Quincy, the Dude.

Ok you all I know through my career I have been fortunate enough to mix with many a pop star and Hollywood mega star.

Some I’ve just rubbed shoulders with, others spent time chatting and some worked with. But there was a different vibe and flow of electricity in the air last night when I went to the Royal College of Music to see the man that is Quincy Jones.

The flow was not like all the others. It was a much more calm air, almost comforting. 

I was standing outside talking to Rocco the mastermind and instigator behind the event when Quincy turned up in his car.

After Rocco greeted him and then introduced me too the first thing he said to me was "are you Italian”? And I said, "no I am Greek", then he surprised me with some welcoming choice Greek phrases he had obviously picked up along his many journeys. 

AsI shook his hand I couldn’t help but think of the greatness that had passed through it. In the music he conducted with that hand, the instruments he played, the mixing desks he touched, the pen he composed with, the other icons he shook hands with all passed through my skin at that moment.

It was a second but it felt like a lifetime as I never thought I would have ever done it.

Once inside the venue and after getting over my jitters as the memory of coming to the college to take my piano exams passed, 

(urgh) we quickly settled in.

The intimate theatre was perfect for this occasion, its like we were all in one big living room together.

The acts performing including Susan Black, Sulene Fleming, Mica Paris,Beverley Knight and Jocelyn Brown to name a

few gave stellar performances. Proud to know and have worked with them all.

After a few fumbles with the microphone and going over to a hand held the interview was on the way.

Paul Gambaccini being a great fan himself new his stuff and probed Quincy ever so gently. 

I have to say Quincy was very charming, cool and collective. But what struck me most about this man,

was his boyish excitement towards new acts and the music industry in general. Ok he mentioned that

92% of music downloaded is pirated in the states but he was enthused and promised us the music industry

will come back 3 times bigger than it ever was.

He is very eager to help and cultivate new talent. “Kids need to know where they are from if they

are to get where they’re going” I was chuffed to hear Quincy talk about “Dirty Loops” and

advocating the talent of Jacob Collier, these are the guys I have been screaming about on my page for years.

This guy has certainly got his ear to the ground.

He spoke about the technology making music and mixes in the studio. “The machines are great if you are musical,

you make the machines work for you, otherwise the machines will work you”  Quincy gave some good wise worldly advice too.

He said  “ there are no problems, because problems cause us too much stress, I tend look at problems as puzzles

to be solved, that way I don’t get stressed out.”

He also said if you got a great song you got a hit, if you have a bad song you can take 3 of the world’s best singers to sing it and they wont be able to make it good, but take a great song and a bad singer and you could have a hit”. Then he sang “Take a look at me now”.Referencing Phil Collins and “Against All Odds” LOL.

My only complaint would have to be that Paul never pressed Quincy about Michael Jackson.

In my experience, when you work closely in the studio with someone for years, its like a marriage, a partnership and

a different type of bond that only producers have with their artists. All your defences are down

when you are being creative,you have to do that otherwise the flow won’t happen. So I needed to hear from the man himself,

how wonderful Michael really was, what made him tick, some anecdotes etc. But unfortunately they never came.

So the night ended with a standing ovation, Quincy was so overwhelmed that we were leaving the auditorium before him while

he was still standing onstage chatting with people.

Once I had touched greatness in Quincy I had to have a chat with one of my other icons.  As a producer,I needed

to be in the presence of Quincy. But as a Songwriter, I had to touch base with none other than Rod Temperton.

I have met Rod before at some songwriter awards but they were 

passing and fleeting chats. The man has an amazing gift, we have to

thank him for most of the Thriller album and the Heatwave hits like “Always 

and Forever” and lets not forget "Boogie Nights” and many many more.

Lets face it, in his mansion he has run out of wall space as the décor is gold, platinum, and double platinum presentation discs.

I share something with Rod and that is I played with Heatwave with

Keith Wilder at the helm when Billy left playing most of Rod’s parts. Thats where I met

my good friend Bilbo Berger the drummer of heatwave who was responsible for the influence behind that amazing intro in Boogie Nights. 

We chatted for a while with Rod and was good to finally shoot the breeze. In my books he is what

I have always aspired to be like. When I was playing and touring with Culture Club I met a great bass player in LA who said to me, “I went to meet Rod Temperton and expected some cool black dude, the guy who wrote all those great soulful amazing songs,

full of groove and sweet harmonic pleasure, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw they came from a guy

up north whose name is Rod who looks like a farmer.” LOL.  You're a legend Rod, no doubt.

Thank you and well done Rocco and Anca who against all odds and some tough time constraints pulled it all together.

Thank you for the music Rod,and thank you Quincy for putting the

puzzle together.