Roland Gift, charismatic front man of the Fine Young Cannibals, is returning to the pop arena with a new solo album, the self titled Roland Gift and he’ll be making a return to the city where he went to school when he plays the Welly Club on Saturday 2nd December. Gift’s career has expanded in recent years to include film acting and musical score work but this album marks a triumphant return to pop music’s front line, where Gift’s talents and unique style have long established him as one of the genre’s trailblazers. A great voice never goes out of style, and Gift’s trademark vocal prowess is both timeless and strikingly ahead of his time.
During the making of the new album, Gift (whose film resumé includes Sammy And Rosie Get Laid, Tin Men and Scandal) took time out to work on the latest entry in his other career, appearing in the forthcoming The Island of the Mapmaker¹s Wife, directed by Michie Gleason. Roland put recording on hold for two months, while on location in Amsterdam with the production and readily admits to aiming for a happy balancing act between the two disciplines.
“When I first started, I wanted to be an actor. That’s one of the reasons I came down to London from Hull. But most people I know have been in a group sometime in their life. The first punk band I was in [the Acrylic Victims] got a bit of notoriety, released a couple of singles,my music focus grew from there.”
Roland Gift was recorded at a variety of locations, from demo studios to front rooms to Mayfair Studios, with producers David Z and Ben Barson. The album is reminiscent of the sparse, classic appeal that typified Roland’s work with the Cannibals, a sophisticated blend of pop and soul with jazz and even gospel flavours, with Gift’s own new spin for the 21st Century.
“The Cannibals sort of officially dissolved in 1996 so, in a way, up until then we were trying to do our third record. Then we came out with The Finest, which was a greatest hits set plus three new tracks that didn’t have a home to go to, but, it’s better to burn brightly for half as long than to be a dim lingering light, and I get a lot of good will from people – they say they still play the albums and they’re looking forward to hear what I’m doing next. I was asked to join Jools Holland and his a big band as a guest singer touring with them for a year, it was a lot of fun and made me want to take my own group out to play”.
Gift looks forward to more live shows, where he will perform the new songs from Roland Gift and some classic fan favourites. “There are a lot of people who liked the Cannibals who never saw songs like She Drives Me Crazy in concert, and since I wrote them as well, I’ll definitely do some Fine Young Cannibals songs.”
“It’s a great feeling when you’ve got a big record and you go out on stage and thousands of people have come to hear you play for them. It’s like having a party and loads of people come because they want to have a party with you.”
“Right now as well as the live shows I’m working on a stage musical called Return To Vegas with Bob Carlton who created the show Return To The Forbidden Planet. I’m well pleased by the way the Return to Vegas songs have been received in the live set sitting nicely alongside the FYC classics”.
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