2:57pm Thursday 2nd May 2013
By David Morgan
HE may have sold more than 30 million records across the globe, but Billy Ocean still feels lucky to be in show business.
The award-winning soul music legend is the biggest black recording star Britain has ever produced and is back on tour and in the studio doing what he loves.
“I don’t take anything for granted,” said the 63-year-old.
“The Grammys, the Mobo awards, the hits, the longevity. I just take every day as it comes and start again the next day.”
Ocean, who was born in Trinidad and grew up in London’s East End, released his first selftitled album in 1976 which included the massive hit Love Really Hurts Without You.
The only way was up from there with gold and platinum records across the world and chart toppers in the UK, USA, Australia, Germany and Holland before taking a 15-year career break in 1993.
“I’ve been lucky so far,” added the father-of three.
“I’m glad of my life. Allthese great musicians have come and gone so I’m glad I’m still out there.”
The Caribbean Queen singer will be performing at Parr Hall tomorrow, Friday.
He said: “The show is made up of the hits and it’s difficultto know whatto miss out so the show’s getting longer.
“I still love singing the songs I’m known for, like When The Going Gets Tough.
“Some artists gettired of playing old hits, but I get a buzz out of seeing the audience get a buzz.”
Ocean decided to take a lengthy 15-year break from the music industry between 1993 and 2007 to spend time with his family.
He added: “Things got a bit sour. The negative was overtaking the positive and that’s when you should do something aboutit.
“There was plenty of money, butthat’s not fulfilment.
“Can you imagine a world without music? I love going out and seeing people’s reactions to the songs. So when I came back in 2007, I was enjoying it a lot more than I did.”
This time, his daughter Cherie is joining him on backing vocals. His son Antony works with children with special needs and his other daughter Rachel teaches English literature.
Ocean said: “As a dad it’s the nicest thing in the world when one of your children follows in your footsteps.
“As a parent you do what you can for them; the restis up to them.
Cherie has also made me a granddad. My granddaughter, Anna, is 11 months old. It’s been a joy.”
His children are notthe only ‘family’ he has had the chance to reconnect with. Ocean added: “It’s great to be back with the band again. We’re like a little family, we miss each other, so it’s a nice feeling to be back on the road with them.”
Fans can also expect the release of Ocean’s covers album Here You Are on May 13.
Working again with his long time collaborator Barry Eastmond,the CD pays tribute to the artists that have influenced him like Bob Marley and Frank Sinatra.
And despite four decades of making music, his own songs have endured, appearing in more than 30 films and still heard in clubs throughout the country.
“I get a real cross section going to the shows. Grandparents, parents and their children.
“You get the people who have grown up with me and they’ve told their children and they telltheir children.”
Tickets for Billy Ocean at Parr Hall had almost sold out as Weekend went to press. To check on availability call 442345.
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