Gary Kemp has released his first single, “Ahead of the Game,” off of his upcoming album, ‘INSOLO.’ This is the second solo album by Spandau Ballet songwriter and Saucerful Of Secrets guitarist and co-lead vocalist, Gary Kemp.
As the songwriter & guitarist in one of the most iconic bands of the 80’s, Spandau Ballet, Gary became one of the most commercially successful writers of the decade. During their career Spandau notched up 23 hit singles and spent a combined total of more than 500 weeks in the UK charts, achieving over 25 million album sales worldwide. Some of their songs, like “True,” “Gold” and “Through the Barricades” have become standards. “True” has now achieved over five million plays in North America alone and “Gold” was the true soundtrack to the London 2012 Olympics.
Gary is also an accomplished stage and screen actor with critical & commercial success in films such as The Krays, The Bodyguard and the BBC TV comedy The Kemps – All True with his brother Martin and on stage in London’s West End as part of the Jamie Lloyd Theatre Company.
Saucerful Of Secrets
As a member of Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets Gary performs early Pink Floyd material the world over to huge acclaim. His co-front man in the band, Guy Pratt, is also his presenting partner on the Apple #1 podcast The Rockonteurs.
Twenty-five years on from his solo debut ‘Little Bruises’ Gary has written and produced an album that focuses on two dominant themes: the paradox of solitude in an urban landscape, and his growing obsession with life seen through a rear-view mirror and how the past infects our present.
The first track to be taken from the album is the bright & breezy 70’s inflected “Ahead Of The Game,” of the track Gary says, “Richard Jones added the bass guitar. Apart from being a friend Richard’s an amazing player and I’ve worked with him before, so we had an easy language. He loves late 70s pop and I felt some of that influence in this tune. In building backing vocals on this album my references were always from that era – Wings, 10cc and Supertramp.”
Ahead Of The Game
Accompanying the track is a visual directed by Charlie Lightening whose previous credits include the Liam Gallagher documentary ‘As It Was’ plus shorts with Paul McCartney, Nile Rogers, Jamiroquai and Black Sabbath.
Asked why make a solo album now Gary says “It’s confidence, playing around the world with Nick Mason gave me a certain reputation as a guitar player and singer that I never gained from Spandau Ballet. That allowed me to go and do my own record and I am of a certain age where I feel the need to understand the issues in the world and my own life, the only way I can do that is in the self-therapy of songwriting.”
With Gary at the peak of his powers as a guitarist he played all the guitars on the album, the bass duties were handled by Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd, David Gilmour), except Ahead of the Game and Too Much by Richard Jones of The Feeling and Waiting for the Band by Gary’s brother, Martin Kemp.
Ash Soan (Seal, Adele, Rod Stewart, Trevor Horn) played drums on Ahead of the Game, I Am the Past, The Fastest Man in the World, The Haunted and Our Light. Drums on In Solo and I Remember You were played by Ged Lynch (Peter Gabriel, Electronic, Goldfrapp). Ged also played percussion on The Haunted, In Solo and I Remember You. Drums on Too Much were played by Queen’s Roger Taylor.
Matt Clifford (The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger) played French horn on In Solo, Too Much and I am the Past. Sax on Waiting for the Band was played by Theo Travis (Soft Machine, David Gilmour, Steven Wilson), and Lily Carassik (Modern Nature) played trumpet on I Remember You. Gary’s other Saucerful compatriot, Lee Harris, played lap steel on A Rumour Of You.
James Arthur Announces Headline Belfast Show
James Arthur today delights fans by announcing tours of both UK & Ireland and North America in 2022.
The tour includes dates at Ulster Hall on 28th March and Olympia Theatre on 29th March.
Today’s announcement lands on a special day – the fifth anniversary of the release of James’s global smash hit ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’.
James will be performing songs from his upcoming new album ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’ alongside his classic hit singles and fan favourites.
James says: “I’m beyond happy about getting back on the road and seeing everyone again. Playing shows for my fans gives me life and that’s been taken away for the best part of two years so needless to say I’m itching to get back out there and perform for them again. Coming to a stage near you soon!”
James has sold over 30 million records worldwide and has to date released three hugely successful albums ‘James Arthur’ (UK No.2), ‘Back From The Edge’ (UK No.1) and ‘YOU’ (UK No.2), alongside nine solo UK Top 40 singles. He has had two No.1 smash hits and was awarded a disc for reaching a billion streams on Spotify with ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, the No.1 global hit that brought the singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough back from the edge (it currently has 1.7 billion streams on the platform). James recently dominated the airwaves and charts with his storming collaboration with Sigala ‘Lasting Lover’. The track was a No.1 airplay song in the UK, No.1 on iTunes and Top 10 on the Official Singles Chart.
James recently signed a new record deal in the UK with Columbia Records, a co-deal with Columbia Records Germany, and announced his new album ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’, his 4th long play release, is coming later this year.
Foy Vance Set For SSE Arena Concert
Singer-songwriter Foy Vance is pleased to announce his largest ever headline show at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 02nd April 2022. Foy’s second studio album on Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records and the follow-up to 2016’s The Wild Swan, Signs Of Life will be released on September 10 on CD, LP and digital formats and is available to pre-order.
Signs Of Life is the sound of a beloved singer-songwriter at the peak of his powers. It’s also the sound of a man – a husband, a father, a sinner, a drinker – belatedly coming to terms with his demons. Driven by powerful percussion, “Time Stand Still” features a soaring, emotive vocal from Vance, who was struggling with an addiction to alcohol and painkillers at the time of writing.
“I had my first extended period off the road after twenty years of constant touring,” says Vance. “And I realised: wow, I drink two bottles of wine and at least a half bottle of vodka a day. I’d start the day with codeine to get myself sorted, and I’d smoke joints throughout the day. So I realised: I have so many incredibly bad habits here. I’m showing all the signs of death, getting ashen, grey, smoking more, drinking more, smoking more…I hit a wall.”
“It was my manager that made me get help,” Vance continues. “And in those moments, you do wish time would stand still. Can’t I just stop here and sit in this moment before I have to take up that mantle?”
Signs Of Life was recorded in three locations: Vance’s Pilgrim studio at home on the shores of Loch Tay in Highland Perthshire, another recording set-up in a nearby Dunvarlich House, and at Plan B’s Kings X studio in London. The album was written and played more or less entirely by Vance, with able assistance from young Northern Irish producer Gareth Dunlop. Serendipitously, Dunlop had been inspired on his career path by a chance encounter with Vance many years before.
“When I was around 14 years-old I wandered into a coffee shop in Belfast and saw Foy playing in the corner,” Dunlop explains. “I was completely spellbound by what I heard. It was a lightbulb moment that sent me on the road of wanting to discover my own voice and musicality. I would never have imagined that I would be co-producing a record with him 18 years later, and that I would be just as inspired and spellbound by what he does.”
Created out of the grimness of 2020, Signs of Life is an album of dawn after darkness, hope after despair, engagement after isolation, uplift after lockdown. It comes in bold sleeve artwork that reflects Vance’s desire to embrace all sides of everything, all humanity’s textures. Shot on a 160-year-old camera which does arresting things with colours and shading, the back image is of Vance as a bare-chested, bare-knuckle boxer. On the front, he’s in a dress, blonde wig and theatrical make-up.
“They’re just mad, striking images, and I loved the fact that it was male and female. You know, life’s extreme, life’s volatile, life explodes into reality sometimes, and stops just as quick. So to be struck by images on the cover made sense.”
At any time, Foy Vance’s new collection of songs would be a tonic. At this particular time, they can’t arrive a moment too soon. “That’s a huge part of it,” says Vance. “Signs of Life is about re-emergence – me in my own soft revolution, the world re-emerging in what we’re about to see as we hopefully go back to some semblance of normality. But just life in general – flowers growing through the cracks in Chernobyl. Life finds a way, doesn’t it?”