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Simon Webbe
After selling over 9.5 million albums as part of successful British group Blue, 26-year-old Simon Webbe is all set to make his solo debut. He calls his new sound ‘urban folk’, “a mixture of soulful vocals, urban beats and acoustic guitars”, and if the first single is anything to go by, we’ve got a winner on our hands.

The Record speaks exclusively to the charming singer about singing, acting, ditching the boy band image, and his rather sober memories of India.

The Record: Tell us about the new album.
Simon: It’s called Sanctuary and I’ve written 90 per cent of it. I didn’t want to do the whole hip-hop, R&B thing because I’ve done it before with Blue. My album is a cross between – if you like [the soulful first single] Lay Your Hands and [the groovy second single] No Worries, it’s a great indication of what half of the album sounds like. If you like Lenny Kravitz and Seal, that’s what the other half of the album has been compared to by writers. It’s the sensitive side of Simon Webbe.

TR: What was the biggest challenge while making this album?
Simon: I think what was a challenge was the fact that people thought I would come out and be like Usher or someone else like that. When I heard that’s what people were expecting, I decided not to do that. So actually writing an album like this was a challenge. It was something different. I’m versatile you know, I can do anything that I put my mind to and this was one of those things. I’m very proud of the album.

TR: You explore some interesting lyrical themes. Tell us more.
Simon: The lyrics are very strong – what I’m trying to say to people is ‘Don’t give up on love so easily’. Nowadays it’s so easy for people to walk out on their families and things like that. Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and especially in Asia, the woman is always the backbone of the relationship and she always stands by her man which I don’t really see happening in the western countries anymore. That’s why I have songs like After All This Time, which is about a strong lady who holds down a household, but has a husband who thinks he’s 17 when he’s really 60. They’re a couple who’ve been through thick and thin and back again, they still love each other, after all this time.
The song No Worries is about making life changing decisions and getting closer to the ideal life we all strive for. And A Little High is about a marriage that goes stale. It’s about rediscovering why you fell in love in the first place and getting that initial magic back.

TR: What is the feedback from the Blue fans about the album?
Simon: From what they’ve heard of it, they’ve been very supportive, especially here in the UK and around Europe. They’ve been saying how my music is fresh and… well they’ve been fans of Blue for the last five years and they’ve grown, they’re young ladies now. They feel like this music relates to them.

TR: The video for the song Lay Your Hands is interesting. Tell us more about it.
Simon: Basically the concept behind it is being uplifted. A load of fans came from all around the world, from Russia, Turkey, all over the place, to take part in this video. The whole concept is that I’m crowd surfing and the crowd won’t let me fall - lay your hands on me…

TR: Anything out of the ordinary happen while filming?
Simon: Yeah I kicked someone in the face apparently! It wasn’t very bad though. I was strapped in a harness and it was very uncomfortable but apart from that the whole day went really really well.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Simon Webbe in the November 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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