Carmen Rodgers interview on Colourful Radio 14-March-2021
Alvin Garrett interview on Colourful Radio 07-March-2021
Macka B interview on Colourful Radio 28-February-2021
Representing the UK reggae scene, Macka B and Pecking’s Records are the real deal…
‘Never Played A 45’ showcases the conscious words, sound and power from the original lyrics teacher, Macka B.
All tracks are voiced over a crucial selection of classic riddims courtesy of the mighty Peckings brothers.
The album is packed full of instant replays including the massive hit title track and the Youtube hit, ‘Medical Marijuana Card’ (300,000+ hits and rising).
With his deep, bassie tones and a flow to match the finest, Macka B has risen from Soundboy on UK Soundsystems to world-renowned Reggae star amassing an inspiring body of work on his 30 year journey.
Known affectionately as ‘The Big Rastaman’ he has taken his sharp conscious lyrics and positive outlook to every continent except Antarctica, although his coolness might stop the ice melting over there!
Macka B is inspired by H.I.M. Ras Tafari and pioneer DJ’s such as U-Roy, I-Roy, Big Youth and Prince Far-I. He unites people, promoting our similarities and common origins while being unafraid to educate on important issues in a wholly uplifting way. This is refreshing to audiences turned off by slackness pop & electro and inward looking, shoe-gazing indie. Macka B is for real.
Macka B has collaborated with a veritable who’s who of dynamic talent including Gregory Isaacs, Freddie McGregor, Steel Pulse, Luciano, Horace Andy and Earl Sixteen. A long and successful partnership with producer Mad Professor (ARIWA) has given Macka B an international fan base with a full canon of hit albums and international tours under his belt. Now teaming up with the Peckings Brothers and their unique access to foundation rhythms Macka delivers ‘Never Played A 45’ an already acclaimed back to the roots five star classic.
George ‘Peckings’ Price was one of the first to bring Reggae to the shores of the UK. Peckings was the go-to man of Jamaican Reggae stars looking to expose their work to the UK and beyond and as such had the likes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry stopping at his home in West London. This was an inspirational environment for Pecking’s sons, Chris and Duke, who are now producers in their own right. With unique access to the catalogue of Coxsone Dodd of Studio 1, Duke Reid of Treasure Isle and Bunny Lee – the brothers established a successful career, winning both best label and best producer at the British Reggae Industry Awards in 2013.
With the positively dangerous combination of Macka B and the Peckings brothers, VPAL are proud to announce the release of the album ‘Never Played a 45’. The album combines Macka B’s skill of exhibiting deep thinking positivity and the Pecking’s brother’s re-fresh of the classic rhythms loved by all. With this team-up the album is an all killer, no filler affair and there are plenty of stand-out tunes.
The title track ‘Never played a 45’ is an ode to vinyl lovers because “there’s something about the feel of the vibe”. Previously released on a 45, it sold out fast and is now highly sought after.
The popular ‘Medical Marijuana Card’ features an animated video amassing over 300,000 views, with zero marketing budget, tells you it’s a hit.
See the video here: https://youtu.be/J9kSRBprPdE
“Rasta Tell Dem” is already hugely popular and has been rinsed out by David Rodigan and others. It accounts Rasta’s canny observations of things that are just now coming to pass.
‘African’ is an astute social observation of the standard we’ve come to expect from Macka B appealing for a positive realisation of Africa, the cradle of humanity.
‘Big Thief’ goes deeper– pointing to the theft from Africa by Babylon (the forces of materialism and control), the resulting privilege of those who still profit from it and the burgeoning issue of reparation, now re-awakening amongst the black community worldwide .
“Too Much Chicken” serves as a transition track high in seriousness and humour.
There is also a combination with the late, great Phyllis Dillon on “One Life”. Hail H.I.M, Beautiful Naturally, Complaining, the list of killer tracks goes on and on…
‘Never Played a 45’ has the ability to get you thinking, make you feel good and most of all cry out “REWIND
In 2017 Macka B began a series of regular acapella videos released on his social channels – Medical Mondays and Wha’ Me Eat Wednesdays. The releases proved very popular and the video for ‘Cucumba’ became a viral hit (80M+ views to date) and was picked up by mainstream media (Vice, Daily Mail) and appearances on UK terrestrial TV shows including GMB. Macka B recounts these events in the track ‘Cucumba to di World’ which also has an official video with over 100K hits. An appropriate way to celebrate Veganuary.
The new Macka B EP, ‘Gentrification’ is out now on Peckings.
Bey Bright interview on Colourful Radio 21-February-2021
Sandra-Mae Lux interview on Colourful Radio 20-December-2020
Born in the sleepy fishing village of Steveston (British Columbia, Canada) and born of Dutch immigrant parents, Sandra-Mae Lux was singing almost before she was walking and showed a natural ability with musical instruments even in elementary school, playing piano, saxophone and guitar.
By high school she was already a seasoned performer in jazz and concert bands and, after graduating high school with honours, Sandra-Mae achieved a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies on Saxophone with a Minor in Education from Capilano University. Sandra-Mae has received multiple awards such as Outstanding Achievement in Music five years in a row and the Phil Nimmons Scholarship for Outstanding Achievement in Jazz.
Before she reached the age of 22, Sandra-Mae was invited to perform at the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, two years in a row where she met and performed with many internationally recognized artists such as Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Herbie Hancock, Joshua Redman, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Christian McBride and opened for Dave Brubeck. After a few more years in Vancouver playing with many different bands, Sandra-Mae began to extend her reach to multiple musical styles including pop, R&B, Brazillian, EDM and her true love, 70’s soul music.
Moving to London, England in 2017 to concentrate on writing her first album, ‘Happily Ever Now’ Sandra-Mae continues not only to be a creative musical dynamo, but also an acting, voice acting and comedy performer of note, appearing in David Sedaris – The Santaland Diaries, The Comedy Store Players, Slattery Night Fever (with Tony Slattery) and as part of the cast of Audible’s ‘Aliens – Sea of Sorrows’ and Neil Gaiman’s ‘Sandman’ audio dramas (both directed by Dirk Maggs).
Sandra-Mae lives in South London with her partner, lots of plants, a disco ball, and many feathered masks.
The making of ‘Happily Ever Now’
This twelve song album is a first for Sandra-Mae Lux, and what a debut! Produced by Gil Cang (Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, Shaun Escoffery) and featuring players like Robin Mullarkey (bass, Jacob Collier) and Toby Baker (keys, Michael McDonald), Happily Ever Now is chock full of catchy melodies, strong hooks, and oh so tasty arrangements and production.
With all tracks composed by Sandra-Mae Lux and writing partner Alan D. Marriott, Happily Ever Now is well crafted, with a nod to classic song writing of the 70s, full-on soul from Earth Wind and Fire to D’Angelo, with the contemporary pop of Taylor Swift.
From the haunting, jazz inspired ‘I’m Still Here’, to foot stomping power anthems like ‘Moment in the Sun’, to the Salsoul disco joy of ‘Never Saw the Light’, this album doesn’t put a foot wrong. Over top of all the musical glitter soars the powerful voice of Lux herself as she effortlessly moves from pure sweetness in songs like ‘Thank You For Loving Me’ into sexy, slow-jam mode for ‘Do U Wanna’.
A multi-instrumentalist (saxophone, piano and guitar) Lux was making music almost before she could walk and tinkering with song writing by the time she hit her early teens. Originally a native of Vancouver (Canada) Lux spent her high school years in as many bands as she could fit in, and finally honed her musical skills with a degree in jazz studies from Capilano University. After a relocation to London in 2017, Lux set to work on finding the perfect team for the album she was always meant to make. “It’s been amazing,” she says. “Everything was recorded at this funky studio in North London just full of vintage gear. For me it was like a musical treasure box full of all the instruments that created the sounds of the albums I love. Y’know? The real gems, synths like a Minimoog or Juno-6, or that unmistakable sound of a real Rhodes or Wurlitzer. So all those incredible instruments combined with musicians who really knew how to get the most out of them was like…well, it was just a privilege to be in the room.”
That kind of sums up ‘Happily Ever Now’. A beautifully written and produced album, played perfectly by master musical craftsmen, and sung by a young vocalist right at the beginning of an amazing career. Sheer magic!
Georgie B interview on Colourful Radio 13-December-2020
After leaving Second Image in the late 80’s, Georgie B continued to work tirelessly within the music industry, sharing the stage with many distinguished artists such as Womack & Womack, Bobby Womack, Jean Carn, MAZE (ft. Frankie Beverly), Reel 2 Reel, Phil Fearon, Rod Temperton (writer of ‘Thriller’ & ‘Rock With You’), Paul Weller and many more. Plus a plethora of live and studio session performances around the globe.
In April 2011, Georgie B was invited to sing (with Second Image) at the 02 Theatre in London, as part of the 30 YEAR CELEBRATION OF BRIT FUNK. This sold out concert was a ‘must attend’ event for the soul family placing Georgie alongside other great British soul / jazz funk acts such as Incognito, Imagination, Beggar & Co/Light Of The World, Junior Giscombe, David Joseph and Central Line.
As an accomplished singer / songwriter / producer and with the resurgence of the British ‘Jazz Funk’ scene, Georgie felt the time was right to go solo. So In 2011 he put together his GROOVE ASSOCIATION project and ‘Let’s Break The Ice‘ was his first release, this was soon followed by ‘Old Skool Magic’. Georgie B released his debut album in April 2012 entitled ‘LET’S BREAK THE ICE’. This critically acclaimed album hit number 3 in the UK Soul Chart and paved the way for 3 more album releases, ‘3AM’. ‘Soul Family Affair’ and ‘More And More’.
On 28th November 2020 Georgie B released ‘IT’S BEEN SO LONG’ his 5th studio album to date, featuring 12 tracks of classic soul / jazz fusion and RnB flavas! (With a sprinkling of Lovers Rock too), the perfect way to showcase his song writing production talents. This new album looks set to be another #1 with massive interest from not only UK and Europe, but USA and Japan too!
Raheem DeVaughn interview on Colourful Radio 06-December-2020
So much for a sophomore slump – DeVaughn followed up the initial success of his debut album by topping it with his second project, Love Behind the Melody in 2008. The album, which featured classic hits such as the Grammy nominated “Woman” and “Customer” was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year and launched Raheem into superstardom – reaching number one on the Top 10 R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart and peaking at number 5 on the US Billboard 200 chart. In addition to the amazing response, Love Behind
The Melody yielded two BET Award wins and two Grammy nominations.
Since then, the self-proclaimed “R&B hippie neo soul Rockstar” has produced other gold standard albums, including the critically acclaimed release titled The Love & War Masterpiece in 2010, which earned a Grammy Nomination for Best R&B Album in 2011.
Following the release, Raheem decided to become an independent artist. In 2013, he released, A Place Called Loveland, that garnered notable singles, “Love Connection” and “Maker Of Love” in collaboration with Boney James.
In 2015, Raheem returned with the well-received Love Sex Passion album. The album featured fan favourites and chart-topping singles such as “Queen,” “Temperatures Rising,” and “All I Know (My Heart).”
Still going stronger than ever, the gifted singer/songwriter has been in high demand – releasing his sixth and seventh studio albums, respectively, Decade of a Love King, in October 2018 and The Love Reunion, nine months later – each featuring their own smash Billboard hit singles “Don’t Come Easy” and “Just Right,” (Top 5 and Top 10, respectively). Both records gave Raheem’s fans more of his vintage, smooth sound, while providing a new collection of timeless, sexy bedroom anthems for couples everywhere.
In addition, due to the triumphs of the albums and their smash hit singles, Raheem DeVaughn landed at #7 on the Top 10 Most Played Urban AC Artists for 2019, ranking as the #1 male Independent Urban AC Artist Of The Year, according to Mediabase. He also was recently nominated for Outstanding Male Artist at the NAACP Image Awards in March 2019. In 2020 The Love King of R&B, Raheem DeVaughn joined SRG/ILS Group as the new Director of A&R.
The current state of civil and social unrest during the middle of a global pandemic has inspired Raheem to respond. He has always shared the sentiment that music must reflect the times. Therefore, he has collaborated with the notable producer collective known as The Colleagues to present his 8th Studio Release titled, What A Time To Be In Love. The lead single titled, “Marvin Used To Say,” honors the vision of one of his musical influence and those fighting for social equality.
Raheem is a man of action and of the people. He recognizes the need to reflect the change he wants to see. Raheem has become world renown for his philanthropy efforts as much as his work behind the mic. While today’s social climate has just now begun to influence some to get involved with promoting change, Raheem’s charity work has been serving as an instrument of hope and empowerment for years. In 2011, the District Of Columbia recognized and awarded Raheem DeVaughn the Key To The City for his commitment to service. In 2014, he founded The LoveLife Foundation – a foundation dedicated to improving lives through social, educational and wellness development. Within, as well as outside of LoveLife, Raheem believes in and fights for causes dealing with issues related to women’s rights, domestic violence prevention, education, and HIV/AIDS awareness in partnership with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) among others. Raheem and The LoveLife Foundation sprang into action during the global COVID-19 pandemic by feeding first responders throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area. In addition, he collaborated with legendary rappers, Darryl McDaniels aka DMC of Run DMC and Doug E. Fresh on a song appropriately titled, “Behind The Mask” as part of the Hip Hop Public Health initiative to encourage the use of masks to stop the spread of the pandemic.
Undeniable talent. Selfless Service. Unconditional Love. Like love, Raheem believes that music is a vibration to elevate the consciousness of the listener. As he operates from a place of authenticity, Raheem is and will continue to be an inspiration to people across the globe.
Tiana Major9 interview on Colourful Radio 29-November-2020
“Tiana Major9 has a voice that is potent in its rich, unfaltering nature.” – The Guardian
“Blessed with soulful, soaring vocals and the ability to rap with true charisma” – British Vogue
Tiana Major9 – hailed as “a singular voice in British black soul” by VICE – released her new EP, AT SIXES AND SEVENS via Motown Records.
“To be at Sixes and Sevens means to be at a state of total confusion…Love is confusing,” explains Tiana Major9, who has been giving fans a glimpse into the making of the EP through an autobiographical, four-part miniseries. BEHIND AT THE SIXES AND SEVENS explores the evolution of Tiana, with each episode melodically chronicling the expansion of her sound, artistry, perspective and journey since signing to Motown.
Praising her as a ‘one to watch’, The Guardian spoke of her “voice that is potent in it’s rich, unfaltering nature’ on her single “‘Think About You (Notion Mix)’ sharing a story of unrequited love, showcasing Tiana’s lyrical edge and sonically borrowing from her Jamaican background, as she seamlessly interlaces the chill of reggae with the soul of jazz.” AT SIXES AND SEVENS also includes “Collide,” her collaboration with EARTHGANG, which has earned over 32 million combined global streams to date. Named as one of the Best R&B Songs of 2019 by VIBE, it was the lead single from the acclaimed Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack. Tiana and EARTHGANG performed the track on the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” at the Soul Train Awards ’19 and at Billboard “Women In Music 2019.”
Premiering “Lucky,” another track from the EP, SPIN said, “The enchanting track…channels the best of early ‘00s R&B: crispy harmonies, a flex of percussion and a voice we’re glad made its way to the U.S.”
Tiana wrote the song with Jeff “Gitty” Gitelman (J. Cole, H.E.R., Anderson .Paak), who also produced, and PRGRSHN (WSTRN, Stormzy, Wizkid).
Earlier this year, Tiana featured on “Rainfall,” a track from Stormzy’s new album, Heavy Is The Head, which topped the Official Albums chart in the U.K. A Vevo DSCVR artist, Tiana roots her bold blend of future-facing R&B, enduring soul, and hip-hop attitude in boundless jazz eloquence twisted up with saucy East London inflection and a touch of Jamaican spirit. Billboard declared, “Tiana Major9 is one to watch in 2020” and Marie Claire said, “the rising songstress is one to watch and take notes from…”
AgapéSoul (Darryl Anders) interview on Colourful Radio 15-November-2020
“AgapéSoul is a direct reflection of my musical vision” says bassist/producer/songwriter. Early in his career, the Bay Area veteran spent years as a sideman. This a orded him the opportunity to play with and learn from many of his musical heroes including Tower of Power, Robben Ford, Booker T Jones and Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste. The time spent honing his craft led to Anders’ work in the brand-new world of music video games. Anders worked with the team at Soundwave Studios reproducing songs for best-selling products like KaraokeRevolution, GuitarHero and RockBand.
Seeking a creative outlet for his own artistry, Darryl stepped out front to lead the musical enterprise- AgapeSoul. Earning comparisons to world class r&b/jazz ensembles Incognito and Brand New Heavies, AgapeSoul’s Believe In Love hit #1 on the UK Soul Chart as well as being chosen as 2012 ’s #7 Best Album of the Year.
AgapéSoul’s highly anticipated follow-up cd Conversations shows an even more confident side of Anders’ production style. Phat grooves, big horns, soul stirring melodies, and lyrics that take the listener far beyond the reach of most of today’s contemporary writers. Over the course of 10 stellar instrumental and vocal tracks, the insightful, rhythmically diverse conversations are generated by the group’s core members (drummer Aaron Green, guitarist Cam Perridge, and vocalist Zoe Ellis) along with a dynamic list of guest artists including Grammy winning singer/songwriter/producer Tommy Sims (co-writer of the Eric Clapton pop classic “Change The World”), British singer/songwriter Geo Rey Williams, jazz/r&b guitar legend Paul Jackson, Jr., guitarist Levi Seacer (of Prince’s New Power Generation), New Orleans music scion Ivan Neville (clavinet), guitar sensation Eric Gales and members of the three time Grammy winning fusion band Snarky Puppy- saxophonist Chris Bullock, trumpeter Michael Maher, and percussionist Nate Werth.
Fuelled by Anders’ desire to create something positive at a time when there is so much negativity, Conversations made it’s Big Beautiful Noise with two #1 singles “Kite” and “The Way That We Love” on both the UK Soul Chart and the Indie Soul Chart with still no signs of slowing down.
“The name AgapéSoul comes from the Greek word agape meaning God’s unconditional love of all things, and soul- the place within in us where music comes from, and my love for that style of music,” the bassist says. “This music is a conversation between the musicians, who listen and respond to each other while also having a conversation with the audience and feeding to their energy. The conversation changes you, and those who listen will learn and be engaged in it for life. As AgapéSoul has grown, my idea as its producer was to incorporate di erent musicians that I love and respect, integrate their vibe into the conversation and see what happens.”
Working in the music business has also taught him the value of creating great relationships with his fellow musicians – an aesthetic that pays so brilliantly with the evolution of AgapéSoul.
EMiliYAH interview on Colourful Radio 08-November-2020
Born in Poland into a family with strong artistic roots. From a very young age trained to be a classical pianist, she rebelled and chose different ways and genres to express herself from Soul, Jazz & Blues. She never studied how to sing, even though both her parents were worldwide known opera singers.
Her music journey started a while ago in Poland where she made her first recordings and performed on TV & big stages with well-known artists and composers. After becoming a mum & dealing with personal circumstances, her career was put on hold.
In 2007 she immigrated to the UK to “build a better future” for her only daughter and to continue pursuing her own dreams. Music was always her main focus, love and passion so she was not able to escape it.
As she had a long break from singing and writing, she had to start everything from the beginning. 1st step was – karaoke bars, open mics etc. She never expected that music which will really pick her spirit up and bring her back to life will be Reggae.
Growing up in a post-communist country and being raised by strict parents, EMiliYAH never really had a chance to listen to a lot of music. But she always found it easy to come up with her own melodies instead.
Very open and sensitive to new sounds she fell in love with a lovers rock anthem SILLY GAMES (Janet Kay), when her friend played it to her for the 1st time.
That made her feel Reggae music even more. She knew from then, that this is what her heart desires. And that this is what she wants to sing. After lovers rock, she got into roots where she was able to express herself as a songwriter.
She calls it: MUSIC OF GRATITUDE – REBELLIOUS SOUL – GOSPEL OF MY HEART – JAHZZ..
Words & “message” are very important for EMiliYAH, as once what is put out in a song it stays forever. Positive vibes which are deeply rooted in Reggae, as she says “saved her life “.
Her 1st worldwide solo release song “Thank You” & EP ” EASY ” with her band the MightyZ All Stars, was written when she was going through a very difficult time in her life.
She continues her journey writing more songs to influence people with love, hope & faith.
Her mission, since she remembers, is to share kindness, respect and positivity in order to make this world a better place.
Currently EMiliYAH and the band are working on a new material to be released very soon, hopefully every month from now, starting with a song ” SUNSHINE ” (1st Dec 2020).
On the side EMiliYAH is working her own riddims and collaborating with different artists under her own music studio (EMZ WORLD MUSIC)
Her 1st project which is already up and running is a duet ”NiE” with a friend Nati , also a Polish singer based in UK.
There is much more to come from this duet so as EMiliYAH herself and the band in 2021.
Omar Wilson interview on Colourful Radio 01-November-2020
Omar Wilson is no stranger to the music scene and has been performing in NYC and CT clubs for over a decade. He’s opened for artists like Boys II Men and The Neville Brothers. Growing up in Norwalk CT Omar’s influences included Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Lauren Hill, Mary J Blige and old-time soul acts like the Delfonics. His music speaks to his own personal experiences growing up in an urban environment bridging the gap between Hip Hop and Soul.
Growing up 30 minutes from New York City, church members at the Calvary Baptist Church in his hometown of Norwalk noticed his ability to have a spiritual impact through his singing at the age of only 7. While performing regularly in New York, fans gravitated towards his unique, gritty vocals. It was at that point that Omar realized what he was born to do, Soul Music. Omar is a 3-time Apollo winner and was named Best R&B Male of the Year for 2 consecutive years at the Underground Music Awards held at BB Kings in NYC.
Through his journey and struggles Omar has finally come to understand his role as one of the industry’s top new Soul singers. He’s recorded with Multi-Platinum selling artist Angie Stone and DMX featuring them on songs he wrote. The track he recorded with Miss. Stone is ‘Get to Know You Better.’ Angie Stone was quoted saying “Working with Omar Wilson came naturally and he is one to watch!” DMX is one of the only rappers to have 5 consecutive albums go number 1 on the Billboards and rarely recorded with singers. Omar and DMX released a single called ‘Faith’ and they connected on the track instantaneously which is audibly tangible.
Omar’s personality and voice is contagious. He leaves a long standing impressions wherever he goes, sings and with whoever he meets. Get ready to experience Omar Wilson as he is soon to release his New single “Passion” coming this fall.
Lukas Setto interview on Colourful Radio 25-October-2020
Raised on the essential mix of Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye & Stevie and the wonders of his DJ Dad’s record collection, Lukas studied popular music at Stanmore College, Middlesex and it was there he was to craft his first composition. Later he explored the collective vocal harmony experience with a boy band but then realised that to graft solo was to be his way forward.
Whilst still in college, Lukas became the recipient of The Urban Music Award for Best Unsigned Artist (under the name of Lee Henry). He celebrated by wowing the audience with his live rendition of the self-penned “You Know Me”. Recognition finally for a boy that had excelled at sports, was distracted by the rites of passage of a troublesome youth and then as an adult was redeemed by the power of song.
UMA in hand; as Tru Menace, Lukas’s production pseudonym, he became a remixer for lovers of all forms of urban music. Taio Cruz, who had been a fellow student on his course, sought his creative polish. Soul inspiration Omar as well as international impresario Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather’s ‘Chainsaw’ and Jordan Sparks and Chris Brown’s ‘No Air’ were to benefit from the Tru Menace treatment. Further accolade was bestowed when ‘Y Did You Leave’ became a Number One hit with MTV Base for Tru Menace.
Treading the boards from the Jazz Café to the Shepherds Bush Empire and upwards, Lukas has supported Omar, Ne-Yo, Timbaland & Floetry. Lukas’ rendition of ‘Sometimes I Cry’ by Eric Benet at the BBC Radio London studios left presenter Jo Good speechless.
He continues to nurture his musical roots collaborating with Shanell, signed to Young Money and penned and co-produced tracks for X Factor Finalist Bradley Johnson from the Group Nu Vibe and Kitty Brucknell – as well as the soul hits “Looking For Love” by Michelle Lawson and “Plus One” by Shaila Prospere (#1 UK Soul Chart). 2019 saw Lukas support RnB group Portrait at Stamford Bridge’s prestigious venue ‘Under The Bridge’ and headline renowned ‘Margate Soul Festival’.
After some trials and tribulations as Jadan Lee – Lukas sought a new chapter, a new direction – an alter ego……. And so we introduce you to Lukas Setto (Setto being a nickname given to him by a friend in college because of his smooth falsetto vocals)!
Currently working in the studio, on music that inspires the soul, whilst exploring “the dynamics of film music” to crossover; Lukas comments on themes inspired by celebrity culture, sex, love and addiction – fusing real life experiences with fiction – which can be heard in his debut single What Turns You On, followed by OMG and Make It Rain, Lockdown and his latest release Do It Again.
Tanqueray Hayward interview on Colourful Radio 11-October-2020
Growing up and finding her voice, Hayward spent many days and nights belting out the songs from her idols, including “Queen of Hip-Hop Soul”-Mary J. Blige, the pioneering gospel group, The Clark Sisters and the iconic gospel music great, the late Mahalia Jackson.
After taking a leap of faith and resigning from a medical career, Hayward’s vocal potency landed her the opportunity to record background vocals for pop star Pink and open for internationally-acclaimed gospel artist Marvin Sapp in Philadelphia. In addition, Hayward has shared the stage with Carol Riddick, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Cedric Napoleon (Pieces of a Dream), Mozaic Flow, Lee Williams and the Spiritual QC’s, The Joy Boyz and Shawn “Coco” McMillan just to name a few!
Currently, Hayward is enjoying the experience of performing to sold-out crowds at renowned music venues throughout Philadelphia. Hayward’s vocal ability and stage presence are potent for all who dare to experience it without a filter.
Hayward’s performances have been hailed as electrifying within the walls of the tabernacle as well as on stages of acclaimed live music venues. On any given evening, she exudes the gritty tenacity of Tina Turner paired with the sultry vulnerability of British-Nigerian renowned vocal enigma, Sade.
With Hayward serving in the United States Navy, she learned valuable life lessons of self-discipline and an incredible work ethic which has naturally flowed over to her rising music career. As her fan base continues to grow, Hayward has her eyes set on the big picture. “I want to bring back the music that’s been missing, the music I grew up on! Good soul music” she said. “I have a passion for performing and I am working very hard at my craft so that one day I can be a successful recording artist.”
Philadelphia’s contribution to rhythm and blues, soul and popular music is only rivalled by Detroit’s own Motown, which also birthed a plethora of iconic musical artists. Visionaries Gamble & Huff formed the famed Philadelphia International Records and created a sound known as “Philly Soul.” So much talent comes out of Philadelphia. From the rich and soul-stirring vocal talents of Patti LaBelle, Phyllis Hyman, Jill Scott and Jazmine Sullivan. To rap/hip-hop music pioneers, The Roots and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, the City of Brotherly Love’s musical influence is first-rate.
Tanqueray Hayward’s artistic impact and contribution to the musical landscape of Philadelphia is now becoming undeniable. Currently recording her highly anticipated debut album, Hayward is working tirelessly to prove herself worthy to be mentioned in the company mentioned above. “One day soon” Hayward added. Well, that day is arriving real soon.
Light Of The World (Gee Bello) interview on Colourful Radio 13-September-2020
With a string of classic Brit Funk, Dance Anthems notched up in the late 70’s and early 80’s there is no doubt that Light of the World laid the foundation for the British Dance/Street Soul movement.
Light of the World brought a distinctive blend of funk and jazz influences to the world of R&B from 1979 to 1983 via hits such as the fast-driving “Swingin’,” the smooth and groovy “London Town,” and the majestic ballad, “I’m So Happy.”
It’s hard to believe that two decades have passed since the band last reunited for 1999’s Inner Voices album. The bands stunning musical prowess carved a formidable
reputation both on vinyl and with their live stage work, before the band (initially an 8 piece aggregation) split into 4 units, Beggar & Co, Incognito, Brit Funk Association and Light of the World.
We are picking up right where we left off with a new album led by a creative nucleus of Gee Bello (Vocals/Percussion), Nat Augustin (Vocals/Guitar) and Mel Gaynor (Drums) accompanied by other great British and American musicians.
The new album Jazz Funk Power showcases a unique hybrid which meshes their considerable musical and authentic abilities.
The Jazz Funk Power album came about after realising that many of our favourite bands like Earth Wind and Fire, Incognito, Jamiroquai, Tower of Power, Brand New Heavies, Kool and The Gang and Chic were still enjoying success many decades later.
With our records still being played across national and worldwide radio with digital streaming platforms too, we realised our music also has a timeless quality, therefore Jazz Funk
really does have Power and Energy … so it felt right to name the album Jazz Funk Power”.
We are so happy that our music is now available Worldwide at the click of a button and thrilled to be making new music for our fans.
Ed Robinson interview on Colourful Radio 23-August-2020
Good music is born out of a desire to tell a story to a wide range of listeners across all walks of life. With his drive and passion for music, International Reggae Artist and Producer, Ed Robinson is bringing reggae music to the world.
Ed Robinson is a musical veteran and icon with a strong and deeply rooted musical background. With music as a priority and driving force in his life, the singer injects his brilliant musicality into every aspect of his life. Robinson began his musical career as a drummer in a school band and showed signs from a very early on of his intense musical talent. Over the years he found himself becoming a key player in many genres of music, including Reggae, Rock, Soul, Hip Hop and R&B.
Robinson is a rare blend of an entertainer, songwriter, music producer, and invigorating performer. He has released over ten albums, each of which displays his immense talent and have helped him to top the reggae music charts throughout his career as an artist. As a producer, he has worked with some of the industry’s most well-known voices, including Dennis Brown, Richie Stephens, Buju Banton, Luciano, Maxi Priest, Super Cat, Snoop Dogg, and many others. Ed Robinson’s ability to seamlessly transition across various parts of the industry makes him an exceptional person to work with, listen to, and watch perform. Robinson consistently brings a high level of energy, dedication, and hard work to all his musical endeavors.
With over 200 songs and twelve albums in his catalog, Robinson has emerged as one of the most highly sought-after reggae artists in the industry. He debuted his first album on the VP Records Label titled, “Once Again” in 1992 with the seminal “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.” He later signed a record deal with MCA Records in the early nineties. Following his deal with MCA Records, Robinson later released both “Sky is the Limit” in 2004 and “Solitude” in 2005 which included both classic tracks, “No More Mr. Lonely” and Dennis Brown’s staple “Ain’t That Lovin You.” In the year 2008, Robinson released the album “The Awakening,” both written and produced by Jerome Rhodd. Robinson later began working with the Push Broom Gang Label and released “Written in Stone” in 2011. This pivotal album includes major hits such as “Our Heroes”, “If I Follow My Heart”, and “Talking Blues”. Robinson’s track, “Our Heroes” hit mainstream radio stations, and satellite radio stations across the globe, including SiriusXM Radio. “On Covers”, an album where Robinson covers some of the music industry’s legends was released in 2014, also on the Pushbroom Gang Label. Both “Written in Stone” and “On Covers” were produced by Luciana Maneri. In the year 2014, Ed Robinson was working concurrently on releasing both “On Covers” and the “Tribute to John Holt”, which gave him the chance to pay homage to the late John Holt. This album was produced by Kemar “Flava” McGregor. The following year, Robinson released his eighth studio album “Yard Magic”. The hit single, “Kool Off” sat at the top spot in the New York and Florida album charts in late 2015. Following this success, Ed Robinson released several tracks in 2016, including “Thinking of You” on the VPAL label and “The Blame Game” on the Pushbroom Gang label. In 2017, he produced a Dennis Brown tribute EP containing seven tracks. In addition, he recorded a track entitled “Baby I Will Be There” on Di Jugglin Vol 1 Various Artist Album for JTMC Muzik Label. In 2018, Robinson released “Glory and Praise” a stunning gospel album. Presently in 2019, he recorded two singles – one song on the Hush Riddim for JTMC Muzik label ” Go Live Your Life” and an acoustic version of “Suddenly” with both songs making waves across the world.
In addition to his brilliant catalogue of albums and singles, Ed Robinson has displayed an exceptional talent for performing and capturing the heart and soul of the music he sings. He has illustrated a unique ability to connect with his audience through his art. Robinson has performed across the globe, including iconic and thrilling performances at: Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica, Beres Hammond and Friends Florida Tour, Germany Tour, Four Seasons Cruise with Freddie McGregor and Glen Washington, Caribbean Heritage Month, Ziggy Marley and friends, Rebel Salute, St. Kitts Music Festival, Merritones Annual Event, Reggae In the Mountains, Caribbean Heritage Month, Red Stripe 100th Anniversary, Minnesota Carifest, Jamaica Day, NJ, Caribbean Cultural Fest, Macys Concert Series, and Winter Jam.
Currently and future years to come, the music industry and the world look forward to more groundbreaking music, performances and tours by Ed Robinson. Robinson has brought his music to a new level and has shared his love and passion for creating music for the world.
Ed Robinson’s new album is ‘On Covers II’.
Ed Robinson taking music to Infinity and beyond.
Vincent Darby interview on Colourful Radio 12-July-2020
Produced in Shaggy’s Big Yard Studios in Kingston, Jamaica, ‘Still Here We Are’ deploys a chilled, downbeat production that allows Vincent’s flawless vocal prowess to take centre stage. He says,” ‘Still Here We Are’ came from a place of not quite understanding the ‘situation-ship’ that I was in; a story about how something can be so good, but also so bad,”.
The single follows a recent performance for the BBC Radio 1 ‘Big Weekender’ virtual event, with Darby’s stock continuing to rise. Having had the continued support of BBC Introducing, his previous release ‘Baby Oh I’ was spun on BBC Radio 1Xtra and BBC Radio 1 after being selected as their ‘Track of the Week’.
A graduate of the acclaimed Birmingham Ormiston Academy, Vincent Darby has been singing regularly from the age of five. He then performed at Birmingham’s O2 Academy in support of Flo Rida, after a record producer watched a video of him performing ‘Fallin’ by Alicia Keys on YouTube. Last year, Vincent released his debut 3-track EP, ‘Baby Oh I’.
‘Still Here We Are’ sees the Birmingham artist flex his superb vocal talents to the full. With plenty to come from the soul singer, Vincent Darby is an artist to watch.
B & The Family interview on Colourful Radio 05-July-2020
“A Good Time” blends old school production sounds with a contemporary feel, including a driving bass line and an infectious hook. It’s about the joy of spending time with the one you love and letting them know how you feel. “A Good Time” is already seeing early action in the UK, with radio adds and a limited 7″ vinyl release that is quickly selling out.
Brian K. Morgan aka “B” is best known for his song writing and production work with producer and singer Kashif. Morgan is also the guitarist on the hip-hop classic from The Sugar Hill Gang “Rapper’s Delight.” The rest of the band is all relative, with wife Katie Goulet on bass, and their daughter Tayler Morgan-Stephens on drums and Evie Goulet on keyboards.
Toyin Adekale interview on Colourful Radio 28-June-2020
Toyin Adekale singer/songwriter/actress and now author, born in London to West African parents. Toyin had a successful career in music as a singer/songwriter, traveling all over the world, performing for Kings & Queens, Presidents & Prime Ministers and dignitaries. Her platform was as varied as her life from clubs, theatres and stadiums, to Palaces and State buildings such as the Houses of Parliament in London, to the Kremlin in Russia.
Toyin Adekale’s career started at the tender age of 15 as a solo artist, where she also discovered her gift for harmony. Having sung with nearly all the reggae greats from Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs, her gifts were sought by other genre’s where she became vocal coordinator/arranger and backing vocalist to the likes of Soul II Soul, Imagination, Cliff Richard, Maxi Priest and sharing the stage with so many great names too numerous to mention. During Toyin’s solo career she was the fourth member of Boney M (featuring Maizie Williams for 13 years).
In 2005 Toyin Adekale came to the US with her children, putting her career, family and fans behind her to live a somewhat “normal life” of motherhood and a total change of lifestyle. In the first 2 years of Toyin’s transitioning to American life, she also faced some serious life changing challenges, dealing with health, divorce, children and helplessness brought on by life issues. During this time Toyin found a new calling on her life and an overwhelming desire to cause positive change and effect in other people’s lives.
Toyin had touched people with her music in the past, but not the way she now desired.
Toyin’s writing skills and theatre experience, laced with her musical background was to be amalgamated for that higher calling at last. Toyin was no longer pursuing a career of fame and fortune, she had once tasted. Instead, her new path was now pursuing her.
Toyin Adekale wore many belts as an artist. She had the UK’s first reggae choir ‘Talithavoices’, label and Arts & Entertainments Company, Talithavoices Enterprise, which is an umbrella of all forms of artistic expression in the name of entertaining, whilst improving people’s lives. Toyin has finally come to where she believes has been called to, as the pages unfold and her stories are now told in her new book (with a single of the same title “I DO, DO YOU?” (also available on iTunes and cdbaby) Check out other Toyin Adekale CDs on cdbaby. 2012 Toyin sings unto Him a love song “With You I’m Born Again”
2020 see the return of Toyin and her new CD “THE JOURNEY CONTINUES” – The devastating loss of Toyin’s 21 year old son, took her on a roller coaster of overwhelming pain, that would take Toyin to a crossroad in her life. Her parting conversation with Bakari (the youngest of her 2 children), was to encourage her to follow the path that he believes God has cut out for her, to continue her music and inspiring others, to get back to her purpose and her passion. All injected into this 14 track album.
Metropolis interview on Colourful Radio 07-June-2020
Welcome to the “City within the City”, as one of music cultures sought after Meccacities Atlanta serves as the backdrop of the musical story and journey of Alternative Soul group/band Metropolis. The city that has produced more contemporary urban music stars than any other on the map is the city that shaped METROPOLIS.
For Jai Black, Calvin Glass, and Dominic Hall coming of age in Atlanta helped them shape their voices and sound. “Metropolis means the heart of the city, we wanted to be the heart of music and represent every genre of music.” says Jai Black, the de facto leader of the group. “You don’t only have to do one thing rap, R&B, soul, rock, country, blues or alternative whatever you do in the studio and whatever comes out musical creativity, musical freedom is the foundation of what makes musical expression the universal language”. Their every genre sound was exemplified on their debut album, The Voyage, released in 2005 The album made the group stars in the UK prompting an extended stay and extensive touring overseas. The UK success prompted a massive response for the artists and allowed them to build a fan base, as well as exposed them to new artists and new sounds. “We came back inspired and the Metropolis sound expanded, being overseas we became exposed to different music and different sounds, we went into an experimental phase.” The success of The Voyage allowed the opportunity to open for and tour with major artists, they have opened for Mary J. Blige, Fantasia, Carl Thomas, and Omar. Metropolis also opened for Blackstreet and Guy during their UK reunion tour. “We had big crowds knowing the words to our songs,” the group recalls, “We still have been able to hold on to that fan base to this day.” The musical journey for Metropolis was far longer, wider, broader, and more colourful than they could of expected. As the winds of change and transition blew across music’s ever changing landscape the progression of the Metropolis sound continued to evolve. The group’s passion for creating music set into motion what would later be called “The Vault”, an archive of recorded unreleased studio gems that Metropolis is gearing to release Spring/Summer 2020.
Chyna Nicole interview on Colourful Radio 31-May-2020
The rich musical culture of Waterhouse is instilled in Chyna although birthed in the US. Her father was the first apprentice to Legendary U-Roy and was an artist himself recording for Legendary Reggae producers Joe Gibbs and Duke Reid. Chyna’s Mom also was a part of the rich musical tradition as REGGAE’S FIRST GRAMMY AWARD WINNING Michael Rose and the group Black Uhuru rehearsed in their back yard in early days.
Chyna Nicole began singing and song writing as a young child heavily influenced by Michael Jackson. Although she was creative, Chyna Nicole was always a scholar. She was awarded the President Ronald Reagan Award during her middle school years for scholastic achievement and was named Valedictorian.
She continued to graduate on the National Honor Society from Kolbe Cathedral.
From choreographing dance routines in high school (Connecticut), to recording R&B demos while at Howard University, Chyna’s passion for music remained consistent. Her first release was in 1994 “Love Me Tenderly” performed with Lukie D under her father’s label, Little C in Kingston, Jamaica.
Chyna was penned the name “China” in high school by friends at Kolbe Cathedral. She renamed her own artist name -Nicole Williams- which on the 1994 release LOVE ME TENDERLY and later changed her artist name to CHYNA NICOLE for future releases.
Upon graduating from Howard University majoring in Radio/TV/Film and working for various media arenas (NY) including Showtime Networks, WNET, VP Records, and Westwood One Radio, she relocated to Kingston, Jamaica to record an album with local producer Carl Williams (her father) in 2000.
Although the album did not materialize, Chyna Nicole obtained the role of a disc jockey at Zip103FM. Her music selection of old school Hip Hop, Reggae and Dancehall with her gravitating personality lead her to be one of the most popular DJ’s in a short time span.
She also worked as an Announcer on IRIE FM where she co-hosted The Entertainment Buzz interviewing the likes of Marcia Griffith, Berries Hammond and many more Reggae Icons. With rising popularity, producers welcomed her to record.
Grammy Judge Earle Holder, her chief advisor and mastering engineer, is responsible for getting Chyna Nicole’s music its first European exposure.
Down Beat The Ruler and others also work behind the scenes.
Appointed QUEEN OF THE WATERHOUSE DYNASTY by former manager Fitzroy Francis, as the first female out of this community to rise in the music industry. Her mission is to rebuild the community with resources for the education of children.
Chyna Nicole continued to pursue her educational passion along with music. She continues to teach and lead earning her Masters of Education from the University of New Haven and a Sixth Year Diploma from Southern Connecticut State University.
Because of her scholastic achievement, she joins the likes of distinguished former President Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel to name a few as a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.
Chyna Nicole is committed to teaching, learning, leadership and music. She is passionate about arts and education to nurture scholars for life long learning. She continues to show commitment in her daily works.
Support this Independent Artist by purchasing her three productions QUEENS IN THE ARENA – KEMET RIDDIM Various Artists, HIGHER” released in 2016 and “20 Years in the Making & Ready for World.
HISTORY as the first all female album drops!
In 2019, Chyna Nicole drops her first Various Artists album production under her label Nico Star Music. The album is titled “QUEENS IN THE ARENA – KEMET RIDDIM” which features hit maker Nadine Sutherland, Reggae Legend Pam Hall, First Lady of Dancehall Lady Ann, Billboard Helen Rogers, chart hitting Chyna Nicole and many more rising stars!
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 interview on Colourful Radio 15-March-2020
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 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 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.