Friday 3rd June 2016
Saturday 4th June 2016
Musical success is seldom measured in time spans of more than a few years so the fact that by the time Midge’s single “If I Was” went to number one in 1985 he had already crammed several musical lifetimes into a 10-year professional career speaks volumes – Slik, The Rich Kids, Thin Lizzy, Visage, Ultravox and of course the most famous one off group in musical history Band Aid had be then all had the guiding hand of his musical navigation.
Ultravox was a major influence on the new romantic and electro-pop movements of the early 80s and many an open-minded studio and bedroom experimentalist since. Their successful trademark was combining Midge’s powerful guitar riffs with sweeping synthesiser motifs, enigmatic imagery and state-of-the-art visuals. Throughout the first half of the 80s, they brilliantly combined the responsibilities of top 10 chartmakers and innovative style-makers.
Then came November 25, 1984, a historic day for Midge and all of pop music, as 36 artists by the collective name Band Aid gathered at SARM Studios in West London under Ure’s production. They recorded “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” a song he had just written with Bob Geldof as the industry’s heartfelt and eloquent contribution to Ethiopian famine relief. 600,000 copies sold in its first week in the UK alone was only the beginning: 800,000 more were bought in the second week, more than three million world-wide, and the unstoppable emotion engendered by the project led to Live Aid, the summer 1985 global concert that, all exaggeration aside, spoke for a generation.
As summer 2016 beckons, it’s business as usual in camp Ure . . . which means busy busy busy!
But it’s important to remember that Sinitta has had a fantastically successful and varied career spanning three decades, and it is her achievements in the world of music, film, theatre and television that makes her perfect for her X Factor role.
Sinitta burst onto the music scene in the mids 80’s with her singles ‘Break Me Into Little Pieces’ and ‘Don’t Beat Around the Bush’ with dance troupe Hot Gossip. However it was the release of her classic, ‘So Macho’, in 1986 that Sinitta won the hearts of the British public. The track rapidly rose to an impressive #2 in the UK charts, selling over half a million records in the UK and 1 Million worldwide, spending a massive 28 weeks in the charts, outselling the likes of Madonna, George Michael and Lionel Richie. Sinitta became a global star as ‘So Macho’ was also a huge hit all over Europe and Australia.
By the time her next single, ‘Toy Boy’ was released, Sinitta was a household name. Like, ‘So Macho’, ‘Toy Boy’ was a huge success of global proportion, selling all over Europe as well as the USA. It spent a fantastic 14 weeks in the chart and outsold Michael Jackson’s ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’.
Sinitta went on to release numerous celebrated singles such as ‘Cross My Broken Heart’, ‘GTO’ and ‘Right Back Where We Started From’ which were big chart hits. It was this huge 80s recording success that meant Sinitta was one of the stars and must-see acts when she performed at the 02 for Pete Waterman’s 25th anniversary of the Hit Factory in 2012. Sinitta stole the show when performing to a sell-out crowd of nearly 30000 people.
As well as her voice, Sinitta is also a talented dancer and trained with the Legat Russian Ballet. She nurtured her talent with dance and acting training at the famous LAMDA. Sinitta has worked with some of top choreographers globally, including the esteemed actor, dancer and choreographer Charles Augins (Mr A).
Proving she is a triple threat, Sinitta was a celebrated West End star throughout the 80s and 90s, and performed in some extremely renowned productions. For example, Cats, Hair, Little Shop of Horrors and What a Feeling, to name but a few.
Most famously, Sinitta was the leading lady in the production ‘Mutiny’, an epic musical based on the historic Mutiny of the Bounty. The show opened in London’s Piccadilly Theatre in 1985 and ran for over 500 hundred performances. Sinitta’s debut generated a vast amount of press interest, and her performance garnered her huge critical acclaim.
Sinitta also took centre-stage on television, when she was one of the presenters on popular children’s television show ‘The Wall Game’ on ITV, in the mid-80s. Amongst the presenters, Sinitta was one of the viewer’s favourites and appeared throughout the 2 series of the show. Her skill as a presenter was demonstrated later in her career when she became a Loose Women regular as well as hosting her own MTV chat show. Recently Sinitta has starred in numerous TV sketches alongside top comedians such as David Walliams, Harry Hill and Alan Carr.
As well as her ongoing presence on the small screen, Sinitta has appeared in a variety of films. Most famously, she starred in cult classic Shock Treatment, as well as other feature films Foreign Body and The Friends.
Sinitta took centre stage at this year’s London Pride when she performed her comeback single ‘So Many Men, So Little Time’. She was the main attraction as she performed all her classics, delighting her fans, whilst parading through the streets of London performing to 500,000 people. She then took to the stage in Trafalgar Square, where she wowed the waiting crowd!
Sinitta is always an early name on the wish list for reality TV producers, and has appeared on numerous TV shows such as ‘I’m a Celebrity’ and ‘Dancing on Ice’. This huge array of knowledge, experience and expertise makes Sinitta a fantastic mentor, not only on the X Factor, but through the aspiring artists she mentors and manages through her own talent website, ATTINIS.COM. Sinitta is proud of helping mentor the huge previous Xfactor successes such as Leona Lewis, Olly Murs and One Direction.
With her distinguished musical background and continuous success spanning nearly 30 years, including 4 albums and 14 hits, it is no surprise that Sinitta has been chosen to work alongside Simon Cowell and the X Factor for another season.
TV/Radio. Appearances have included judging on Britain’s Got More Talent, BBC Breakfast, London Tonight, VH1, Question of Pop, Loose Women, The Wright Stuff, Weekend with Aled, This Morning, BBC’s The Cinema Show and Big Brother’s Big Mouth. Radio interviews include Jonathan Ross, Steve Wright, Edith Bowman, Colin Murray, Claudia Winkleman, Paul Ross, Janice Long, Clive Anderson, Alex Zane, Scott Mills, Jamie Theakston, and Dermot O’Leary. He has presented two shows for VH1/MTV and has taken part in a celebrity edition of The Weakest Link. Chesney also took part in Channel 4’s ‘The Games’ emerging a medal winner, and he performed on the Granada/LWT show ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time.’ Further appearances include the Ant & Dec Show, The One Show, Daybreak, The Graham Norton Show and in June/July 2015 Chesney took part in Celebrity Masterchef also guesting on ‘Lorraine’ on ITV.
Film/Theatre. Chesney’s first acting role was as Buddy in the rock ‘n roll movie ‘Buddy’s Song’ which featured a cast of young actors destined to make their mark. These included Nick Moran and Julia Sawhala, who went on to create the character Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous, as well as Lee Ross, long before he appeared with Catherine Tate and in Eastenders. Heading the cast was The Who lead singer, Roger Daltrey, playing the role of Chesney’s dad. Chesney’s subsequent career has been firmly rooted in music but he has worked on various comedy drama TV productions including The Spa on Sky 1 with Rebecca Front and Panto on ITV with John Bishop.
Songs/Compositions. Chesney has worked with writers and producers from a broad section of the industry, among them Mark Goldenberg (The Eels), Jesse Valenzuela (The Gin Blossoms) and Counting Crows producer Marvin Etzioni. Other collaborators include Howard Jones, the Police’s Stuart Copeland, Nik Kershaw, Bijou Phillips and more recently Rob Davis (co-writer of Kylie’s Can’t Get you out of My Head). Artists continue to cover his songs and he has had material recorded by three international Pop Idol winners. English band ‘Hepburn’ covered “Next Life”, which Chesney co-wrote with Phil Thornally. (Phil co-wrote “Torn” for Natalie Imbruglia). Caprice charted with “Once Around The Sun” which Chesney co-wrote with Eric Pressley and he also collaborated with Tricky on his ‘Mission Accomplished’ EP. Another of Chesney’s songs, “Almost You”, was in the film “Jawbreaker” starring Rose McGowan and Marilyn Manson and “Missing You Already” was in the film “The Night We Never Met”, starring Matthew Broderick. In mid 2007 Chesney co-composed an orchestral piece commissioned by Lexus Cars for a live presentation. The piece was recorded at AIR Studios by the London Symphony Orchestra. The Duncan Jones movie Source Code, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, features a Nik Kershaw/Chesney Hawkes production of The One and Only.
The Selecter is led by their iconic frontwoman Pauline Black, whose recent series of shows on BBC 6Music were hugely well received, and whose book ‘Black By Design’ continues to sell in droves worldwide, alongside an incredible talented band of musicians, including Neil Pyzer (Spear Of Destiny) Will Crewdson (Rachel Stamp) and co-fronted by original member Arthur ‘Gaps’ Hendrickson (who features extensively on Subculture).
The anarchic passion that fuelled Selecter gigs during the 2 Tone era, when they toured with the Specials and Madness at the peak of their early fame is still there, except the pair (Pauline & Gaps) seem more driven than ever. Their confidence is sky-high and they’re also writing the best songs of their career, which is saying something given the enduring popularity of hits like Three Minute Hero, Missing Words and On My Radio.
In 1985 ‘Walking on Sunshine’ was a top ten hit all around the globe and has since featured in countless advertisements and films including, High Fidelity, Secret of My Success, American Psycho and Walking on Sunshine and it’s been covered by Dolly Parton and was a mash up with Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ sung by the Glee cast. Follow up hits were, ‘Do You Want Crying’ (US Top 40), ‘Sun Street’ (UK Top 30), ‘That’s The Way’ (US #16). Katrina also sang back up vocals on ‘Torn’ by Natalie Imbruglio and has recorded songs with Eric Burdon and Rick Wakeman.
In 1997 Katrina and the Waves’ ‘Love Shine A Light’ won the Eurovision Song Contest with the largest ever margin, followed by an unprecedented four consecutive appearances on Top Of The Pops and a No. 3 in the UK Charts.
Following the split with the Waves in 1999 Katrina pursued an alternative career on radio and TV. She was a TV presenter on Watchdog on BBC1 and had her own show on BBC Radio 2 – where she presented a three-hour show, five days a week. This was followed by a stint in musical theatre, where Katrina played the lead role (the songwriter Ellie Greenwich) in Leader of the Pack, singing some of the songs that had influenced her as a young singer.
Katrina published her first book – Peggy Lee Loves London: My London Guide (Metropoodle Press 2013) about some cool places in London featuring her toy poodle, Peggy Lee. Katrina has performed with her band at festivals and shows in the UK, Europe, South Africa, Canada, Australia and the US where she’s recently completed a couple of North American tours.
2015 was the 30th anniversary of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ and Katrina released her first studio album in 10 years – ‘Blisland’. Currently she is working on a follow up London guide – ‘Peggy Lee Loves London II’.
.and warm strong personality… ” The Times
Hazel O’ Connor has fast re-established herself as an artist and performer to be reckoned with. Her husky voice remains charged with passion and her enthusiasm, love of music, and wicked sense of humour, is ever present. Recently she received the accolade of her own star in the new Coventry Walk of Fame in England. Her own small version now sits alongside her Gold Discs and BAFTA’s
A Spring tour to sell out shows, earlier in this very special year, culminates in ‘Hazel Sings Breaking Glass Live’ which finds Hazel making her long awaited return to the West End stage to perform the whole soundtrack for the first time and which tours the UK in November and December .
Sunday 5th June 2016
Their first North London sound system, Jah Rico, played mainly reggae, but after three years changed the vibe to more soul and funk and Soul II Soul was born. “We came up with the name not just because of the music we played, it also stood for Daddae and myself – two souls moving together. We’ve always had that kind of relationship – there are not many words exchanged between us, but everything that’s happened has been very much in tandem.”
Soul II Soul quickly achieved a name in their community, but were in no position to give up the day jobs, and at age 18, Jazzie was working for cockney pop legend Tommy Steele, as a tape operator. He found himself one of the few black people working in London’s recording studio and recalls how this shaped his attitude: “It made me vexed in one way, but it made me see that there are parts of the industry that we’re not taking care of because we always want to be so upfront.” As Soul II Soul grew, Jazzie was determined to create a dancefloor environment that would appeal across the board.
Soul II Soul’s dances had been reflecting what was occurring naturally in London; kids of all races had grown up together and were now raving together. By the mid-1980s the warehouse scene was in full swing, vibrant and underground, removed from the constraints of the mainstream – a natural fit for Soul II Soul’s creativity: “We were very arty as an early sound. We never had conventional speakers, we used pyrotechnics in a dance, we had banners and strobes in a house party!”
Nothing summed them and their crowd up better than their regular Sunday night spot at the now legendary Africa Centre in London’s Covent Garden. This was truly the Soul II Soul experience, which, unlike other sound systems on the same circuit, wasn’t just about the big name DJs, it was about a vibe. Jazzie remembers it as being unique: “You had people from all walks of life at the Africa Centre. A very eclectic crowd. It was like Benetton down there!”
The Africa Centre was a game changer for Soul II Soul; for British black music; and for the nation’s youth culture in general. It caught the attention of Virgin Records, who signed them as an act in 1988, catapulting them into a tornado of success. The Soul II Soul sound was original, new, fresh, and infectious – above all, though, it was a UK thing. It represented what was going on all around it and alienated nobody. There was the Soul II Soul lifestyle too, with three shops in London selling clothing emblazoned with the Funki Dred logo, plus all manner of branded merchandising including clocks and jewellery. They even had a slogan “A happy face, a thumpin’ bass, for a lovin’ race.”
There were the resident club nights all over the world; live concert tours; radio and TV appearances; Jazzie had his own show on London’s Kiss FM and there was even an Adventures of the Funki Dreds comic book. And, of course, Soul II Soul enjoyed the type of chart success – notably with Keep On Movin’ and ‘Back To Life’ – that made them household names all over the world.
To date Soul II Soul have sold over 10 million albums in over 35 territories worldwide and have product on over 200 compilation CDs while Jazzie has accreditation on over 35 million albums in over 100 territories. They’ve performed in over 20 countries, and appeared at some of the most famous venues in the world including Wembley and New York’s Universal Ample Theatre. America embraced Soul II Soul to such a degree, in 1990 they picked up two Grammy’s. Jazzie was given the keys to seven cities in the US, including LA and New York, and the NAACP has honoured him. There’s even a Soul II Soul day over there.
Into more recent times, musically Soul II Soul has kept itself contemporary – “Keep On Movin” was used for the high profile Renault Clio television ads. Mary J. Blige and Sean Kingston have both released cover versions of “Back To Life’; while Beverly Knight released her version of “FairPlay” in 2011. A year later, “Back to Life” was featured in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.
In 2008 there was royal recognition for the Funki Dreds when, after thirty years of dedication, Jazzie was awarded an OBE for services to music. The first sound man to be honoured by Her Majesty the Queen, and probably the most deserved investiture ever. Then in the same year Jazzie won the Ivor Novello Award for inspiration, and as he stepped up to accept the trophy he was announced as “the man who gave British black music a soul of its own”. 2012 saw Soul II Soul receive the PRS for Music Heritage Award with a special plaque erected on The Electric (formerly The Fridge) in Brixton, where the group played their first live gig in 1991.
2013 has been the year it came back home for Soul II Soul – literally. In spring the clothing range’s Classics Collection took original artwork from the Funki Dred archives to reprint on modern fabrics, cut to contemporary shapes, designed around the rhythms of the dance. Jazzie himself was honoured by his birthplace – Finsbury Park – when local residents selected three distinguished locals of the area for their contribution to and inspiration for the community. An ironwork sculpture of him now stands at the Portrait Bench by the station forecourt, alongside suffragette Edith Garrud and health pioneer Florence Keen. The year finished on a high, when, as curtain-raiser to Soul II Soul’s 25th Anniversary in 2014, they performed a series of full band, old school-style gigs all over the UK.
For the man who considers himself as a “pleasure giver”, it’s paramount to Jazzie to remain a part of the club scene. “Being a sound system is very important to me, I still DJ in clubs. And the label is run like a sound system. It’s all exactly the same as before, except that the times have changed. Technically we are still a sound system. The singers and artists are our MCs, and instead of mix tapes we now make records and CDs.”
Jazzie B no longer borrows supermarket trolleys and hasn’t seen the inside of a number 14 bus for a while, but the sound system mentality is still very much at the root of Soul II Soul, keeping him in touch with their continually evolving audience.
Bronski Beat not only introduced the world to Jimmy’s unique voice, their debut smash hit ‘Smalltown Boy’ tackled pertinent social issues with it’s lyric addressing the isolation and rejection felt by a provincial gay youth forced into leaving town. Although not the first pop song to deal with this topic, Bronski Beat’s chart friendly early 80’s electronic dance sound and the everyday ordinariness and honesty of the three performers, made ‘Smalltown Boy’ the biggest record about gay issues there’d ever been.
Jimmy’s next band The Communards enjoyed a string of hits from their two hit albums ‘Communards’ (1986) and ‘Red’ (1987). One moment the Communards were hurtling to the number one spot – a position they held for weeks in the UK in 1986 – with their energetic, hedonistic cover version of the Philly soul classic ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, the next stunning audiences into silent awe with their touching lament for a loved one lost to AIDS, ‘For A Friend’.
1989 saw Jimmy embark on a solo career with 5 more hit singles and two albums; ‘Read My Lips’ (1989) and ‘The Singles Collection’ (1990). These included a stirring cover of Sylvester’s disco anthem ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’.
Jimmy’s continued outspokenness on gay issues didn’t prevent his records being played and selling in huge quantities. His honesty as a gay performer almost certainly helped to pave the way for his success.
The album ‘Dare To Love’, released in June 1995, is a typical rollercoaster mix of upbeat pop dance numbers and more serious songs exploring gay issues. ‘Heartbeat’, the first single from ‘Dare To Love’ went to number one in the USA dance chart, and The E-Smoove and Armand Van Heldon mixes are still being played in clubs. Spring 1997 saw Jimmy release a single from ‘Dare To Love’ on various European labels entitled ‘Safe’. Remixed by Todd Terry and DJ Tonka, it reached no. 1 in the Spanish charts and was played across Europe.
Having left London Records, Jimmy signed a new deal with Gut Records and the single ‘Dark Sky’ was released in late 1997. The following album ‘Manage The Damage’ followed in 1999, produced by Ash Howes and co-written with friend Sally Herbert; which included the singles ‘Lay Down’ and ‘Something To Live For’.
The new millennium saw Jimmy release a new version of Bronski Beat’s ‘Why (Almighty Mixes)’ in 2000 through Almighty Records in the UK. The CD also included a version of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You’ which featured on the Queer As Folk 2 soundtrack for the Channel 4 TV Series. Warners also released a new compilation ‘The Very Best Of Jimmy Somerville, Bronski Beat and The Communards’ in the same year.
Jimmy’s next solo album entitled ‘Home Again’ (2004) featured collaborations with Rosenstolz / Felix Gauder / Mauro Picotto / Rolf Elmer (Jam n Spoon) and Tillmann Uhrmacher was released on Jinx Music / BMG (Germany).
2009 saw the 25th anniversary of the release of ‘Smalltown Boy’, and was marked by the release of Jimmy’s fifth solo album ‘Suddenly Last Summer’, which was inspired by and recorded on a trip to Australia in 2006. The album features his unique acoustic interpretation of some classic songs including ‘Sweet Unknown’, ‘Hush’ and ‘Hanging On The Telephone’. ‘Suddenly Last Summer’ was re-released on a limited edition CD/DVD via Cherry Red Records / Strike Force Entertainment in April 2010, featuring bonus tracks and two videos from the album in special packaging.
A new EP of contemporary electronica followed in 2011, Jimmy’s first new material for 5 years. Collaborating with long-term producer and friend John Winfield, Jimmy emerged with his freshest material in years and the freedom to co-produce was evident in the results. The EP consisted of 4 new original tracks penned by Jimmy and John and to compliment these tracks the EP features 4 great remixes from Robert Dietz, Thomas Schumacher, Julien Chaptal and Felix Gauder.
Jimmy took to the road in the summer of 2011 on the Here And Now 10th Anniversary UK arena tour, alongside other artists including: Boy George, Jason Donovan, Belinda Carlisle, Midge Ure, A Flock Of Seagulls and Pepsi & Shirlie. A darker second EP entitled Momentum was released to coincide with the tour. Featuring 5 new original tracks plus 2 remixes, the title and striking artwork of ‘Momentum’ were a response to the darker, fluid flow of production conjured by this new body of work.
‘Solent’, the third and final EP from this trilogy, was released in May 2012. This collection of glitzy electro-pop was both an homage to the dance music of Jimmy’s youth and a showcase of his seriously contemporary yet timeless sound. Featuring remixes from Fred Falke, Siriusmo, John Winfield and Felix Gauder, it was the perfect summer soundtrack.
Special double-CD fan editions of Bronski Beat’s classic album ‘Age Of Consent’, along with both Communards albums (‘Communards’ and ‘Red’) and Jimmy’s solo albums ‘Read My Lips’ and ‘Dare To Love’, were released in July 2012 on Edsel/Demon featuring rarities never before available on CD and sleeve notes based on recent interviews with Jimmy.
2014 marked the 30th anniversary of the release of ‘Smalltown Boy’, for which he recorded the haunting Reprise version, released in June.
Famous for re-making disco classics as his own – ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’, ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’, ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’ and I Feel Love to name but a few – ‘Homage’ was a logical next step in Somerville’s career, one at which he can only excel considering his background, passion and undisputed vocal talent. The album is due for release on March 6th, and features a truly vintage feel enriched by his incredible vocals.
Two teaser tracks – ‘Back To Me’ and ‘Travesty’ – were digitally released last year, providing a tantalising taste of the forthcoming album. 30 years after he burst onto the scene with Smalltown Boy, Jimmy now takes us on joyous musical journey to where his love for music started; bringing to it his unmistakable vocals and unique talent.
For over 30 years, Kid Creole and the Coconuts have been entertaining sellout crowds around the world. The Kid fills out his colourful zoot suits with style and grace, dancing on stage with his inimitable, relentless and self-proclaimed cool, accompanied by his three dazzling damsels – the Coconuts.
Born in the Bronx, August Darnell is a man of multiple cultures, legends and personalities. His love of the big band tradition is evident: he travels with 10 musicians who all share his love of the ultimate musical tapestry (pop, R&B, reggae, calypso, funk, jazz, country, gospel, blues etc). Their live shows have become the stuff of legend.
This strong reunion of outstanding musicians delivers authentic, crowd pleasing performances full of 80s nostalgia and energetic vibe. Featuring the million selling single “Love & Pride” and classic tracks from two gold albums and five hit singles.
Original singer and writer Nick van Eede performs every gig now with his amazing guitarist, Gareth Moulton. The past few years have brought appearances/duetting with Chaka Khan, Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, Greg Lake, Jack Bruce & Midge Ure. Plus concert tours of Germany and USA with ABC, Berlin and Wang Chung. Their great live show has reached the hearts of audiences across the world. Look out for their new album Add to Favourites released this year.