He has collected a pile of Gold and Platinum records across the world and hit the number one spot worldwide in the pop charts including the USA, Australia, Germany, Holland, and the UK. Billy has achieved extraordinary success as both an artist and a songwriter.
Born in Trinidad, Billy settled in London’s East End when just seven years old. The calypso crazy kid soon got turned on to soul singers like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, as well as pop groups like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, leading him to spend much of his study time in the music room.
Billy got his first break when he signed to GTO records, for whom his second single was the Motown-ish Love Really Hurts Without You, which reached No. 2 in the UK charts and No. 12 in the US.
Two top twenty singles followed; Love on Delivery and Stop Me, then Red Light Spells Danger became a smash in both the UK and the US. Billy changed record labels and his move to Jive Records provided instant success, with the million selling American number one single Caribbean Queen (for which Billy won a Grammy for best R&B Vocal), followed by Loverboy, and Suddenly, which became the first of Billy’s killer ballads. The Album from which these singles came from spent a year in the US Charts selling double platinum (triple in Canada). Billy also performed on the American half of Live Aid, making 1985 a truly incredible year for him.
1986 wasn’t bad either, opening with When the Going gets Tough (the tough gets going), the theme song to the Michael Douglas/Kathleen Turner/Danny Devito movie Jewel of the Nile. Billy then launched the Love Zone album, which went straight to No. 2 in the UK charts, staying in the top 40 for six months. In the US, there was a No. 1 single with There’ll be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry). More Hits were to follow with the now classic Get Outta My Dreams; Get Into My Car, giving Billy yet another US No. 1 hit.
Billy proved himself to be one of the most hardworking artists on the live stage, touring the world to evergrowing enthusiastic audiences. After huge worldwide successes and years of touring, Billy decided to take a break to spend some well- earned time at home with his family.
In 2007, Billy decided to get back out to perform his hits again, this time with his daughter Cherie on backing vocals, with live dates in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Caribbean. The tour was a great success and culminated in his getting the bug once more for writing and recording.
2008 saw Billy back in the studio for the first time in 15 years, recording his new album ‘Because I Love You’ – which was released in 2009. In 2010 Billy went back on the road again with his band in the UK, Europe and the US with the release of ‘The Very Best of Billy Ocean’, which entered the UK album charts at number 17 and sold 72,000 copies in 4 weeks. In 2012 he went back into the studio with his old buddy Barry Eastmond to record tracks that became the album “Here You Are” which was released in 2016 entering the charts at No 4- His highest chart position since 1988.
2017 will see the “Here You Are” album released in the USA. Billy will also be out on the road touring the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Stephen Dalton NME
ABC has enjoyed a glittering career to date. Very definitely one of a number of groups who came along and kick-started the Eighties with their own brand of pop for a ‘new decade’. On it’s release in May 1982, their debut album ‘The Lexicon of Love’ crashed straight into the UK album charts at number one. Showcasing the hits songs ‘Tears Are Not Enough’, ‘ Poison Arrow’, ‘The Look Of Love’ and ‘All Of My Heart’. A ground-breaking collection of modern love songs. With a majestic production from the legendary Trevor Horn it remains a classic to this day. Voted by many as the best British album of the decade.
ABC’s second album ‘Beauty Stab’ was a very different proposition to the polished beauty of ‘The Lexicon of Love’ and spawned the hits ‘That Was Then But This Is Now’ and ‘SOS’. It developed a much rawer, hard-edged sound. These were protest songs from a band that was constantly evolving.
Next came the 1984 album ‘How To Be A Zillionaire’. ABC again conquered American audiences with a series of devastating club mixes and pre Gorillaz animated cartoons. ‘How To Be A Millionaire’, ‘Be Near Me’, alongside ‘Vanity Kills’ and ‘Ocean Blue’ were all Billboard dance chart number ones. The emphasis here was unashamedly electronic.
1987 saw the release of their fourth album ‘Alphabet City’, co produced by Chic’s Bernard Edwards. By the summer the worldwide hit ‘When Smokey Sings’ had powered its way toward the top of the American charts. Representing a return to luxuriant soul, alongside the songs ‘The Night You Murdered Love’ and ‘King Without A Crown’ the album captured the cosmopolitan feel of the moment and is both urban and chic. Heavy MTV rotation and an appearance on legendary show Soul Train cemented even greater success in the U.S.A for the band.
Inspired by the burgeoning House music scene ‘Up ‘the fifth ABC album reflected the euphoric and uplifting spirit of the times. ‘One Better World ’an idealistic and Ibiza influenced anthem champions the radical changes that were taking place in music in London, Manchester, Chicago and Detroit in 1988.
In 1991 ABC began work on an ambitious soul pop extravaganza ‘Abracadabra’. Releasing ‘Love Conquers All’ and the Black Box mixed ‘Say It’ the following year.
The nineties saw the release of ‘The Lexicon of Love ‘No prizes for guessing that it is a live album that showcases ABC on stage. A band that could deliver in the recording studio could clearly do the same in front of an audience.
‘Skyscraping’ in 1997 represented a tour de force of gilt edged ABC. ‘Stranger things’ and ‘Only The Best Will Do’ embrace Glam inspired rock and roll.
Collaborating with artists as diverse as King Britt in Philadelphia and David Arnold in London, ABC continued to experiment and entertain.
In 2007 Martin worked on several songs for the romantic comedy, Music and Lyrics starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. He also served as Grant’s vocal coach for the movie, his influence being very evident in the final edit.
April 2008 saw the release of ABC’s first studio album in over 10 years. ‘Traffic’ was a collaboration between Martin Fry, David Palmer (who had been in the ABC line-up during ‘The Lexicon of Love’) and Chuck Kentis. The magnificent first single ‘The Very First Time ‘was a massive hit on BBC Radio 2, with the follow up ‘Love Is Strong’ demonstrating that even now 26 years on from ‘The Lexicon Of Love’, Martin Fry’s song-writing, stage craft and musicianship is still as contemporary as it was in the beginning.
On April 8th 2009, some 27 years after its debut release ABC performed the album “The Lexicon Of Love” in its entirety to a sell-out audience at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall. The epic performance introduced by Producer, Trevor Horn, and accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, reunited not only Martin Fry, David Palmer and Trevor Horn, but also original backing vocalist, Tessa Niles and Academy Award winning musician, arranger and composer, Anne Dudley, who originally orchestrated the album and who conducted the orchestra on the night. The night was electric with audiences joining in on every lyric!
Martin has since repeated this formula with the ABC band and Anne Dudley, performing shows with the 40 piece Southbank Sinfonia across the UK.
2012 saw both a professional and personal highlight for Martin when more than 30 years after he graduated from the University of Sheffield with a degree in English Literature he returned to be made an honorary Doctor of Music for his contribution to music. Accepting his doctorate on stage during the university’s graduation ceremony, he also saw his daughter take to the same stage later to receive her own degree.
The last five years have seen ABC complete four successful American Tours, 3 sell-out UK Orchestra Tours, the sell-out Steel City Arena Tour with The Human League and Heaven 17, and a string of Country House Shows here in the UK. Two high lights being appearances at The Isle Of Wight Festival Camp and in 2016 playing BBC Proms In The Park in Hyde Park.
In 2016 Martin signed to Virgin/EMI Records and released ‘The Lexicon Of Love II’.
A mere 34 years since the release of the first ABC album, ABC return to the scene of their most resounding triumph with the May 27th 2016 with the release of ‘The Lexicon Of Love II’. Sonically doffing its cap to the original, it features 10 brand new songs from the pen of Martin Fry abetted by various musical cohorts. It might take a less innocent, more experienced view on affairs of the heart than its million-selling predecessor, but it still concludes that all you need is love.
Foremost among Fry’s collaborators on the new album is Academy Award winning musician and composer Anne Dudley, who arranged the strings on the original Lexicon; she has provided orchestral arrangements that give ‘The Lexicon Of Love II’ its signature sound, and has co-written two of the key songs on the album: ‘The Love Inside The Love’ and ‘Brighter Than The Sun’. Other songwriting partners include Grammy award winner Rob Fusari (Beyonce, Lady Gaga), film composer Charlie Mole and Marcus Vere. Production is by Gary Stevenson and Martin Fry.
The album debuted at #5 in the UK album charts with four Radio 2 A – List singles.
This year sees Martin follow up the successes of 2016 with a new contemporary ABC album.
Tony Hadley, the eldest son of Josephine and Patrick, was born at The Royal Free Hospital, Islington, London on 2 June 1960. Tony attended Dame Alice Owen’s Grammar School and thought his future lay in medicine but, after winning a holiday singing competition, decided that his vocation was as a singer … the rest is history …
SPANDAU BALLET – THE 80s PHENOMENON
Pioneers of the 80s Romantic movement, Spandau Ballet formed in 1978 and had numerous chart topping singles and albums all over the world, some of the most memorable being the singles “Gold”, “Only When You Leave”, “Lifeline”, the epic “Through the Barricades” and of course the international number one “True”; the latter famously sampled by PM Dawn in 1991 and featured on Paul Anka’s Rock Swings in 2005.
As lead singer of Spandau Ballet, Tony Hadley has, over the years, earned the accolade of being one of pop music’s greatest vocalists. In addition to all the band’s songs, many will remember his prominent vocal contribution to the Band Aid UK charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” and subsequent 1985 London appearance at Live Aid. He also performed solo at the Nelson Mandela Concert at Wembley in June 1988.
Spandau Ballet reformed in April 2009, and their sold out ‘Reformation Tour’ kicked off in October 2009 with 13 UK Arenas, including three nights at London’s O2, followed by Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Spain, then on to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UAE.
The tour ended in June 2010 with the band performing their first festival date at the Isle Of Wight.
A LIFE IN MUSIC
Turning the page on Spandau Ballet (after they disbanded in 1990), Tony has stuck to the same raw instincts that brought him early success. Tony is now a solo artist in his own right who has spent the past twenty years entertaining audiences all over the world with his stunning rich voice that has lost none of its power.
He has continued to write and record, and to date has released four solo studio albums; ‘State of Play’ on EMI Records, two albums through Universal Records, a self-titled album in 1998, and ‘True Ballads’ in 2003. In 2006, on his own label, Slipstream Records, he released his long-awaited swing album ‘Passing Strangers’. He has also released three live albums, two live DVDs and has had European success with several dance music collaborations.
On the live music front Tony is a regular performer, delighting audiences at home and abroad with such events as the ‘Night Of The Proms’ in Holland & Belgium, orchestral tours of Europe and South America, as well as his own UK & European solo tours.
In 2005 Tony’s contribution to the music industry was officially recognised with the award of a Gold Badge from the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters.
Subsequently, in 2007 he won a new legion of fans following his critically acclaimed performance as Billy Flynn in Chicago on the West End stage. Tony’s appearances in the show gave the musical one of its most successful runs ever and earned him an invitation to perform in the 10th Anniversary Show in 2008.
In August 2011 he played his first solo shows in the US, performing Spandau Ballet songs there for the first time since 1986.
In 2013 Tony played a series of sell-out Orchestra shows with culminated in a performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall
BOYS ON TOUR
As well as the conventional shows Tony has played some extremely unusual venues for British, NATO and UN Troops on active service in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands and Northern Ireland. From aircraft hangers & tank workshops to bombed-out theatres & derelict sports halls to name but a few, Tony felt it was a real honour to give something back and be asked to entertain our troops.
A PASSION FOR SWING
Aside from his own live band, Tony also has a passion for ‘Swing’; Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Jack Jones being just a few of his personal favourites and has performed with some of the greatest jazz orchestras in Europe, including London, Holland, Italy and Spain.
In 2006 Tony released his long-awaited swing album ‘Passing Strangers’. It was a personal project that had been months in the planning and truly reflects his passion for swing. The album features some of his favourite songs and was released to coincide with Tony’s first UK Swing tour, aptly-named ‘Swinging True’.
TV, RADIO AND PUBLISHING
Tony’s talents as an artist extend beyond the stage and in recent years his profile has increased dramatically in the UK. His participation in the UK reality TV show ‘Reborn In The USA’, which saw him travelling across The US in a tour bus with eight other British artists, eventually won him the public vote and the overall “crown”.
He also became a successful Radio DJ, firstly at Virgin Radio and now Absolute Radio. He brings his own brand of chat and music to the national airwaves every Saturday night. Tony is currently working on his own radio show to be syndicated around the world.
In May 2004 Macmillan Books released Tony’s autobiography ‘To Cut A Long Story Short’. The book charted Tony’s youth, his early days in the school band, and the heady heights of worldwide super stardom as lead singer of Spandau Ballet. The book was a popular success entering the Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers chart.
Tony likes to donate time to support charitable causes.
As Vice-President of Shooting Star CHASE, Childrens’ Hospices he has worked and performed annually at their fund raising events over the past 12 years.
Tony also has a major involvement with Action Medical Research, participating in their treks to Machu Picchu, The Lost World (Venezuela) and in 2009 the Eden Trek, trekking from the Pacific to Caribbean coasts in Costa Rica, resulting in a huge sum of money being raised for the charity’s “Touching Tiny Lives” campaign, looking at research into and help for premature birth. Each Autumn, Tony hosts his own celebrity golf day to raise money for this charity.
In June 2010 Tony Hadley began his year as President of TRIC, the Television & Radio Industry Club. TRIC, established in 1931 is an organization that aims to promote mutual understanding and goodwill amongst those engaged in the audio, visual, communications and allied industries. Tony took over from the TV Presenter, Sian Williams. TRIC has an unrivalled track record of charitable support with its members channeling their energies and using their influential contacts to benefit good causes.
Tony is also a Patron of The Lowe Syndrome Trust and supports Huntington’s Disease Association, Willow Foundation, NSPCC.
As father of five children, Tony likes to keep fit and keep up with the kids!! He regularly runs and exercises. He loves his annual ski holiday and savours scuba and water skiing in the summer. One of his biggest passions is football – he’s a regular at all the Arsenal matches – and plays for Arsenal ex-Professional and Celebrity XI team whenever he can. His speciality is the “own goal”!
Two of Tony’s highlights In 2012 were when he performed at the Royal Albert Hall.
Firstly in front of The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge in the “Our Greatest Team Rises” spectacular, to promote and raise funds for Team GB and then again a couple of week’s later as a guest of Dionne Warwick to support The Hunger Project.
Tony was very proud to perform at Team GB House for both our Olympic and Paralympic athletes on the Closing Ceremony nights with “Gold” becoming the unofficial Athletes song.
He finished 2012 with some successful solo shows in Japan, the first since his Spandau Ballet days.
The highlight of 2013 had to be Tony and his band’s sell-out series of incredible orchestral shows with the 40 piece Southbank Sinfonia, conducted by the legendary Anne Dudley. Performing the hits of Spandau Ballet and some of Tony’s personal favourites the audiences were treated to some magical performances.
Tony’s 2014 diary saw him travel all over the world to perform. There were his first ever performances in Chile, a return to Australia and the Philippines in addition to most of Europe. Following the success of the orchestral shows in 2013, Tony took the show back on the road for ten dates, wowing audiences across the UK.
He and his Spandau Ballet bandmates were busy in 2014 also, spending the end of the year promoting their documentary ‘Soul Boys of The Western World’, which was premiered in March 2014 at SXSW in Texas where the band performed their first concert in North America since 1985.
Directed by long-time Julien Temple producer, George Hencken, her archive-only feature documentary combines newsreel footage of the time with unseen video from the band’s home movies, along with long lost material newly discovered. The film takes us into the heart of the era and the cultural, political and personal landscape that formed the backdrop to the band’s story.
The UK premiere combined with a mini gig at The Royal Albert Hall sold out and was an exciting evening for them all.
They announced their 2015 Soul Boys of the Western World World Tour which ran from January to the end of September 2015.
MOST RECENTLY Tony had the great honour to be invited to Buckingham Palace to meet HM The Queen. He says:
” It was a great honour in my role as Vice President for Shooting Star Chase to be invited to Buckingham Palace by HM The Queen. It was a privilege to be presented to Her Majesty and acknowledge and celebrate the wonderful work of our Royal Patron HRH The Countess of Wessex.” Shooting Star Chase Childrens Hospice Care makes a true and significant difference to the lives of families caring for children with life-limiting and terminal illness, creating some wonderful and lasting memories for the families who need the vital lifeline of their care service.
B.E.F. would produce the now iconic Music For Stowaways, and Music Of Quality and Distinction 1, and provided a template that subsequent artists would use from The Assembly in the Eighties, Electronic in the Nineties, and most recently, the Damon Alban and Jamie Hewlett project, Gorillaz. But its Heaven 17 which would endure and help shape the future of modern music for over thirty years. Their first album, Penthouse And Pavement, is, and remains, a modern classic.
Within a week, they had written and demoed a new song, ‘(We Don’t Need That) Fascist Groove Thang.’ Listening back to a song written in late 1980, it’s astonishingly prescient. The purely electronic template, the driving musical philosophy of the Human League, had been modified with the addition of funky slap-bass guitar, and treated dance-floor piano. Released as a single, it became NME’s record of the week. The song managed to mention the words ‘fascist’, ‘Hitler’, ‘racist’ and was promptly banned from being played by the BBC. ‘One of the reasons the BBC said it couldn’t be played was they thought Ronald Reagan could sue them over it’, said Ian Craig Marsh in 1981 about the song’s most controversial couplet: ‘Reagan’s president elect/Fascist god in motion.’
Penthouse and Pavement is a musically schizoid slab of modern art. Side 1 fires off in the new, funky direction, whilst Side 2, the all-synth side gives a taste of what a third Human League album with Ware and Marsh on-side might have sounded – wonderful melodies and audacious arrangements with tracks such as ‘Let’s All Make A Bomb’ and ‘Song With No Name’ the very best of British electronica.
A defining feature of Heaven 17 was their total artistic control over their music. Whereas the sound and the success of the Human League’s Dare was very much a collaboration between the band and Martin Rushent, Heaven 17 were performers, writers and designers creating not just their own music but every aspect of the music’s presentation and packaging.
Heaven 17 and B.E.F. were unique and completely radical. Simultaneously, a critique and a postmodern embodiment of early-Eighties corporatism, they were too clever by half for many who didn’t get the joke. B.E.F., and Heaven 17 made it all into a straight-faced spoof of oppressive and unimaginative corporate industry, by creating one based on fun and intelligence’, says John Foxx, another electro pioneer of the Eighties:
Their next album, The Luxury Gap, was their pop masterpiece, the moment when everything just clicked into place to devastating effect. The bands favourite-ever song, ‘Let Me Go’ so nearly broke them into the UK Top 40. There would be no such disappoint with its follow up. The band convinced their sceptical record company that ‘Temptation’ had to be the next single. A duet between Glenn Gregory and Carol Kenyon, this song of lust, brilliantly framed by a musical structure which just kept building and building, Escher-like to an electric orgasm that seems never to come, it reached Number 2 in the UK charts in May 1983. Martyn Ware:
In September 1983, Heaven 17 appeared on the front cover of Smash Hits, the teen pop bible, and now, sure evidence that they had now become part of the pop firmament. ‘Come Live With Me’ the tale of a doomed love between a thirty-something and a teenager, and ‘Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry’, a sardonic look at mass unemployment set to a party beat cemented Heaven 17 as one of Britain’s most important post-punk bands.
For their next album, Heaven 17 pulled off that most difficult of tricks. How Men Are was a set of experimental tracks which were also pop songs. Although it spawned hits ‘Sunset Now’ and ‘This Is Mine’, the band’s popularity had peaked, and although they remained productive and always intelligent, Pleasure One (1986), and Teddy Bear, Duke, and Pyscho (1988) lacked direction.
With Ware now a successful producer for the likes of Tina Turner and Terrence Trent D’Arby, Heaven 17 was put on hold. Bigger Than America, released in 1996 showed their muse returning, but it would be Beforeafter in the Noughties which would show the band back on top form. ‘Hands Up To Heaven’ was a huge US Dance smash.
By the late 2000’s, Heaven 17 were down to two of their original members, Ian Craig Marsh having left the band to take a degree course in Psychology. Yet demand for Heaven 17 live which had run dry a decade earlier had now picked up dramatically. A whole new generation of artists began to sight Heaven 17 as prime influences, not least La Roux who would join Heaven 17 for a storming session for Six Music in 2010.
When Haircut 100 burst energetically onto the pop scene in 1980 with their bright and innovative sound, Nick Heyward was the boy that every girl wanted to see.
Haircut 100 became as well-known for the preppie outfits they wore as much as MTV bubblegum like Love Plus One and Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl), two of the most endearing songs of the ’80s. Both singles hit the Top Ten in Britain in 1982. Other hits included Fantastic Day, Nobody’s Fool and Prime Time.
Nick Heyward (vocals, guitar) left Haircut 100 just when they were cruising through the pop charts in the U.K. Instead of destroying his career, the move actually provided him with more artistic credibility. Once on his own, Heyward’s work lost much of Haircut 100’s teen gloss; the music was still catchy, but the lyrics were more adult and introspective, as displayed on tracks like Whistle Down the Wind from his 1983 solo debut North of a Miracle. Other tracks from Nick’s solo days included Take That Situation, Warning Sign and Blue Hat for a Blue Day. In 1994, the Beatles-like Kite on From Monday to Sunday was a smash hit on American modern rock stations.
Hearing his music on the radio still makes the sun shine so, when Nick takes the stage at Lets Rock Shrewsbury! prepare to be up-lifted.
He signed with MCA Records in 1983 and released his debut album “Human Racing” in 1984. It achieved multi platinum sales and launched Nik’s career worldwide.
The equally successful “The Riddle” followed and, in July 1985, he took the Wembley stage to perform at Live Aid.
In 1990, after four MCA albums and sales of over 8 million, Nik left the spotlight to concentrate on song writing and producing. The following years saw him working with Elton John, Chesney Hawkes, Cliff Richard, Bonnie Tyler, Lulu, Ronan Keating, Jason Donovan, Tony Banks, Michael W Smith, Connah Reeves, Nick Carter, The Hollies, Colin Blunstone, Imogen Heap, Gary Barlow and Let Loose.
He rekindled his recording career in 1998 with the critically acclaimed album “15 Minutes” and has subsequently released three further albums: “To be Frank” in 2001, “You’ve got to laugh” in 2006 and recently the solo acoustic album “No Frills” in 2010.
He has received accolades from such legends as Eric Clapton and Miles Davis and has been nominated for four Brit Awards.
“Heart & Soul” led to a meteoric rise in T’Pau’s fortunes both at home & in the USA, where the track stayed on the US billboard chart for 6 months. After a UK arena tour supporting Bryan Adams, the band immediately toured UK City Halls as headliners to tie in with the next single, the classic ballad “China In Your Hand.” Nobody could have predicted the enormous impact of “China” which stayed at No. 1 for 5 weeks – the longest serving No. 1 of the year! simultaneously Bridge Of Spies occupied the number1 album slot for 2 weeks .Keeping George Harrison off the number 1 single slot & Paul McCartney off the number1 album slot. Two Beatles trounced! ?
To date, “China In Your Hand” has appeared on more than 150 compilations, and has become one of the most played songs of the 1980’s. After further hits such as “Valentine,” “I Will Be With You,” and “Sex Talk,” the “Bridge Of Spies” album was certified quadruple platinum in the UK, selling 1.2 million copies. ‘Rage’ the 2nd album also went platinum.
The original line up of T’pau split in 1991 after the final hit “Whenever You Need Me” (No. 16).
The final album, “Heart & Soul: The Very Best Of T’Pau,” was released in 1993. Ron Rogers returned to production and studio work, whilst Carol embarked upon a co-writing career, occasionally performing solo and on other projects. Carol also address The Oxford Union in a Q& A about her career & take on the music business, plus an acoustic performance.
By 1997, Carol had taken the decision to build a new T’Pau around her, and get back on the road after assembling a massive amount of new material. A 25-date UK tour in the summer of ’97, including some festivals, preceded the release of a brand new version of “Heart & Soul” on the band’s own Gnatfish label. Encouraged by the response, Carol embarked upon recording ‘Red’ the first new T’pau album for 6 years, After 6 months in the studio, T’pau performed an orchestrated version of “China” with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Princess Diana Tribute Concert at Althorp in June 1998. It was broadcast live around the world, and later in a BBC primetime show. All this no mean feat as Carol had been pregnant throughout the recording of the album and gave birth to her first child, Scarlett Olivia, just 3 weeks before the Diana concert! Business as usual as T’pau quickly joined Status Quo on the European Tour.
In 2004 Carol released The ‘T’Pau Live’ album & appeared in the West End cast Of ‘Mum’s the Word’ at The Albery Theatre with Patsy Palmer, Imogen Stubbs & jennie Éclair. Other acting opportunities offered were’ Doctor’s’ for BBC One, ’Star’ with Nicolas Hoult for Children’s BBC Two. Uk films ,’Nine Dead Gay Guys‘ with Steven Berkoff, Fish & Michael Praed. ’Running Time, the first UK Interactive Film & BAFTA nominated.
Recent TV appearances include Buzzcocks, Trigger Happy TV, Hit Me Baby One More Time, Just The Two of Us & The Mathew Wright Show .Carol has always been a regular& popular guest on radio, including Ken Bruce & Steve Wright , Claudia winkleman & Sara Cox .Carol has presented shows for Absolute 80’s, LBC & BBC Radio Berks & is a regular contributor to Sky News
Carol continues to perform live in concert regularly to huge crowds on the UK at the hugely popular 80’s festival circuit .
In 2013 Carol completed a 28 date T’Pau tour, celebrating 25 years in the business,culminating in a packed out Big Top tent at IOW Festival.
In the 80’s these were all remixed and became huge hits again, thanks to the band’s massive following. Now the three original vocalists, Chris Amoo, Eddie Amoo and Dave Smith perform these hits and many more live on stage. Enjoy tracks like “You’ll Never Know What You’re Missing” and “Whenever You Want My Love” and discover why so many other artists have covered “Children Of The Ghetto”.
Altered Images quickly had worldwide success, selling millions of records, which topped the charts in several countries. They recorded 3 Top 10 Albums – “Happy Birthday”, “Pinky Blue” and “Bite”. They had 6 Top Ten Singles working with world famous producers – Martin Rushent, Tony Visconti and Mike Chapman. They were voted best new group at the NME awards and the same year they were invited to play at The Royal Command Performance.
After an eighteen-year gap in performing with Altered Images, Clare was persuaded to sing their hits again and continues to play in front of huge and enthusiastic crowds.
Stock Aitken and Waterman wrote their follow up single, “He ain’t no competition”, which peaked at No.6 in the UK charts. Brother Beyond’s first album “Get Even” was released and became a big success selling 400’000 copies. Further singles “Be My Twin” (chart position 14) and the reworked “Can you keep a secret” (No.22), kept their success moving along with their first nationwide tour.
Unlike so many of her 80’s contemporaries, Jaki’s hits have remained fresh, uncomplicated and modern. Set Me Free remains an ageless pop classic to this day after rocketing to No.7 in the British charts in May ’86, an anthem of that era. Breaking Away followed and offered her first location shoot abroad. It also charted at a respectable No.14 in August ‘86. Step Right Up brought Jaki back to her trademark high energy, up tempo pop hits and gave her yet another Top 20 hit in November ‘86. Her third album with EMI, From Now On was produced in 1987. One track entitled The Better Part of Me was an exceptionally beautiful ballad, with many in the entertainment business convinced that this was Jaki’s firstNo.1, guaranteed! However, surprisingly the changing climate of EMI dictated some often incredibly ill thought out ideas and both the video and album were shelved after three weeks. This decision coincided with Jaki achieving a Guinness World Record for being the first black British female solo artist to have 6 consecutive Top 10 / 20 hits, unheard of by a black British female at that time. In the same year, Michael McDonald came into Jaki’s life looking for a female singer to accompany him on the track ‘On My Own’ for his UK Tour. Michael, who has worked with some of the most influential names in showbiz including Patti Labelle and Aretha Franklin, personally chose Jaki over a stream of other UK female vocalists. After hearing her voice, he was quoted as saying that Jaki was ‘one of the best singers Britain has ever produced’. A deep friendship and mutual respect grew between the two artists and to this day, Michael’s first choice for a UK singing partner remains Jaki. Towards the end of the 80’s, sales and figures provided by Billboard magazine had established Jaki as Britain’s most successful black female artist ever. Not surprisingly, Jaki’s success was not limited to the shores of the United Kingdom. People of every culture and language from every corner of the globe loved her natural vocal perfection. The distinct, powerful delivery, coupled with her warm and compassionate ease seemed to melt the barriers of language, colour and creed. Denmark, Germany, Japan, Australia, South Africa – places she had only ever dreamed of visiting – loved her and her fan base grew worldwide.
This marked a turning point and in Japan, Jaki was particularly successful and released albums and singles there that England never even knew existed . Her first album Real Life sold more than 800,000 copies in less than four weeks. By today’s standards, this record is only surpassed by the elite few. Furthermore, tickets for her Japanese tour sold out in 20 minutes flat, outselling some of her well known US contemporaries. In true down to earth style, her reaction was simply, ‘For real?’ Real Life gave Jaki many international hit singles and elevated her status further. Ain’t Nobody did exceptionally well in the United States reaching No.1 in the Billboard dance charts for 5 weeks, with its impressive video also rocketing to the Top 5 in the American Black Entertainment Charts (BET). In retrospect, it is a pity that England never had the chance to hear Jaki’s work at the time as it showed growth, professionalism and a polished depth not heard from Jaki before. In fact, it represents some of her best work (and at the same time least known to UK fans). This album, along with those that followed however, are now available on digital release in the UK, USA and Canada. Ain’t Nobody, Absolute E-Sensual, Real Life and You Can Count On Me are outstanding tracks which were released in 1994. Jaki had effortlessly slipped into the 90’s era of music and as a result, won over a new legion of eager fans worldwide. Sales of Ain’t Nobody reached gold in Australia, Japan and the USA and her next album Best Shots released only in Japan, responded quickly to her popularity with a greatest hits album. Michael McDonald also contributed album tracks specifically for Jaki, with Through Your Eyes in particular being a classic that still stands the test of time. When Jaki appeared on a German TV show with Boy George, he summed her up completely saying ‘You’ll never meet a harder working artist than Jaki Graham’. In ‘95, Jaki released her next Japanese CD entitled Rhythm of Life, followed by My Life in ‘96 and Hold On in ‘98. Sweden also took a great interest in her by releasing singles unique only to that country such as The Christmas Song and Seek and You Will Find which are now rare and highly sought after by collectors. During this period, Motown signed the album Kiss the Sky, which featured Jaki on lead and backing vocals, and has since gone on to sell in excess of a million copies worldwide, meaning the girl from Handsworth was now officially Motown.
Following years of travelling the world and continuing to constantly perform live, 2009 marked a hectic year for Jaki. After being approached by the BBC to work with the BBC Big Band as part of their Radio 2 special, Jaki had only a couple of months to prepare to perform Gershwin classics, that would finally give her the opportunity to sing Jazz! Following her Gershwin & Soul concert in October 2009, people were amazed, having not heard her perform in this genre until now, and not even realising that this too was in her repertoire. Only two weeks after the concert was put out across the airwaves, she received a phone call again from the BBC and the second concert was confirmed, having received a phenomenal worldwide response from the first performance.
March 12th 2010 saw Jaki again performing with the BBC Big Band, this time for an evening of Duke Ellington classics. March also saw the international release of Jaki’s 3 Japanese albums. Until this point Real Life, Rhythm of Life and My Life had only been available in limited territories which had meant that many fans have never heard some of her finest recordings. 2010 continued to be a hive of activity as Cherry Pop records released a special edition CD of Jaki’s 1986 album Breaking Away. In addition to the original 12 track album, 5 bonus tracks were added, 3 of which were exclusive to this release. The summer of 2010 also saw Jaki accompany Michael McDonald and Al Green on their UK Legends Arena Tour which included Birmingham LG, Manchester MEN and London’s O2 Arena, as Michael’s Special Guest. Jaki was invited to join Sir Cliff Richard on his successful Soulicious Arena Tour in October 2011, as his only British Special Guest alongside soul legends James Ingram, Percy Sledge, Freda Payne, Lamont Dozier and Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr of Fifth Dimension, which is available on DVD, having been filmed across 2 nights at London’s O2 Arena.
As for 2012, Jaki had a busy year! SET ME FREE 2012 by DJ Paul Rudd feat. Jaki Graham, was released in May, having been approached to re-vocal the 1986 classic. Jaki was also finally back in the studio and finished recording her first, long awaited studio album in over 10 years. For Sentimental Reasons was released in October, giving Jaki the chance to pay homage to some of the classics she was herself brought up listening too, only this time with a more contemporary Jazz twist. This also tied in with Jaki being honoured on Birmingham’s Walk Of Stars joining the likes of Julie Walters, Ozzy Osbourne, Jasper Carrott, Bev Bevan and more.
Following her intimate ongoing For Sentimental Reasons UK tour in 2013, Jaki received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Wolverhampton University in recognition of her Outstanding International Contribution to R&B, Soul and Dance. Her life represents so much to so many different people. Her story is an inspiration, showing what a disadvantaged black girl from a socially deprived background can achieve. Her resilience and strength of character in conquering prejudice and ignorance in her mixed race marriage gives hope and strength to people worldwide facing similar struggles. No matter where you’re from or what struggles you may have encountered, it is for this reason that Jaki has amassed a fan base from all walks of life. Her ability to become the conqueror rather than the victim makes her an attractive role model in a society whereby it seems so few remain. Her music embodies people with a positive energy and inner strength and her voice has united and embraced nations and cultures worldwide. Of all people, Jaki would be the one who would least see these special gifts in herself. In her own words ‘I’m nothing unique….