Boy George Interview


Boy George is universally recognised as one of the music scenes biggest artists and for the past 30 years has maintained a strong position at the forefront of this ever-changing, multi-faceted industry. Attracting high praise from the likes of MixmagDJ Magazine and MTV as having gained truly global recognition, the Grammy-nominated singer has created a worldwide presence that transcends age, race, colour, creed, nationality and even religion.

From the millions of records he sold as performer and songwriter with 80’s super group Culture Club, and as a solo artist, to maintaining his position as one of the world’s most successful and in-demand international DJs. George’s list of achievements is unparalleled in dance circles, having to-date been a national newspaper columnist for the Daily Express, author of two bestselling autobiographies, been the co-producer, songwriter and on-stage star of the award-winning musical ‘Taboo’ on both New York’s Broadway and London’s West End, creator of his own B-Rude fashion label with outlets in New York, Los Angeles, London, as well as still maintaining an elite membership to the worlds designer fashion hierarchy – DJing regularly at post catwalk shows such as Versace, Phillip Treacy and more recently Hugo Boss. We didn’t even get to George making it into the Top 50 of the BBC’s 100 Greatest Britons of all time.

http://www.boygeorgeuk.com

http://www.koolwaters.com/

  • Beatsmedia:
    Tell us a little bit about your musical philosophy and the message behind your music.
  • Boy George:
    It’s very simple; I want my musical to resonate with people both emotionally and intellectually whilst enjoying the experience of my songs.
  • Beatsmedia:
    You have a very distinctive image and brand, what strategies did you employ in your brand development and how important do you feel developing a point of distinction is to succeed in the global EDM scene?
  • Boy George:
    First off I’m not a product! My image is not a brand – this is who I am!

    If you think of the sort of situations I have put myself in over the years, it should be easy to see that there has never really been a strategy behind my career. I’m sure in my earlier years I was a managerial nightmare, but you live and learn. These days however, I am more focused into what I am doing and why I am doing it. But even with this new way of thinking I still only commit to projects and work with artists I believe in. Developing, as you say, a unique point of distinction is important absolutely. Dance music fans are wise to producers who mimic popular sounds etc, so developing your own sound is essential to growing your own fan base.

  • Beatsmedia:
    As an artist that has worked across countless genres of music, what makes the EDM scene distinctive in your eyes?
  • Boy George:
    It’s a combination of two things – the freedom of expression and the unity of the dance floor. Dance music has always been free of barriers no matter what people’s sex, race, age or religion is. What exciting is the level to which the scene is starting to reach, which I’m sure no one in the scene could ever have imagined before. This enormous musically movement has the potential to break down so many more barriers across the world. What is amazing about dance music is for nearly 20 years the scene has bubbled along in a sort of underground state. Occasionally hitting peaks such as the trance boom of the late 90’s or the house explosion of 00’s, but now we are set to plant ourselves in the same leagues as hip hop and rock. People are finally coming round to the fact that dance music is not just dirty rave music but a multi-genre industry globally respected among millions of party goers around the world.
  • Beatsmedia:
    What challenges have you faced in securing longevity in your career and what do you feel it takes for an artist to find longevity in the music industry?
  • Boy George:
    I think my challenges in the music industry have been well documented but like any musician what’s important is where I take my music. I’ve never been fixated on prolong my longevity, it has always been more important to me to preserve what I believe in as an artist. Believe in yourself and what you are doing and when the time is right you’ll have your moment.

THOUGHTS & INFLUENCES

  • Beatsmedia:
    What are your thoughts on the digital media technological evolution, has the ease at which music can now be distributed been an advantage or a disadvantage in our global music scene?
  • Boy George:
    Overall the digital age has been an advantage because music and in particular live shows have benefited most from its arrival. Of course those at the other end of the scales who have suffered the most have been the record labels and the level of royalties that artists receive from the sales of their music.
  • Beatsmedia:
    As an artist that has maintained a solid presence in the music scene, what have been some of the most significant changes you have seen in that time, have these been for better or for worse?
  • Boy George:
    The music industry has always been an uncontrollable beast and none more so then the one we live with today. That said, I much prefer the present state of the live industry (aside from the ever present camera phone recording!) and the enthusiasm the media have started giving it again. I hope this trend long continues.
  • Beatsmedia:
    Do you feel that media and tabloids are too quick to get involved in an artist’s personal affairs, where do you personally feel the line should be drawn between public life and privacy for an artist?
  • Boy George:
    The papers need to sell copies and the labels need to sell volumes, so sadly it’s a vicious circle! I do think the media often overstep the mark when it comes to handling the public life of certain artists because it goes way beyond their artist profile and drops into a vicious invasion of their personal problems. Many of these artists are often young individuals who’ve entered into a completely new world, with all the riches and offers their wildest dreams couldn’t of imagined. So tearing them to shreds at a fragile point in their life is one step down from a public stoning.
  • Beatsmedia:
    Your outstanding accolades also include best-selling author and columnist., what inspired you to diversify in this direction and what did did you take away from these experiences?
  • Boy George:
    I like to challenge myself and when the opportunities arose to do a book and to have my own column, I just felt the time was right for me to do something new. Both projects allowed me to have a step away from what I had been doing musically and immerse myself into a different sort of writing other than just music – what was interesting was reflecting back on my career and then writing about it, I took a lot away from that on how I should have dealt with certain situations differently etc.
  • Beatsmedia:
    You have compiled many compilations over the years, most notably for Ministry of Sound. What qualities do you search for in choosing which tracks to feature, and how do you go about composing these iconic compilations?
  • Boy George:
    Hate to say it but the process is often laborious because you dig deep for what you’d like to include in your mix, then the tracks need to be cleared. Then you find out that some often can’t be cleared for the mix, so it’s back to the drawing board to source the right music for the mix. That said though, doing those compilations for Ministry is something which I’m now extremely proud of.I’m actually doing a new mix compilation for 2011, as it has been a good few years since my last one. This time it will be for Koolwaters and will feature myself and fellow resident Marc Vedo. The album will be a two disc compilation celebrating the 10th anniversary of Koolwaters.
  • Beatsmedia:
    Tell us a little bit about your love for fashion and your fashion label B-Rude. How you have endeavoured to combine your vision for music and fashion together?
  • Boy George:
    Well B-Ride feeds very much into the punk aesthetic; so its origins have always been rooted in music right from the start. Since my early years fashion has been a huge part of my daily life. Even before I ended up with a career as a musician I wanted to get into the fashion world. B-Rude enables me to combine both my passions with an open mind for creativity. At times the label does take a back seat when everything else is hectic but it has never been a side project, the label is very much an organic project month to month. I’m actually thinking about changing the name to G.O.D. Not because I’m proclaiming to be God but because it’s my initials, George O’Dowd, and I feel that the time has come to freshen it up a little.

UPCOMING

  • Beatsmedia:
    You have a few collaborations on the way, can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect from these?
  • Boy George:
    The most recent is my new track with Mark Ronson for his new album Record Collection. The record is called Somebody to love me and I’ve actually been joining Mark on tour recently to perform the song at some of his shows – which has been fantastic fun. My follow up single ‘Sunshine into my live’ is one I’ve just completed with Marc Vedo and features Charlene Hector on vocals. People will probably recognise Charlene from her work with Basement Jaxx. I also recently completed a track with Harry Choo Choo Romero, known from Subliminal records. At the moment there’s no news on a release date but hopefully it’ll be out before the end of this year because it’s a great record.
  • Beatsmedia:
    What are some of the strengths and weakness in working in collaborations, do you prefer these projects to solo production?
  • Boy George:
    Collaborations are not really something I do, or least I’ve ever enjoyed doing over solo productions. However, these last few have really given me a buzz for it again and I’m excited to do more in the future. Although solo projects are still where my heart lies.
  • Beatsmedia:
    There are countless artists around the world trying to break into the global dance scene at the moment, what advice can you offer these up and comers?
  • Boy George:
    Be yourself and find your own sound. And take it from me, it’s important to respect those around as you move forward in your career….you just never know who you’ll end up meeting again later in your career.
  • Beatsmedia:
    We hear you have your first electronic album coming out soon, can you tell us a little bit about your intentions with the album and what we can expect?
  • Boy George:
    Yes, that’s right. The album was titled Extraordinary Alien but I’ve decided to change it to just Ordinary Alien instead. Musically, the album is a body of work I’ve done with my studio partner Kinky Roland over the last 10 years or so but never got to release. We’ve updated and re-edited the tracks and given the album something of a dancefloor feel. I’m really looking forward to finally having these singles out there as a few of the tracks on the album are some of my favourite pieces I’ve ever done.
  • Beatsmedia:
    What are your plans for the rest of 2010 and any personal goals for 2011?
  • Boy George:
    Well there’s obviously the release of the album to look forward to. I’m currently on a live tour so my dj dates for the next couple of months will be few and far between in places but I still have gigs coming up in Sri Lanka, Italy and the UK among others. You can check my MySpace for my future dates, its http://www.myspace.com/boygeorgeofficial.

    Next year I’ve some long tours coming up in a few countries I wasn’t able to visit in 2010, so I’m really looking forward to returning to some clubs I’ve not been to in a good number of years. Looking forward my one goal for 2011 is to continue working at the level I’ve done this year. I’ve had a wonderful time getting deep in to my studio work again and the touring has also been a lot of fun, both live and djing. There are a lot of offers on the table for big studio projects so right now I am just going over what I want to focus my energy on but I can promise you next time we chat I’ll have lots of really juicy news to tell you!

Video: Boy George on Loose Women 8th Oct 2010

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