sublime ‘Hard Times’, a beautiful re-recording of ‘Children of the Ghetto’ and a cover version of ‘I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)’, all released throughout 1987.

Unfortunately, Ray Lake’s personal problems were starting to create difficulties, and he left The Real Thing in 1991. He died nine years later, aged just 48. For 26 years the group continued as a trio – Eddy, Chris and Dave – performing live across the world to their incredibly loyal fan-base, which sustained them musically and creatively.
In 2005, the group were invited to appear on ITV’s ‘Hit Me Baby, One More Time’, where they performed an astonishing new version of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me a River’. The same year they recorded an updated arrangement of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’, for the critically acclaimed ‘Liverpool Number Ones’ album. It remains one of Sir Paul McCartney’s favourite ever cover versions of his songs.
 
Today, The Real Thing are still in enormous demand; their touring shows (complete with a live five-piece band) still entertain audiences almost every week of the year. In 2013 the group captured their live show on CD and DVD with ‘Live at the Liverpool Philharmonic’, which has been hugely acclaimed. As recently as October 2016 The Real Thing travelled to Australia for their first ever tour Down Under, wowing theatres with their legendary energetic shows. Sadly, in February 2018, Eddy Amoo passed away at the age of 73. His presence is hugely missed, but Chris and Dave continue to tour and their legacy as Britain’s premier black group endures. Their unique reputation for hits, musicality and showmanship carries on.

Tony Anthony

Tony Anthony interview on Colourful Radio 01-March-2020


Mark Bennett, aka “Tony Anthony” was born in St Catherine, Jamaica. He started pursuing singing at the age of 14, when his meeting with reggae crooner Glen Washington at a high school concert became the catalyst for his entry into music.
 
In his early years he honed his skills in Jamaica as a guitarist and vocalist in awardwinning reggae band Crucial Vibes; working alongside reggae icons such as Jimmy Cliff, Shaggy, Third World, Beres Hammond, Junior Reid, Jackie Mitoo, Foundations, Jack Ruby and Morgan Heritage to name a few.
 
In 1992 Tony Anthony migrated to Canada and formed the reggae outfit Tatix who went on to win numerous Canadian reggae music awards and gained a JUNO award nomination in 1996 for the album “Time Bomb”.

The following year he was recruited to be a member of soul group After Dark With whom he flexed his songwriting flair and his vocal magic to their first single “Took me for Granted” which became a hit on the Canadian and European dance scene. Tony wrote most of the songs on the group’s acclaimed debut album “After Dark.”
 
In 2007 Tony Anthony returned to his reggae roots recording two singles “Mark and the Beast” and “Yuh Nuh Simple” that immediately made an impact and won him world acclaim as both songs were heavily rotated and charted on reggae radio worldwide.
 
In 2010 Tony Anthony independently released his first solo album “Million Chance”. The album and 3 singles “Torn”, “Bad News” and “Love you so much” all topped reggae charts in Canada, Jamaica, Italy, Kenya, Gambia, Holland, New York, Florida, and The U.S Virgin Islands. The album debut on the Italian reggae album charts on February 15th 2011 and remained for one year.
 
“Million Chance” was nominated in the “Best Reggae Recording” category in the 2011 JUNO Awards and he also got a nomination at the 2011 EME Awards in Jamaica in the “Break through artist of the year” category. That same year at the 2011 Canadian Reggae Music Achievement Awards Tony Anthony won the awards for “Best male vocalist”, “Best songwriter”, “Best single” and “Best Reggae Album”.
 
In 2012 Tony Anthony and top reggae producer Kemar “Flava” McGregor produced and released his celebrated EP “Blessed Love” which includes hit singles “Living in Glory” and “Settle Down”. That same year he continued to bring his music to the world touring the U.S.A, Canada, the Caribbean and embarked on a European tour with stops at the Exit Festival in Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Holland to rave reviews.
 
Tony Anthony sophomore album “Live To The Fullest” was released late 2014. He toured Europe for eight weeks performing in countries like Belgium, Holland, Germany, England and France to much acclaim.
 
The songs on this album continue to highlight and coagulate the essence of his lyrical and vocal potency and it’s a matter of time before he is rightly rated alongside the best in reggae music.
 
His latest album “Then Now & Forever” released in October 2019 has been gathering accolades near, far and wide. It won the Best Reggae Album category at the 2019 Bright Star Awards in the UK. It was also voted number 4 on the Top Ten Reggae Album for 2019 by the Foundation Radio Network in the USA. Two singles from the album has gained number one status in New York, Canada, and South Florida. “Then, Now & Forever” is currently on regular rotation on radio in Canada, the UK, USA , Jamaica and creating a huge buzz worldwide.

Omar

Omar interview on Colourful Radio 16-February-2020

The musical history of British soul pioneer Omar is renowned – the Lyefook family has musical talent embedded deep in their DNA, Omars’ father Byron worked as a studio musician and drummer with Bob Marley, Horace Andy and even The Rolling Stones. Omars’ younger brother, the Grammy winning producer, remixer and DJ professionally known as Scratch Professer has been making jaws drop since the age of 13, stunning the crowd at the 1988 DMC UK Finals with his turntable skills. Samia Lye-Fook (Omar’s sister) is a renowned vocalist in her own right, and a BRIT School alumna, then there’s their big brother….Omar.
Born October 14, 1968, in London but raised in Canterbury, gifted, prolific and considered a musical prodigy; Omar learned his craft classically, playing the trumpet, piano, bass guitar and percussion. A former principal percussionist of the Kent Youth Orchestra and later a graduate of the Guildhall School Of Music, Omar has been making music for more than 32 years.
Back in 1985 he released his first single ‘Mr Postman’ on his father Bryons’ Kongo label, which was also the original home for his first album, which contained the track that changed everything… ‘There’s Nothing Like This’. That album was re-issued by Gilles Peterson on his Talkin’ Loud imprint in 1991. This album established Omar as a stand out and unique artist, with ‘There’s Nothing Like This’ hitting the charts, so began a musical chain of events that has continued unabated up to the present day.
The follow up ‘Music’, a vastly more orchestral and organic affair that highlighted Omar’s maturing as a composer, arranger and vocalist. Aside from the memorable title song, standout tracks included the still requested Get To Know You Better and the brilliant duet with his new Freestyle Records label mate Carleen Anderson, ‘Who Chooses The Seasons’.
Soon after Omar signed to RCA, for whom he cut two further albums that notched up acres of critical acclaim, as well as introduced him to several of his musical heroes and heroines. On the1994’s ‘For Pleasure’ album, this includes some of Omar’s most prolific songs such as ‘Saturday’, ‘Outside’ and the Erykah Badu favourite ‘Little Boy’. He worked alongside the legendary former Motown producers Leon Ware and Lamont Dozier creating this masterpiece of an album.
On ‘97’s ‘This Is Not A Love Song’, this was largely a collaboration with LA-based producer David Frank, he did a great cover of The Stranglers’ ‘Golden Brown’ and got to sing with one of his all-time favourite vocalists, Syreeta Wright on two songs, including the sumptuous slowie ‘Lullaby’. By 2000, Omar had moved on again, this time signing up with hip French imprint Naïve Records.
The following year, now well established as the leading icon of the UK’s resurgent soul movement, Omar released his fifth album, ‘Best By Far’, a self-produced album, which he allowed his interest in cinematic soundtracks and jazz to shine through. Once again, the star names turned out on the album version of ‘Be Thankful’; a re-cut of the William DeVaughn seventies soul hit, featured Erykah Badu. A long time fan of Omar’s she came good on her word and jumped at the chance to feature on this track. Meanwhile MOBO winner Kele Le Roc supplied the strident lead on the anthemic groove ‘Come On’.
2006 saw the release of ‘Sing (If You Want It)’ which featured contributions from US rapper Common, Angie Stone and U.K. artists Rodney P and Estelle – but his crowning achievement was obtaining the Stevie Wonder duet ‘Feeling You’.
It is, of course, a major coup for any UK recording artist to be able to call on the services of a musical legend like Stevie Wonder. The simple truth is that Stevie has been a fan of Omar’s music since he first heard T’here’s Nothing Like This’ back in 1992 – the same year he promised to write Omar “his first number one”. The 14-year wait turned out to be well worth it when, one day, Stevie called Omar out of the blue and told him he was in London and had just what he’d promised. A jam session later and the irrepressibly funky and melodic ‘Feeling You’, with Stevie on vocals and keyboards, was born.
Several years passed whilst Omar wrote more original music for the follow up album, but he also moved into acting, developed and performed his one-man stage play, did voiceovers, collaborated with all manner of likeminded artists – and then in 2012 received notification that he was to be awarded an MBE for services to the British Music Industry – a rare accolade for an artist who was never overly focused on commercial chart success.
In July 2012 – legendary soul boy, DJ and sports presenter Mark Webster contacted Freestyle A&R man Greg Boraman to tip him off that Omar had the new album completed and was looking for a new label. Boramans ‘speed of light’ email response could have won a Guinness Book Of Records title for the world’s fastest and most excitedly positive email in all history and so the discussions began….
Omar-MBE-733×10242013’s ‘The Man’ was heralded by all as an amazing return to form, and rated as Omars’ strongest album of his career – the title track, released as a single signposted all the archetypal components people have come to expect from an artist as original and unique as Omar. Rave reviews and a renewed interest and energy greeted this new music – and of course, suitably timed was Omars’ trip to Buckingham Palace to finally collect his MBE from Prince Charles, “Prince Charles, said “Do drop off a copy of your new album” … ‘Will do’ I said!. I am absolutely chuffed to bits. I want to dedicate it to all my die-hard fans who have always told me to keep on doing what I’m doing”
And true to his word – Omar has kept doing just that. Aside from making weekly appearances on BBC Television in Javon Prince‘s comedy show, touring the world, recording and performing as one 5th of The British Collective and of course, supporting Stevie Wonder at 2016’s epic and unforgettable Hyde Park concert.
2017’s new release ‘Love In Beats’ is Omars’ 8th studio album and may just be the most diverse and varied to date; incorporating Caribbean rhythms, an undercurrent of funk, with touches of zouk, a jazzy waltz and spoken word. It also features collaborations with US soul legend Leon Ware, highly regarded Blue Note pianist Robert Glasper, rapper Ty, Guadeloupe born singer Jean-Michele Rotin, UK soultress Natasha Watts, The Floacist and Mayra Andrade, the Cape Verdean born singer who lives and records in Paris.
Mainly recorded at his own Backyard Studio in South London, his unique voice, multi -instrumental and production skills, really come through on ‘Love In Beats’. With the help of his brother Scratch’s productions skills they have brought forth a new collection that may just be the most beautifully formed and career defining album of all.
‘This is an album of a labour of love between myself and my Grammy award winning brother The Scratch Professor. It is filled with powerful songs and mesmerising beats – that is Omar music and my brothers sound, it is truly ‘Love in Beats’
January 2020 and finally Omar gets a full career spanning ’best of’ album. Omar – The Anthology is a 33 track collection from right across the UK Don’s career – all the classics, plus deep cuts and archive finds! Features guest appearances from Stevie Wonder, Leon Ware, Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper and Carleen Anderson.
When asked to reflect on his long, successful, critically acclaimed and deeply influential career that shows no signs of slowing up, Omar said “I feel blessed. I try to keep things moving and evolving, and when I finish an album, I always put my heart and soul into it. I’m looking at it from an outsider’s point of view, because I never really see myself making the music. It’s like I’m the vessel and somebody’s controlling what I do, I just happen to be the one that gets the praise for it”.
That modest statement just re-enforces the fact that Omar is simply a one off, a genuinely unique artist. That is a bold claim, but his sound is so immediately identifiable, that you will know you are hearing an Omar track within seconds – and that is the stamp of true originality.
This collection features many of his classic collaborations, from his evergreen worldwide anthem There’s Nothing Like This, It’s So, the dance floor destroying banger inspired by the amalgam of sounds Omar heard at The Notting Hill Carnival.
Also included are lesser known, slept on tracks from across his long career – and the exclusive, previously unheard tracks Pass It On ft Terri Walker and Long Time Coming

Westerhall Rums UK

Westerhall Rums UK, Annabel Kingsman interview on Colourful Radio 12-Jan-2020

In the Southern Caribbean, on the South East corner of Grenada, lies the beautiful Westerhall Estate.

Since the early 1700s it has been producing sugar cane, coconuts, bananas and limes. Most importantly, over the centuries the family at the estate have developed a unique approach to the blending and bottling of rum.

Westerhall’s location on Grenada, the ‘Spice Isle’, means our rum is infused with a unique range of flavour notes. We’re now proud to say that we can promise quality and taste that can’t be found anywhere else.

But more importantly, we are right at the beating heart of Grenadian culture, and the result is a selection of rums with a range of individual tastes and aromas that scream sun, summer and carnival.

D.C.R.

D.C.R. interview on Colourful Radio 05-Jan-2020

D.C.R. is Dawn Claudette Rose. A Soulful RnB singer / songwriter of Jamaican parentage born in Manchester but raise in London surrounded by music in her home, which included reggae, soul, gospel and Motown. The likes of Gladys Knight, Whitney Houston, Bob Marley and Janet Jackson, to name a few, had a massive influence on her ever growing love for music and entertainment.

D.C.R. started writing poetry at age 9, which then developed into songwriting. She would create songs and use other Artists instrumentals as a backing track, from the flip side of an LP and record her vocals over the top, using her dads Hi Fi system and plug in a microphone he had. She’d record all her vocals onto cassette tape.

D.C.R. would do this regularly in her spare time, as if it were her own recording studio. Then play the songs back to herself later. In her mid-teens she was obsessed with Hip Hop music and Rap, as well as the culture. Her favorite influences being NWA, Run DMC, MC Lyte, Nice & Smooth, Redman , Leaders of the new school and many, many more. She started to write her own rap lyrics and incorporated them in her songs.

D.C.R. was also a natural born street dancer and performed regularly at school and home for fun, but then decided to form a dance crew, with her friend, making a good name for herself, performing as open acts for rappers such as Naughty by Nature and Nice & Smooth. She was creative with her fashion sense and had her own unique style, so would create a lot of her own outfits to perform in.

At age 17  D.C.R. attended Westminster College to study Fashion and Design, as her love of designing clothes and fashion styling grew. She thought she would pursue that side of the fashion world, whilst dancing at live shows in her spare time. D.C.R. completed her fashion design diploma and loved it, but realized whilst there, her heart was still deeply in singing and songwriting, so she went on to study Performing Arts. Whilst there she gained more experience and confidence in singing and performing on stage, as well as acting and contemporary dance. She excelled in Performing Arts, but left just completing her first year, as she decided to travel to Canada to pursue her dreams overseas.

Canada

Whilst in Canada Dawn lived with her Uncle for 2 years. She attended Barbizon Academy, which was a model and talent school. This helped her get various auditions for modeling and TV work, which was good exposure for her and led onto her working with a music producer named Sam. They worked together in the studio, writing and creating music with a hope to release. D.C.R performed some of her own songs at various music events, but still wasn’t getting the recognition she craved, so after some long thought, she decided to move back home to London.

London

D.C.R. realized he only way to pursue her dreams, was to create them herself by putting her own music out for the world to hear with her debut EP ‘D.C.R.’,

which is a collection of soulful, RnB tracks with cool swing beat vibes

and a hint of hip hop.

D.C.R. 2019 single releases: ‘Positive Vibes’ and ‘Old Skool’.

MS1 Project

MS1 Project interview on Colourful Radio 24-Nov-2019

The main nucleus of the group Is UK DJ – Mike “DJ Blue” Harrison – Principal songwriter, Percussion, Producer and George “GEO” Harrison – Bass, co-production and signwriting.

​The two are brothers have been around music for a long time. Owing to the fact that their Father is a gospel singer and prominent music promoter in the 70’s bringing visiting acts over from the USA and the Caribbean.

​Music was all around the household, anything from Soul, Motown, Reggae and even Popular music.

Mike was always creative writing poems ,rhymes and playing percussion. Then in turn crafting basic ideas into full songs.

​GEO is also musically creative playing Bass, keyboards and guitar. He also does session work for other acts.

“Music plays a very important part in our lives” .

Donovan Kingjay

Donovan Kingjay interview on Colourful Radio 27-Oct-2019

Donovan Kingjay was born in South East London to Jamaican parents. Although his family was not particularly musical, it was obvious that he had a talent. At the age of 19, he made hisfirst public appearance at a local community show and hasn’t looked back since. The early sound system that Singjay (His original name) used was owned by Fred Locks and Frankie One Love of King Original Sound. It was Fred Locks who renamed him. Fred said “How did you get the name Singjay and you a straight singer?”, I replied, “It’s a nickname from a long time. Sing like a Jay Bird”. Fred say “From today de I, you get the crowning of Kingjay from now”. This was in 2005. His early recordings were under the name of Singjay.

Donovan eventually came to the attention of Sugar Minott. who referred to him as his godson, and who had become a huge influence on him. Donovan thought of him as a big brother. Only Jamaica releases so far was “Never Too late”, on his Youthman Promotion Label in the year 2000.

Donovan has released numerous singles with different producers over the years and has currently got 4 releases. “I wish” on Bandcamp, Double-A and AA Red Vinyl Release. “Black Liberation / Great Steve Biko”, “Each One Teach One”, all creating a storm at this time. The next single, “Never Giving Up”, is due to be released August 2019, and several singles are awaiting in the pipeline awaiting producers.

Donovan Kingjay has two albums under his belt, “Higher Meditation” and “Natural Living”, and his next album on the Black Legacy label is scheduled for release at the end of 2019.

Donovan is constantly on the road performing, especially in Europe, where he recently headlined March 2019 at The Grounds in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to a sell out crowd.

Donovan is gradually climbing the ladder of success and is going to be around for a very long time.

Victor Haynes

Victor Haynes interview on Colourful Radio 20-Oct-2019

Victor Haynes has created a reputation as one of the UK’s most reliably versatile soul and jazz singers. A popular blend of standards and original compositions for concert venues, private parties, restaurants, hotels, clubs and corporate events – whether on stage, in the spotlight, or in the background – entertaining audiences with upbeat dance sets or performing laid-back classics for background ambience.International appearances have stretched from Europe to New York, he has supported “A” list stars for their UK shows and his five well reviewed albums have climbed the soul sales charts.

Victor Haynes’ versatile body of work made him a ‘one-call’ when artists like Edwin Starr, The Drifters, Curtis Mayfield, The Temptations, The Real Thing and The Crusaders needed the perfect support act for their UK shows. His international reputation for urbane style has built over three decades of performing at premier concert venues like Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, clubs, hotels, restaurants, corporate events, private parties and residencies. His versatile professionalism switches comfortably from solo gigs to singing with sax player Dean Houston or his up-tempo Motown-influenced ‘Mainstreet’ band.

Victor is available as a soloist … or with northwest sax legend Dean Houston … or with his own up-tempo Motown-influenced band ‘Mainstreet’. And his bespoke selections of soul, jazz and American swing numbers can include touches of blues and reggae too. As up-tempo or relaxed as you need him to be. Victor Haynes is one of the most respected names in UK soul music. A smooth and sophisticated vocal style that merges soul and jazz classics with original compositions. Timeless … or modern. Slow, easy listening backgrounds of laid-back soul … or faster, up-tempo dance sets.

Since then Victor has polished his relaxed interpretation of classic American jazz, swing and sweet soul music from Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington through to Luther Vandross and George Benson. There’s likely to be some edgy blues too. Even touches of reggae. Victor’s albums have climbed the UK soul charts and his work, at home and abroad, has included appearances in New York, France and Italy. He’s rubbed shoulders with the Rothschild family, the Duchess of York, Nigella Lawson, Dannii Minogue, Mel B and sporting legends from Mike Tyson and Wayne Rooney to Chris Eubank and Frank Bruno.

Back in the day – when a professional singing career first tempted him away from his own business designing and making jewellery – he moved to London and worked with major league soul stars like Jaki Graham, David Grant, Heatwave’s Derek Bramble and Rod Temperton. But, back in Manchester, it was his songwriting and recording partnership with keyboard player Pete May that began to attract attention, radio airplay, a recording deal and a series of acclaimed albums. Victor Haynes is as comfortable on stage in the spotlight as he is in the background. Usually solo. Sometimes with Dean Houston. And, yes … he still sings out with ‘Mainstreet’.

Tey Yaniis

Tey Yaniis interview on Colourful Radio 13-Oct-2019

Born in Dallas, Texas Soul Jones Music Group CEO/Artist Tey Yaniis brings his old soul personality and smooth delivery blending genres such as Neo-Soul, chill out, house, funk and hip-hop to create an exhilarated experience to today’s new and old generation of music lovers.

Tey Yaniis love for music began at an early age playing a variety of musical instruments such as trumpet, violin, cello, and singing in theatre arts. Developing a love for performing and entertainment through music Tey Yaniis embarked on a journey to combine hip-hop and poetry with a live instrumentation soulful sound to create his award winning debut album “The Soul Jones Collection” with the debut single “My Coffee Brown” produced by Bink Wills featuring Chris Keys which reached #36 on top 100 top independent chart on digitalradiotracker.com and being the #1 played single on Santa Clara University college radio station. Tey Yaniis influences include John Coltrane, Art Blakey, Cab Calloway, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, The Fugees, Digable Planets, Blackstar, and more. In addition to being a recording artist Tey Yaniis also is a songwriter in which he believes that tapping into a recording artist mind will have maximum results with bringing a masterpiece of a song. Being an experienced figure in the music industry behind the scenes as a tour organizer, hype man, DJ and more Tey looks to bring his soulful style to the forefront with the launch of his independent record label “Soul Jones Music Group” which Tey Yaniis and Co. will be releasing Tey’s follow up album as well as up and coming soul artist.


Tey Yaniis continues to make his mark in the music industry as a recording artist, songwriter and label head on his own terms. His brand will continue to bring not only soulful sounds but to uplift communities and inspire soulful artist to continue push out music that will help heal and bring light into the world. Tey truly acknowledges the support from his fans and family that keeps him making good music and pushing to greater boundaries. Peace, love unity and respect.

Adelaide Mackenzie

Adelaide Mackenzie interview on Colourful Radio 06-Oct-2019

July 2005 saw the launch of Adelaide Mackenzie’s first album “Daily Process” at The Jazz Cafe. Now after 12 years of musical development and personal growth. The much awaited 2nd album from Adelaide Mackenzie entitled “Simply Me” will be launched on 10th October 2019 at South London’s infamous Jazz Venue, The Hideaway, Streatham, London SW16 2BF.

British born Jamaican, Adelaide Mackenzie who was strongly influenced by reggae and soul, has grown and developed profoundly as an artist and in the last 12 years, has won awards and has been dubbed the Queen of open-mic with her live event “Blessed Souls UK”. With a following of over 2,500 fans of both her music and hosting she has an awesome album to launch that her audience will definitely Love. She has recently wowed an audience as the sole supporting act for American Neo-Soul singer “Goapele” at the Jazz café July 2019, showcasing exclusive tracks from her forth coming album.

This new album is an eclectic blend of soul, reggae and pop fused with Jazz and gospel influences. It also contains elements of spoken word which will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted. It covers messages that many can relate to including Love and Relationships on the track “If You’re Looking (for Love)” and healing to overcoming life’s difficulties in the song “Let It Go”. She also has an amazing bonus track “Take Me To Your Dream”. This House track is already having the DJ’s talking and definitely has that element to keep you on the dance floor. No doubt it will be a HIT!

Gospel influences are found in her “Only God” track where she pens her personal journey and belief that “Only God” can heal her soul and in “Stand Up” which features Peter Francis & The Jabez Family choir. The song brings influences of Gospel with a 70’s feel and empowers people to ‘stand up’ for their rights. It also includes the ‘Brook Benton and Clyde Otis’ song “Endlessly” also covered by Randy Crawford. Adelaide recently released her version of ‘Endlessly’ as a single and the feedback from radio DJ’s has been amazing.

Tristan

Tristan interview on Colourful Radio 29-Sep-2019

Dutch five-piece Tristan’s music can be best described as feel-good vintage Acid Jazz, with the energy, vibe and sounds of today, performed by some of the best contemporary pop/jazz musicians from Europe.

Funky rhythm guitars, Hammond, Fender Rhodes and synths, and a rhythm section that has been performing together for decades playing solid grooves and tight, punchy arrangements that have since become their trademark. All this underpins singer Evelyn Kallansee’s stunningly beautiful vocals. It will take you back to that great warm sound of the 70’s, with a fresh breeze of influences from the present. While Tristan’s music may sound like bands such as Tower of Power, Snarky Puppy, or classic Acid Jazz acts such as Incognito and the Brand New Heavies – who all produce high energy grooves – what makes this group stand out from their contemporaries is the high quality of the compositions and arrangements.

Tristan’s debut release, ‘Full Power’ – which featured US soul singer Heston, UK saxophone maestro Nigel Hitchcock and legendary American trumpeter Randy Brecker – received rave reviews, while their highly acclaimed follow-up, ‘2nd Phase’, proved that this is a band with something to say, both albums going straight to No 1 in the UK soul charts.

The group continued to surprise again, in 2016 with ‘Lifestyle’ and 2017 ‘Live in Concert’. Those CD’s brought them in 2016/ 2017 all over the world: Japan, United Kingdom , Germany, Poland, Romania, Denmark, Luxembourg and France.

‘The Spice of Five’ is their fifth album, and was released worldwide in April 2019.

Cadice

Cadice interview on Colourful Radio 22-Sep-2019

Cadice is an exciting new London RnB singer/songwriter.

‘Lovers and Friends’ is the latest single.

Her captivating lyrics and soulful flow have been inspired by greats including Whitney Houston and Patti La Belle who Cadice grew up listening to. A true urban artist, Cadice has previously worked on a number of exciting projects including Afrobeat and Reggae releases.

‘Lovers and Friends’ was produced by Sky Beats, and details a story of love at first sight, teasing the potential life that they could have together.

Tony Momrelle

Tony Momrelle interview on Colourful Radio 15-Sep-2019

Tony Momrelle is one of the most exciting and significant soul musicians on the modern British stage.

In a music career spanning 20+ years, he has performed with some of the greatest artists in the world: Incognito, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Sade, Gary Barlow, Andrea Bocelli, Gwen Stefani, Robert Palmer and many more. In Autumn 2016 he supported the legendary Earth, Wind & Fire on their sold-out UK tour.

Momrelle was lead male vocalist of the famous British Acid-jazz band Incognito for more than sixteen years before launching his solo career. His acclaimed debut album ‘Keep Pushing’ was released in 2015, followed by a Deluxe Edition twelve months later. With guest appearances from Talib Kweli, Chantae Cann and Tony Remy, the album is an infectious mingling of eighties-inspired synths, jazzy keys, classic piano and soaring soul vocals.

Channelling Hathaway, Wonder and countless other sounds, styles and ideas through his authentic, thoroughly contemporary interpretation of what British soul music actually means today, Momrelle realised something profoundly special in ‘Keep Pushing’. Strong mainstream and regional radio support for the album culminated in four BBC Radio 2-playlisted singles and ongoing airplay across Europe.

Momrelle’s ‘Keep Pushing Tour’ has flown world-wide, playing to sold-out audiences at venues and festivals in the UK, Australia, Italy, Germany, Russia, France, Indonesia and many more. On home soil, he has dazzled audiences at the EFG London Jazz Festival and Cheltenham Jazz Festival for several years running.

Notable media appearances in 2017/8 included an intimate duet with Jools Holland live on the much-loved BBC One show ‘Later with Jools Holland’, as well as distinguished collaborations with the Guy Barker Orchestra and Big Band for BBC Radio 2 – including a recent performance at the London Coliseum alongside Gregory Porter & Friends for ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’.

His second studio album ‘Best Is Yet To Come’ was released on April 26th 2019.

Fresh from the success of the new single ‘Rising Up’, described by SoulTracks as “an instant classic” and supported by Trevor Nelson on BBC Radio 2, Tony Momrelle returned with an exquisite new body of work that represents a decisive moment in his solo career. Best Is Yet To Come is arguably Momrelle’s finest album to date, truly demonstrating his exceptional prowess as a songwriter, as well as showcasing the outstanding vocal ability for which he is widely known.

Described by Trevor Nelson as “a mainstay of the UK soul scene”, Tony Momrelle has channelled his inimitable talent into his own solo project, the result of which is an album that clearly positions him as an equal and contemporary of the luminaries with whom he has collaborated.

From the heartwarming optimism of the title track, to the disco funk of ‘You Got It’ and the smooth soul sound on ‘We Searched For Heaven’, Momrelle presents a vibrant and diverse canvas of songs that bring out the very best of his talent, leaving the sense that Best Is Yet To Come has something for everyone to enjoy. There are however vital elements running through each track that unify all: the sheer quality of songwriting and the unique, powerful tenor vocal that only Tony Momrelle himself can deliver.

2019 will continue to see Tony touring across Europe, taking the Rising Up tour the UK, Germany, Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine and more.

Tony Lindsay

Tony Lindsay interview on Colourful Radio 08-Sep-2019

After 25 years as the lead vocalist for Santana, Tony Lindsay has garnered 11 Grammy awards, travelled on several world tours and recorded on seven CDs: Milagro (1992), Supernatural (1999), Shaman (2002), Ceremony (2003) and Food for Thought (2004), Ultimate Santana (2007) and Multi-Dimensional Warrior (2008). Their current tour involves Santana’s First Rock Residency: an exclusive two-year deal for 36 shows with AEG at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s concert hall “The Joint,” which began May 27, 2009. When not on tour with Santana, Lindsay performs at various local venues and festivals. Tony has become a regular performer for The Golden State Warriors (NBA), The Santa Cruz Warriors (G league NBA), The San Francisco 49ers, The San Francisco Giants and The San Jose Sharks, singing The National Anthem.

Tony Lindsay also has quite an impressive curriculum vitae as songwriter: “Don’t Be Late For Love” (The Whispers), “Look What We’d Have If You Were Mine” (Tevin Campbell), “Can’t Get Over Your Love” (Howard Hewitt), “Just Because” (Nikita Germain) and various tracks for Johnny Gill, Howard Hewitt, Mica Paris, Shanice, Diatra Hicks, Jay Spencer and Diana Ross; background vocalist: “Everyday People” (Aretha Franklin), “Emotionally Yours” (O’Jays), “Glad To Be Alive” (Teddy Pendegrass), “Heaven and Earth” (Al Jarreau), “Passion,” “Tango In Paris” (Regina Bell), “It’s Supposed To Be Fun” (Lou Rawls), “People Make The World Go Round” (Marc Dorsey from the Spike Lee movie soundtrack Crooklyn), “Many Rivers To Cross” (Oletta Adams from the movie soundtrack Jason’s Lyric), “Voyages” (Elliot Lewis), “Junction Seven” (Steve Winwood), “New World Order” (Curtis Mayfield), VH1 1997 Video Honors Award (Stevie Wonder, Steve Winwood, Chaka Khan, James Taylor, The Williams Brothers and George Michael) and Patti Austin & James Ingram under the direction of Quincy Jones and 18-piece orchestra, along with Jerry Hey for the Dick Clark Productions and the Lexus Corporation; jingle writer: various Taco Bell commercials, Gain, Northern California Chevrolet Dealers, Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, El Pollo Loco, Hot Wheels, Long John Silvers, Pine-Sol, Jelly Belly, Wendy’s, Mazda (national) Signed, Sealed, Delivered, Old Milwaukee Beer (national), Armor All, Dreyers Grand Ice Cream, Matchbox and St Joseph Aspirin; and solo recording artist: Different Moods (1995), The Message is Love (1997) and his current self-titled project Tony Lindsay (2005).

In 1980, Lindsay arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area from Kingston, New York, and continues to perform with the first band he formed Spangalang, who have opened for Curtis Mayfield, Tower of Power, Gerald Albright, Jr. Walker and the Average White Band. He was one of four singers who travelled with “Dancing with the Stars,” the road tour version of the popular TV Dance show, which began in 2005. Lindsay joined Dancing with the Stars on three of the first four seasons as well as touring with Santana. Other bands that Tony helped form and still performs with are The Soul Soldiers, Black Magic, and the Ray Charles Project.

In 2015, Carlos Santana decided to change personnel in his band and set the wheels in motion for Tony to start on his 5th and current solo CD “Something Beautiful”.

Previous solo releases including “Different Moods” in 1995, “The Message is Love” in 1997, “Tony Lindsay” in 2005, and “Memoirs” in 2014.

Marva King

Marva King interview on Colourful Radio 25-Aug-2019

While perhaps best known for her starring role as Helen in the Tyler Perry’s 60 plus mega-million dollar grossing DVD “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”. She also spent 4 years as a vocalist, dancer & percussionist with Prince and the New Power Generation, Marva King is a true multi-media sensation whose talents and ambition continue to expand with every new creative endeavor.

Today, King prepares for the release of her long awaited 2019 solo CD titled Marva King “Th@t Part”. It embodies R&B, Funk, Raggae, Soul, and Dance Music from the Old & New Skools.

King’s new music will be released Independently on her Marvalous Works Entertainment label. She is also a featured performing artist in the band “consisting of former New Power Generation members & other extremely talented musicians for the new band “ Soul Beret.”

Look for an Original Music CD giving homage to Prince, created by “Soul Beret” band members in 2019.
The multi-talented producer, singer/songwriter and recording artist conceptualized, co-wrote & co-produced her last single “Steppin” along with track-master/producer Stone Paxton in 2012 which featured rapper Alpha Red & Christopher Williams. It rose quickly on the Top 20 U.K. R&B charts.

King sang with and for Michael Jackson, Prince, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, George Howard, 2Pac, Stevie Wonder, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Yolanda Adams, Anita Baker, Will Downing, Norman Connors, Ronald “Mr. Biggs” Isley of The Isley Bros. just to name a few. Her upcoming cd slated for release in 2019 is a melodic & grooving 12 to 15 tracks that further establish King’s virtuosity as a solo artist after her career as a backing & featured vocalist. Marva; “The key to the success of this project is that I’m expressing myself with total authenticity,” King says, “musically as well as emotionally and spiritually. I’m sharing my beliefs and some of my innermost secret emotions and thoughts about myself and the world around me.”

Blessed with a dynamic vocal range and a multitude of influences, King’s recordings include elements of R&B, soul, funk and reggae. “Soul B Soldier” is focused on a range of music genres, as her mentor Prince did in his successfully illustrious career.

Her previous Indie solo recordings include The One (2010), Grown & Sexy (2007), Soul Sistah (2005) and Light of Day (2003), while Soul Sistah enjoyed rave reviews by the British, Asian and European music critics. The album entered the Top 30 charts at #5 and quickly rose to #2, surpassing Indie Arie, Teena Marie, The Isley Brothers and Donnell Jones, among others. King’s most noted recordings is her Solo debut album Feels Right on Electra/Planet Records 1981, produced by Richard Perry.

A native of Flint, Michigan, Marva King has been performing nonstop since the age of four. In addition to her vast resume as a session singer—which also includes recordings by LionelRichie, Whitney Houston, Jimmy Cliff and Chaka Khan—she co-wrote The Whispers’ single “Innocent,” which debuted at #4 on the Billboard Hot Singles Chart and sold more than one million units worldwide. King also wrote the lyrics & melody for ”A piece of Love” on Lionel Richie’s CD “Louder than words.” Over the years, she has performed live with Lenny Kravitz, Seal and Will.i.am and toured with many affiliated hit makers.
King’s mesmerizing delivery inspired Larry Flick to write in Billboard, “Marva King is a supreme diva, and her name will go down in history as one of the best.” In 1997, Prince took her on the road, under his wing, and made her a member of his group, New Power Generation (NPG)—a stint that included recording on his New Power Soul album. In 2007, recorded Shania Twain’s Hit song “Still the one” which Prince re-titled “Ure still the One”.

Marva reunited with Prince for another series of arena and intimate venue concerts, which included the record breaking “21 Nights Concerts” at the 02 Arena in the UK, as well as recording on his Lotus Flower recording in 2009; she also made several appearances in his bestselling coffee table book “21 Nights.” King managed 15 shows of her own in between the Prince dates. “Those two years were intense,” she says. “I was exhausted the entire time, yet it was so exciting. I learned a lot about performing from Prince.”

Other career highlights include Stevie Wonder hiring King as an eager teen; performing on “Natural Wonder,” a double album recorded live in Osaka and Tel Aviv in the mid 90’s.

King thanks American Idol’s Randy Jackson for her first production jobs at Sony in the early ‘90s, a stint that made her one of the few female producers at that time in the music industry.

Reflecting on her journey, King says, “One of the things I have learned from acting is the importance of communicating your “truths” with people, no matter how apprehensively uncomfortable you may feel to expose your deepest emotions. I’m doing that more with my recordings.

Cooking is King’s secondary passion. Marva creates & modifies many culturally popular dishes & cocktails. She maintained a 3.6 GPA as a Culinary student at the prestigious Arts Institute. Look for “something Artsy” on the screen reflecting her undeniable skills by 2020!!

Currently King returned to the theatrical stage as the lead in the production “Can a Woman raise a Man.” Touring the U.S.

Many exciting things on the horizon in 2019 for the woman many have given the name “Marva The King.” 👑

Candace Woodson

Candace Woodson interview on Colourful Radio 04-Aug-2019

Born in Paducah, KY, she began singing at the age of five with her older sisters in a gospel group called the Parks Sisters. Although her roots are in gospel, after high school Candace began to explore other avenues in the music industry. She is the first graduate of the Commercial Music Program at Tennessee State University in Nashville and is a professional recording artist with a background in Gospel, R&B, Jazz, and Pop.

Twenty-eight days after her 2014 breast cancer surgery, Candace Woodson was back to business as usual performing at the wedding of one of John “Cougar” Mellencamp’s daughters. This is a testament to Candace Woodson’s lifelong passion for performing and a talent for resilience she calls “stick to it-ness”.

A survivor since 2014, she wrote the song “Free,” a funky old school dance anthem that conveys hope and positivity in the wake of adversity. This is a message she conveys stemming from her own experience and feeling after receiving her last cancer treatment at the Medical University of South Carolina.

This success laid the foundation for a handful of other chart topping singles, including “The Answer Is No”, a defiant female empowerment ballad produced by songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Glide. “The Answer Is No” hit #1 on the UK Soul Chart Top 30 and has continued to receive airplay Smooth Jazz Radio. Woodson received Billboard’s “Most Added” designation and a Bright Star Awards Best International Artist nominee.

Her highly anticipated full-length debut album “Desire” includes her UK hits as well as new tracks produced by hit smooth jazz guitarist/producer Nils and Lew Laing (Paul Brown, Richard Elliot, Stephanie K) and others helmed by the singer herself.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunities I have had in the UK, and it’s exciting now to work with Nils and Lew in expanding my fan base in the United States.”

“I have stopped and started the musical part of my life so many times, but this time I will not stop no matter how things play out. To me, the album is very authentic and it reflects everything I’ve gone through and the soul of someone who has loved music all her life“.

Tyra Levone

Tyra Levone interview on Colourful Radio 07-Jul-2019

Tyra Levone is a soulful R&B Singer/ Songwriter/ Producer from Washington, DC. Through emotional, honest, and transparent lyrics, Tyra’s music reflects the struggles of everyday people. Tyra Levone’s first single “If Only I Knew,” released in 2015, expresses great joy, sorrow, and Tyra’s personal life lesson…this too shall pass. In her debut album, “Testimony: A Soul Set Free,” (2017) Tyra bares her soul through musical testimony, with the hope to inspire “the awakening of knowledge, peace discovered on the journey and the freedom to live boldly.”

From humble beginnings, Tyra’s singing aspirations began at the age of 10, with a father-daughter duet at her neighborhood church. She continued writing songs, singing, and playing the piano for church choir and, over the years, further developed her craft.

Tyra’s aspirations for singing began at a young age witnessing her father sing in the church choir, so it was only natural that Tyra began playing the piano and singing in the choir as well.

Throughout these years, Tyra discovered her ability to convert her thoughts, emotions, and feelings into poetry and song. Tyra’s fusion of old school Jazz, Gospel, R&B, Blues, and Hip Hop influences produce an eclectic feel good sound.

She credits her influences to the likes of Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye, Anita Baker, Stevie Wonder, and Aretha Franklin, just to name a few. Tyra has performed at special events with the late legendary Godfather of GoGo Chuck Brown, Entertainer Marcus Johnson at Blues Alley, as well as numerous other special events and venues, and has written and published songs with Spur of the Moment and Kenny Allen.Tyra’s talent for creating custom written songs for events displays her authentic artistry, a gifting many have grown to love.

Tyra’s has always genuinely believed that when it became her season she would be called…and now she proclaims,
“This is my call…This is my space.”

Her joy, tears, laughter, deep sorrow, and life lessons fueled with mid-tempo to upbeat songs dusted with a few ballads, has accomplished Tyra’s mission of putting everyone in the groove and begin her #FeelGoodFrenzy that will make you clap your hands, bob your head, smile, laugh, and maybe even cry as your soul is enlightened. Witness the musical miracle as we follow the journey of how Tyra’s soul was set free!

Tyra Levone – Keep Steppin – Released 8th June 2019.

Rayvon

Rayvon interview on Colourful Radio 16-Jun-2019

Brooklyn-raised Rayvon has garnered this success and more while affectionately being dubbed the “ambassador of hip-hop reggae.” Having shared the stage with monolithic icons The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson his pop-infused Caribbean flavor has paved the way for the next generation of Barbadian recording artists such as Rihanna, Shontelle, and Jaicko. Rayvon’s eponymous third album. Rayvon features track work from heavyweights such as Jah Snowcone (Sean Paul, Vybz Kartel) as well as the production prowess of Danny Champagne, Ali Cat, and Carl “Beaver” Henderson.

The first single “Back it Up” is a hard-edged pulsating groove that have guys jumping and ladies gyrating. From “Hustle and Flow” to the pop reggae lilt of “Wedding Song,” the album result is an explosive collection of sonic heavy hitters (“Riding Skill”), Euro dance (“Private Dancer”), and his patented brand of hip-hop reggae (“Get Money,” “Bang Bang”). To date, “Back It Up” has garnered Rayvon an International Association of Independent Recording Artists (IAIRA) award and ranked in at No. 1 on Indie-Music.com’s top 25 for 2011. The second single “One N Only” is swiftly giving chase at No. 2.

Rayvon is probably best known for his work with multi-platinum selling vocalist Shaggy. The two began collaborating on a string of tunes in the 90’s which culminated in the Sting Int’l produced regional hit “Big Up.” Rayvon says, “We both got our break with that record. It put us in the reggae/dancehall spotlight. I had a smooth-edged style of singing and he had that rough DJ style. The chemistry was amazing.” Rayvon was also featured covering The Melodians’ classic “Rivers of Babylon” on the B-side of Shaggy’s 1993 hit “Oh Carolina”.

The following year Rayvon’s solo star began to brighten with the release of his hip-hop reggae classic “No Guns, No Murder” (produced by Funkmaster Flex) on the venerable VP Records. The track hit a trifecta on Billboard, ranking in simultaneously on the Hot 100, Rap Singles, and R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs charts. VP issued the follow up “Pretty (Before I go To Bed),” which quickly impacted the Billboard’s Rap Singles chart. Rayvons’ career trajectory accelerated in 1995 when he recorded the island-tinged duet “In The Summertime” from Shaggy’s platinum, Grammy award-winning album Boombastic. The song was a cover of Mungo Jerry’s 1970 hit and following in its original success Shaggy’s version with the help of Rayvon reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and No. 5 in the UK while also featured in various major motion pictures and television series.

Rayvon spent the next few years diligently releasing underground singles including “Bashment Party,” which positioned itself on Billboard’s Rap Singles chart. In 2001 he lent his vocals to yet another smash Shaggy duet, “Angel,” from the 6x Platinum seller Hotshot. This time, the duo topped Billboard’s Hot 100 and took home an American Music Award for the wildly successful tune. Rayvon appeared with Shaggy in the national spotlight on shows like Live w/ Regis & Kelly, Saturday Night Live, Jay Leno, David Letterman and All My Children. The song has since clocked in at 18 million views on YouTube and has been certified gold and platinum around the world. Rayvon says, “People have grown up with the classic songs I’ve done over the years. People want to hear Reggae because it’s feel good music. Feel good music will never die.”

Rayvon previously released two solo albums including Hear My Cry (Virgin Records 1997) and My Bad (Big Yard Music/MCA Records 2002). Though hopes were high for his impressive debut album, it largely hovered under the radar in a whirlpool of label politics. “I came out in a year where it was like a small dog among big dog. Virgin released albums by UB40, Janet Jackson, Rolling Stones, and the Spice Girls that same year. I was caught in that whole whirlwind.” The release of “2-Way” off the sophomore effort reached No. 10 on BET’s 106 & Park countdown and chimed in on Billboard’s R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs chart. The title track “My Bad” stands at 84 thousand views on YouTube, featured a cameo from cohort Shaggy and boasted No. 1 at Top 40 Radio for four weeks.

Noel McKoy

Noel McKoy interview on Colourful Radio 09-Jun-2019

Noel McKoy is an internationally renowned singer, songwriter and producer.

With over forty years in the music industry, Noel has recorded, performed and toured the world with many of the greatest names in music including (but not limited to): The Staks Band, Stevie Wonder, Kool and The Gang, Ronald Isley, Gladys Knight, George Clinton, Womack and Womack, Atlantic Starr, Lonnie Liston Smith, The Sounds of Blackness, Nu Colors and Marcus Miller.

Noel has sung duets with UK stars including Mica Paris, Beverley Knight, Juliet Roberts and Ebony Alleyne. In addition, he’s collaborated with respected innovators Omar, Mark Morrison, Incognito’s Bluey Maunick, Steve Williamson, Linton ‘Kwesi’ Johnson, The Pasadenas and Acid Jazz’s Snowboy – all of whom consider him a major force to be reckoned with.

He has taken the stage by storm at New York’s legendary Apollo Theatre, London’s Royal Albert Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Stevie Wonder requested Noel sing with him at his London 02 concerts.

As the songwriter for, and signature voice of The James Taylor Quartet’s most commercial period – completing 10 world tours and three albums with them, Noel McKoy was at the forefront of the 1990’s Acid Jazz explosion.

As well as being a highly successful front-man and collaborator with other major artists, Noel McKoy is also a deeply respected innovator. The genre-defining street soul anthem “Family” which he wrote, produced and performed in family band Mckoy with his brothers and sister in 1993, is revered over twenty years later as a stylistically unique classic, loved by an entire generation of UK soul fans.

Noel has performed many successful studio sessions with soul legends Atlantic Star, Courtney Pine and Climie Fisher.

Since 2000, the resurgence of the house music scene has, again, heard Noel McKoy’s thundering vocals fronting many chart hits such as the classic “So Right” by Jet Lag (produced by Axwell of the Swedish Mafia). Noel, along with his sisters, also featured on Legendary producer Ian Levine’s Northern Soul 2007 and Disco 2008.

Noel’s mastery of classic soul stylings was demonstrated on his album “Brighter Day” – featured live on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends – and on his series of all-star tribute shows to the greats of black music such as Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield and Donny Hathaway. His successful take on the masters showcased his power, range and versatility, which brought the house down.

Noel was one of the featured singers on BBC Radio 3’s Jazz Voice concert – a celebration of some of the great songs of the past few decades, sung by some of the great voices of today.

Noel has featured in the acclaimed cinema movie “Glastonbury”. He has also written for Sir Cliff Richard OBE.

Soundtrack commissions include (but not limited to): composing the music for Children’s ITV drama “Running Loose”, writing and performing the 1994 BBC1 Commonwealth Games Theme “The Brave”. Hollywood took notice and, soon thereafter, he co-wrote the song “Five Good Reasons” for the movie Bad Company starring Ellen Barkin and Laurence Fishburne.

Noel co-wrote and performed on Jean Toussaint’s album ‘A Street Below the Underground’ which was voted Best Album in the BBC Radio 3 Jazz Awards.

Noel has performed jazz originals and standards on the stages of the Barbican, Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Royal Albert Hall and Ronnie Scotts. He sang for HRH Elizabeth II on The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee’s River Pageant with Guy Barker’s Jazz Orchestra.
Recent highlights from his ever more diverse career includes taking lead vocals at The Royal Festival Hall for Jazz Jamaica’s 21-piece orchestra’s 2014 “Motown Greats” show led by double bassist Gary Crosby OBE.

In 2015 Noel’s stature within UK Soul Music was again recognised when he was asked to join The British Collective – the supergroup of British soul music pioneers comprising Leee John (Imagination), Omar, Junior and Don-E.

As well as performing and touring, Noel has been writing, recording and producing his TRIO Album concept – which showcases his musical diversity across Soul, Reggae and Dance genres. His “Dutch Pot – Hard Food”, reggae album will be first of the trilogy to be released – Release on Independent Label – Foundation Recordings.

Rahsaan Patterson

Rahsaan Patterson interview on Colourful Radio 26-May-2019

Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and actor Rahsaan Patterson is used to being in the limelight.

This summer marks his 35th anniversary in the entertainment industry. The dynamic artist was
only ten when he landed in the national spotlight as a cast member on the Disney Channel show, Kids Incorporated, alongside cast mates Fergie and Mario Lopez. However, it is not fame that has fueled Patterson all these years but rather an earnest desire to create music and stories about life’s ever-changing journey that capture the human spirit. It is a mission that he has fulfilled well through the narrative of his own soul-stirring compositions. R&B goddess Chaka Khan has sung his praises, Brandy and Van Hunt have recorded his songs and Faith, Lalah Hathaway, Ledisi and Rachelle Ferrell have all done collaborations with him. “I create my music based on my personal experience, my spirit, and where the spirit takes me and guides me to where I’m supposed to go,” confides Rahsaan, who was named after the iconic and eccentric jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

Patterson’s adventurous musical palette, which fuses the worlds of R&B, funk, jazz, gospel and electronica, has always kept his fans on the edge of their seats. His visionary spirit, coupled with his buttery smooth and flawless soul drenched tenor, has garnered Rahsaan, a unique space in the R&B world. “I am more than a classic R&B person. I have an exploratory nature in life and that dynamic is also reflected in my music,” shares Rahsaan. On May 17, 2019, Shanachie Entertainment will release Heroes & Gods , which further cements Patterson’s place as one of the most impressive voices in modern R&B. “I have always felt my path is my path,” explains Rahsaan. “When everything is aligned, that is when it will be my time to shine brighter.” The arrival of Heroes & Gods is a testament to the fact that Rahsaan Patterson is right on time and his time is now!

Shalamar

Shalamar on Colourful Radio 19-May-2019

As Shalamar, Howard Hewitt and Jeffrey Daniel sold over 25 million records worldwide and collected no less than 100 gold, silver and platinum awards. Howard and Jeffrey, together with Carolyn Griffey – the daughter of Solar Records founder Dick Griffey and Carrie Lucas, bring an exciting blend of funk, disco and soul to every live show. One of the most powerful and energetic acts on the circuit today.

As noted in the British Hit Singles & Albums, Shalamar were regarded as fashion icons and trendsetters, and helped to introduce ‘body-popping’ to the United Kingdom. Jeffrey Daniel brought street dance to the UK – he is noted as the dance mentor for Michael Jackson and the man that taught him the moonwalk.

Howard Hewett is a one of the most iconic US soul artistes of all time, releasing numerous solo albums and collaborating or performing with some of the greats including Stevie Wonder, George Duke, Earth, Wind and Fire, Teena Marie, Anita Baker, Dionne Warwick, Deniece Williams, El Debarge. He was recently voted by Soul Tracks as one of the top 10 greatest male soul singers of all time.

Jeremy Hector

Jeremy Hector interview on Colourful Radio 12-May-2019

Jeremy Sean Hector is a gifted guitarist and songwriter, whose unique approach to writing and performing comprises of a soothing blend of soul and contemporary jazz. He is a perpetual student of music, and aspires to use his gift to positively influence and inspire his listeners.

Jeremy is known for a very melodic style of guitar playing; that has been described as having a vocal quality.

Born on the Caribbean island of Grenada on December 24th, 1990, Jeremy was introduced to music at an early age. His musical journey began at the age of seven; with classical piano lessons. However, it was on the guitar that he found his true passion for music. His father, Jude Hector, being a guitarist himself, exposed Jeremy to a wide variety of contemporary jazz, soul and gospel, and taught him for a few years.

This combination of exposure to music and informal lessons became the bedrock of his musical education. His musical philosophy has been heavily influenced by the likes of the late Chuck Loeb, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, Eddie Bullen & Arturo Tappin.

In 2009, Jeremy began a four year academic journey on the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and Barbados consecutively, which culminated with a Masters Degree in Psychology. In addition to his academic achievement, he interacted and worked with professional musicians on both islands; an experience which opened his mind to the possibility of life as a musician.

Jeremy’s career as a full-time musician began in November 2014 with the inception of the band Soul Deep; with his twin brother, Josh Hector, being the drummer and bandleader. Soul Deep drew widespread attention on the island because of their versatility and the ease with which they tackled songs from musical giants such as Earth Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder.

The band enjoyed moments such as memorable performances with Ronald “Boo” Hinkson at the Rhythms of Spice jazz concert, and backing the UK’s British Collective comprised of Omar Lye-Fook, Junior Giscombe, Don-E, Noel McKoy and Leee John at the Pure Grenada Music Festival.

Individually, Jeremy has been featured onstage with internationally acclaimed musicians such as saxophonist Arturo Tappin, and pianist Eddie Bullen; experiences which have significantly contributed to his musical development.

To date, the highlight of his career has been partnering with Eddie Bullen and Thunder Dome Sounds to record and release his debut album titled Ascension. As the title suggests, Ascension is just the first step in documenting a musical journey that promises to be fruitful and inspirational.

Chelsea Wilson

Chelsea Wilson interview on Colourful Radio 21-Apr-2019

Chelsea Wilson is a Melbourne based vocalist, songwriter, broadcaster and producer. Her debut soul inspired album “I Hope You’ll Be Very Unhappy Without Me” was lauded #2 Album of the Year on ABC Radio National and nominated for Best Soul Album at The Age Music Victoria Awards. An internationally acclaimed live performer she headlined the Arts Centre Melbourne stage at the Australasian World Music Expo; supported Macy Gray on her Australian tour; and made her UK debut at Glastonbury Festival 2015, subsequently selling out the famous London Jazz Café.

Her highly anticipated second album “Chasing Gold” (available March 22) sees Chelsea move into rare-groove territory, fusing her love of early disco, epic pop and jazz. Produced by ARIA nominated composer/ bassist Ross McHenry (The Shaolin Afronauts), the album features lush string orchestration arranged by Ross Irwin (The Bamboos) and backing vocals by Jason Heerah and Thando. The debut single “Real Love” has garnered international airplay.

Behind the scenes Chelsea is the Artistic Director of the Stonnington Jazz Festival and recently appeared as a panel expert on Australian Music at The Lincoln Centre New York City for Jazz Congress 2019. A champion for diversity in the music industry she has produced the ‘Women of Soul’ series featuring artists such as Kylie Auldist, Mojo Juju and Stella Angelico alongside emerging artists since 2010. She is currently Deputy Chair of Music Victoria, the state peak body for contemporary music and was a formative member of the MV Women in Music Advisory Panel.

As a DJ Chelsea has supported artists including Booker T, Neneh Cherry, Tina Arena, Hiatus Kaiyote and Craig Charles.