"Soul music is self-awareness for me".

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“Soul music for me is self-awareness and also pure joy – it gives you every chance as a black person to come into your own. After all, soul descends in direct succession from the blues. Schließlich stammt der Soul in direkter Folge vom Blues ab.

Andrew Roachford, from whom these words come, absolutely sees himself as a flawless “soul man”. It is. But that is not the whole truth. This can be heard above all in the eleven songs of his current solo album “The Beautiful Moment”: in addition to soul, blues and a not insignificant portion of rock, there are also gospel influences and Cajun moments and unite here to form an explosive mixture.

“I’m sure it has to do with my Caribbean family roots, which are coming through more and more in my own sound, albeit subconsciously,” Andrew analyzes. “Otherwise, I have always written the music that is closest to me at the moment. I don’t analyze my work, let others do that. If I did that, my songs would lose their credibility.”

“Credibility” was and is the key word for Andrew’s work. When he launched his band Roachford at the end of the 1980s and was able to achieve quite astonishing chart and sales successes right away with the debut album, it was clear to the now 48-year-old Londoner of West Indian descent that he would “never sing or write a note that doesn’t suit me, I’ve always stuck to that.” It goes without saying that he has adhered to this maxim throughout the many years of his – equally successful – solo career, which he continues to drive forward to this day.

Andrew Roachford is something of a quintessential musician; he was given his first piano lessons at the age of seven, and at 14 he went on tour with his uncle Bill, a renowned jazz saxophonist. “Jazz was my first great musical passion,” Andrew confesses, “I came across it through my uncle and my father, who is also a musician. It’s true that I no longer listen to jazz as obsessively as I did as a teenager. But it certainly plays a role in my current sound, albeit subconsciously.”

“The Beautiful Moment” has become an atmospheric album that relies heavily on the tremendous compositional power of Roachford and especially his inimitable voice. Is Andrew a melancholic person? “Not that I know of,” he laughs throatily. “Whereas I am definitely, when I’m not on a stage, a shy, brooding guy, I admit that. Otherwise, I had little desire to compose faster numbers in the five or six months that “The Beautiful Moment” was written. I didn’t feel like it. Plus, you have to know that the favorites of my great heroes Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye are almost universally ballads.”

Whereby “The Beautiful Moment” almost bursts with inner power and energy in all its quiet moments, you can’t escape these songs, you can’t even listen to them casually, that’s how focused they turned out. Andrew himself is convinced that there are “a lot of innovations to my previous records,” as he says. “I change even more stylistically each time, getting bolder, trusting my instincts. The more I rest within myself, the better I can project my identity to the outside world.”

Roachford’s identity on “The Beautiful Moment” is expressed preferentially in the quieter tones, with keyboards or guitar mainly providing the fuel for the melodies. Thus, right from the start of the album – the track “Real Again” – the listener falls into a magical world thanks to a pearly, driving piano harmony that pours into a beatific chorus. As anthemic as one has always known and loved from Andrew Roachford.

“Someting Beautiful” is a fervent homage to the divine moment of classic romantic love that can be lost in the very next moment. Here, too, the piano, along with strings, plays the decisive role; just as in “Overcome” or the yearning ballad “Because You”.

But also the guitar, preferably plucked acoustically, gives the one or other track the right atmosphere: On “Without You” it creates tingling campfire romance, “Love Wins” is pure passion thanks to the 6-string. “The Beautiful Moment” finally dismisses the blissful listener with the dreamy, rapturous “She Walks,” which will be emotionally consumed for a long time to come.

Roachford is aware that he has his musical past to thank for the fact that all of his current pieces are met with open ears right from the start: “I’m very proud of that,” he admits in no uncertain terms, “because my many years of success mean that I also sell a good number of copies of each new record, and my concerts continue to be filled to capacity. And if I serve people the old hits at the gigs, I can serve them my new stuff in return. Das ist garantiert nicht schlechter als mein Frühwerk!”

In addition to his solo career, Andrew has had a “side job” since 2010 – he is one of the two singers of Mike & Mechanics, longtime band project of Genesis co-founder Mike Rutherford. “It’s a totally relaxed job – especially because Mike is a totally relaxed person,” Andrew enthuses. “Also, I can be heavily involved in the musical direction of this formation, so I am not just there as a hired singer. The thing brings fun – and quite nice money. Still, Mike doesn’t expect me to put my solo career on the back burner. No one in the world would succeed in doing that, not even him. Because she is the most important thing in the world to me!”

Starting in the fall, Roachford will be firing up his solo career and his latest masterpiece “The Beautiful Moment” live: “I’ll be doing a lot of concerts with my band, which I’m already really excited about,” the Briton enthuses. “In my private life, I am a person who is rather relaxed. But on stage I mutate into a ramp sow. Immediately before a performance, I look into the audience and observe which people I will have in front of me that evening. These impressions strengthen me. And then I go out into the spotlight, hopefully put on a stunning show – and for two hours I’m the happiest person in the world.”

These are usually sweaty moments, for audience and artists alike.

© 2013 Big Lake Music



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