Much more than a singer/producer~ Interview with Patrick Boothe~ a man on a mission!

Patrick Boothe is definitely amongst the hardest workers in the music industry; frequently working around the clock to produce great music in a mixture of genres. Patrick has been in the business for years and known many famous people including Phil Collins, Marvin Gaye and Ronnie Laws to name a few. During the course of his life, Patrick has also faced a great deal of adversity yet he has consistently refused to give in to the closed doors, preferring to constantly challenge himself and learn new skills in order to become self reliant. Patrick is a very kind, caring person who uses his gifts to encourage and benefit others.

How many years have you been in the music business?
I should say for 4 decades now isn’t it (laugh.) It’s been a long time. I started singing when I was very young, about 7 and I’ve been singing ever since; haven’t stopped... still a young man!

What genres do you cover?
I listen to everything so if I hear a good Indian track it interests me. I never close my ears to genres. I am not genre specific in my creations and tend to mix genres as well. I like everything and do rock, R&B, soul, hip hop- you name it- I do it because I believe that music is just music. I don’t believe in confining myself to one area of music at all and I have never done that. All my life I have liked everything.

Now Patrick, we know you should have been a household name along with other stars. Can you just tell us briefly what happened in your career to prevent this?
Basically, when I got my first deal with Street Wave Records we did, 'Dancehall Night' and this was my first single. Then we had, ’Never knew Love Like This Before,’ which was a hit in America and it was really blowing up over here. I think Morgan had difficulties with the deal with CBS because I know there were things that were done that weren’t right at the time. All I could do was just go with the flow. I was moving from one end of the country to the next promoting it but there were little things going on that weren’t too good for us. It hampered things for a little while but I got out of that scene when their deal went down. I switched to doing backing vocals and honed into some other skills and spent many years singing and making other peoples’ records sound good (laugh,) which was good for me because it’s all a part of the learning process. At the end, when I wanted to do my own thing, I knew that I could put together a professional team or do it myself which is the case now.

Can you name some of the big artists you have been associated with?
I opened for Marvin Gaye in 1980 and in the same year I opened for Ronnie Laws- up and down the country. Marvin and I were at The Venue, Victoria, an amazing place with great acoustics. It was great and Marvin’s band members told me it was the first time they had ever seen Marvin stand up in an auditorium and watch another artist opening for him; which was amazing! In those days I was a real crooner and was with a band called Midnight Express, a jazz funk band. In those days, the late 70’s, you had bands like Central Line and Midnight Express. Luckily for us we had Kenny Lynch the comedian as our agent and Ray Levy as our manager. Kenny was great and we did some high profile gigs, it was good fun. Later, Junior Giscombe was just hovering and David Grant was around, so that’s where I’m coming from.

How did you like being in the background so to speak?
It helped me to understand the business in many ways by not being in the limelight. Coming up I was with Climey Fisher and I sang with Michael Bolton on stage but did a lot of records both here and with American artists. British artists included Lloyd Cole and Johnny Hates Jazz but there’s too many to mention really! It was good for me being behind the scenes, travelling around with them from country to country, seeing the lifestyle but still trying to keep a level head. Half the time I would be telling these guys, ‘why do you need to spend money on a Learjet just to go up to Scotland?’ and things like that; you know what I mean. I just didn’t see any sense in it but it’s the pop star image. In the end I just sat back and enjoyed it and we had lots of fun, we really did, just being with these guys. Watching these professionals and being friends with the Gap Band, the Dazz Band, Jeffrey Daniels, they all used to come here. We all used to go to the same parties, the same clubs and I used to take them to China Town to my friends restaurants and we had a whale of a time. Back in the day- those were the good days I think.

Can you speak a little about your early music?
Phil Collins (sigh.) The Phoenix Horns from Earth, Wind and Fire played on my first album, ‘Never Knew Love Like This Before.’ It was produced by Richard Jones, the brother of Gloria Jones who was the wife of Marc Bolan. Richard was a brilliant producer with good ears and he had a 10 gallon hat like a real yankee... you know what I mean (laugh.) We had James Simpson as well and they both co-wrote the songs. They were getting their songs in and I had some of my own on the album so I was happy with that.

How have you gone from there to where you are now with your new music, which is beginning to create a stir?
For the last couple of years I have been involved with producing other people. In 2006 I met up with Bobby Sparks, who is a good friend of mine now. Bobby’s a great little artist and I found his voice to be very powerful yet very soft so I was able to stretch it. He was originally from Jamaica and when I met him he had only been in this country for 2 years. Before that he had always been singing and was on the ships for many years in the Caribbean on the big cruisers. He had a good time, he travelled around the world but he had this voice and I saw the potential. I think he entered the X factor in 2006 and was a success with Sharon Osbourne! I took him under my wings and said, ‘I will work with you.’ I have been working with him ever since and we have done 2 albums, 'Changing Times' and 'Thunder and Lightening,' 2 brilliant albums. On both albums you can hear how his vocals stretch and to me he’s an international artist. Investing in another artist is tricky because of their egos and I wanted somebody who would be rock solid, have ambition and want to get somewhere.
Now I am finally working on my stuff, to be Patrick Boothe so you can hear what Patrick Boothe has to say.

Why the closed doors?
For the last 30 years I have been under tremendous pressure from the industry because they just don’t want to acknowledge me... they know that you’re good, they admit that you’re good but they are afraid of you. For me, I know what I wanted from day 1 more than any other artist in this country but was met with... we don’t know how to put you. I said, ‘what do you mean? What pigeon hole you want to slot me into?' My life is not about a pigeon hole, I sing anything and everything so I put it out and let the public decide.’

The industry has changed quite a bit in the last few years hasn't it?
Yes, the great thing about the industry is that it has opened up now and given the power back to the artist; you make your own roads now but you only get out what you put in. I find I have a lot of sleepless nights and hardly eat because I just work. I am making use of the internet and the technology we have today so am promoting myself as best I can. Obviously it is beginning to make inroads and people are beginning to prick their ears up... Patrick Boothe is around again.

Tell us about the songs that are making waves!
I have re-done, 'Let’s Get It On,' a cover of the Marvin Gaye song that I did many years ago. Then there is,'Coming Up To Midnight,' which was recorded whilst I was living in Jamaica for a period of my life after my parents died. The latest song is, 'Waiting In Vain,' the Bob Marley cover recorded as an acoustic version which has never been done before. It’s got everyone’s attention at the moment and the guys at the BBC are saying wow this could be a big hit, so I am looking forwards. Through all these years I have spent behind the scenes other artists have told me, ‘Patrick it’s prejudice.’ I said, ‘No. It’s just that I’ve got to work harder than anyone else’ and in fact they have made me even better than I was. I have learnt to do everything, even to the point of mastering and mastering is a special technique. I can even print CD’s and they look so professional. I have taken them around the world and have them print wrapped... they even have bar codes on them! People just say WOW, you did this? It’s been a good learning process for me. People have always said, you can’t master everything but that’s a lie; it’s only because you limit yourself and I have never limited myself.

How do you believe things will work out for you?
I believe it will happen when God says it’s time and I believe that’s about now as people need a lot of healing. I am the healer. An example of what I mean is my song, 'Victim.' I was in Los Angeles in 1996 to do some shows, invited by Gilda Biez and funnily enough that’s where I met Tinga Stewart, who was also over doing shows. I was driving round LA meeting people all the time and I met this woman who owned a studio and she gave me the studio to use for free while I was in LA; that was an amazing thing. While I was at Gilda’s I was writing and going the next day to the studio and recording stuff, so I decided I was going to do this album and Tinga heard that song. He said, ‘Patrick, can I have a go at it?’ I said, ‘Yes, come down tomorrow.’ He came the next day and sang, 'Victim' and I had forgotten how good he sang that song! I actually totally forgot about it and went back to Jamaica. Only now, all this time later, Tinga let a DJ hear it and that was back in December. The DJ said to Tinga that he can’t be sitting on this, so he put it out and it’s just gone vrrrooom! Everyone’s going wow, listen to the lyrics... that’s what’s catching them, the lyrics.

I remember you saying that people told you Victim had a real healing affect on them. Do you feel this is at the core of your music?
I think I’m on a mission here. I believe that my music has been inspired in a spiritual way, a very spiritual way because I never know what I am going to play when I start recording: I don’t know what chords I am going to go to. Funny enough, the minute I get on there I find that’s it, a new song has been born. Every single day, whether it’s 2 or 3 songs for the day. I used to be that mad... I’d be working through to the next morning. Bobby’s album for instance, it took me a month to do the whole album which is amazing. I would go in the bathroom in the morning and be sitting there and suddenly be inspired. The lyrics would come to me, the melodies would come to me and I’m calling my wife, ‘Can you bring me a piece of paper, my notepad, fast,’ and I would sit there and write the whole song out. Bobby, everyday when he came to the studio he had something new to sing because I was inspired and the Changing Times album is an amazing album; lyrically it gets to people. I feel that God let’s me feel what the world is feeling. Some people can’t bring it out. If they are going through a situation they can’t speak about it and it’s as if God’s letting me see inside you to help bring it out. I am the guy who’s supposed to write it and I feel that is my purpose. My purpose is to tell you your story to give you a way, an option out; show you the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes life blinkers you making you feel like you’re going down this narrow little road. I am bringing the light to you, showing you that there is another option. I think that a lot of us live our lives not knowing what our purpose is but I’ve know my purpose for many years and no one can stop me! There is a lot more to come from Patrick Boothe so watch out we’re on a roll!

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