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lime Music Interview: Billy Ocean

Lime interview - Music

Billy Ocean

words by

Semper - Azeez -Harris

Reporter: Semper - Azeez -Harris

Since breaking onto scene with his huge number one, When The Going Gets Tough (1986) which stayed at the top of the charts for some four weeks, Billy Ocean has gone onto global success. The Trinidadian who grew up in East London has had some ten albums and numerous top ten singles in a career that spans well over thirty years.


So getting the chance to meet Mr Ocean (I feel that I have to call him that) it’s a great pleasure. The only negative point is his absolutely hectic schedule-he just started his tour which means I can only get ten minutes or so but no matter. Billy Ocean is a proper gent and it was a pleasure.


How is the tour going?


So far so good really-I start back properly on Tuesday but I am touring all the way through to the end of the year really so it is long.


So when last did you tour so extensively?


Since I started back in 2007 it has been extensive tours all the way through really so I have never really stopped.


So how do you prepare for such a gruelling schedule?


Well there is no special regime that I do to prepare myself really. I run, exercise and I am a vegetarian so I am basically in a state of preparedness. 


Does it become tiring at times doing the same songs at concerts?


No the songs never become tiring because when the people come to see me they want to hear those songs and the crowds are different so it really is always a joy. It’s good to see the crowd enjoying themselves and indeed that then makes me happy.


I wanted to ask about that cover for your latest album it is obviously a picture of you so what do you remember of that time and indeed why did you use it?


On that day I was with my family actually and we were having the pictures taken in Bricklane in fact. I choose that picture because the album is about things that inspired me as a young child.


Do you still have connections to Bricklane?


Oh yes I still have a property in Bricklane it’s my mother’s house in fact. My daughter lives there now and so yes I still have a great affinity with Bricklane and do come there on and off. Actually I remember back then it was quite a desolate area really and there was no life. Now however it is so vibrant and buzzing and so it is completely different to how it was when I grew up.


You have been in the business for over thirty years-how have you maintained such a prolific work rate?


You do what you do to the best of your ability but I have never done anything just for money. I love writing songs, I love being in the studio and I also love performing live. I try from a business sense I expect to be as disciplined as I can but the most important thing for me is to do things right that my children and others can look up to.


How have things changed for you in terms of the music business?


The way music is recorded has changed really, the technology has changed. Instead of going into a studio with a few other people to record music one person can record and make music- they just need a drum machine and a keyboard and they can have a whole orchestra at their disposal. 


You speak about the album being about people that inspired you. Sam Cooke features heavily and I assume he is an inspiration.


Yes indeed when I was a little boy my father would play the radio a lot but he was also a musician in Trinidad where he would play a lot of calypso but Sam Cooke was a great inspiration as were the others on the album like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole.


Were there any challenges in making this album?


No not at all it was great to be able to sing songs from such great artists and put my interpretation on them.


Here You Are released May 13th 


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