Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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John Reid: Reid Aloud

John Reid
John Reid John Reid John Reid John Reid

“It was completely satisfying. If I don't make another record I would be happy because I got that one and that's the truth. I mean, hopefully, there's a continuation (of music) here but doing this album was like scratching a twenty-year itch” singer-songwriter John Reid says of his new project, “ Nightcrawlers Soul Sessions”.

Best known for his work with Nightcrawlers in the mid-nineties with tracks like “Let's Push it, “Surrender Your Love” and the massive house anthem, “Push The Feeling On”, Reid's soulful vocal style and talent for simple, catchy beat-driven hooks helped him create a unique sound that has made a lasting impression on dance music. Today, Nightcrawlers music continues to evoke nostalgia on dance floors of clubs worldwide. Since his breakthrough, however, John has also cultivated a successful career as a songwriter. With writing credits for greats including Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, pop powerhouse Kelly Clarkson and boy band Westlife on his resume, the diversion of his career trajectory was clearly the right move. However, John, a consummate singer in his own right, had longed to showcase his own vocal range and ability. With the release of “Nightcrawlers Soul Sessions”, that dream has finally been realised. Working alongside producers, Michael J McEvoy and Ernie McKone and with the help of manager, Paul Kennedy, Reid's self-confessed “labour of love” is at last complete. Influenced by legends like Michael Jackson, George Benson and Marvin Gaye, John's new work is a sensitive and authentic homage to classic soul music.

“I would perform in clubs and the DJ's would say to me “man, why don't we hear you singing?” John continues, “They would be very complimentary about my voice and I would say “it is the way it is”. In our business, if you get many opportunities, it really is a blessing because it's such a tough business. I was happy to be making records and writing songs but artistically I would never have been happy until I made the soul record. Producer the record, Mike McEvoy, kept telling me to make a soul record because if I didn't it would be a real shame. People know me more for “Push The Feeling On” and the dance stuff which isn't really a fair reflection of me as a vocalist if you like. This album gave me a chance to sing and get those soul songs out that have been inside me for so long”.

The idea that with this new album, fans will have a chance to sing along to his lyrics and experience his music in a new way stirs a moving response from Reid. “I'm an emotional guy” he shares. “I have written a lot of (emotional songs). It means a lot for you to say, “I listened to your songs, John, I know the words” I haven't had that kind of love over the years. I haven't heard anybody say “I know the words”.

On the creative process behind the album Reid adds “With these kinds of records, you have to give it one 100% and dedicate yourself. Those songs on that album, hopefully, people will see there's a craft in there and they weren't just written in five minutes because I'm a proper songwriter. We went into the studio with Ernie McKone and Mike Evoy and we started writing it. It took awhile but we got there. Giving some insight into his latest single “All Night Long” John adds “as a songwriter, you have to do what is lyrically appropriate and relevant to the artists (you're working with) so it was nice to take the chains off. I'm a real George Benson, Luther (Vandross fan)…I love the love songs. The song is pure love. Nothing too deep and meaningful if you like, it just had ‘heart’. So “All Night Long” is about two people - if they let their guard down and their feelings show, it's going to be a fantastic night! (laughs)

While his new material exhibits John's vocal prowess and gift for soulful musical arrangements, his dance music roots have not been completely abandoned. With two new mixes of his classic “Push The Feeling On”, John happily embraces his past. On revisiting the track Reid reveals “it was nice to do an interpretation that was in keeping with the shape of the record. The Big Narstie (collaboration) was a separate thing we did and we thought “wouldn't it be cool to put it on the album”. It was just another angle to the whole project. That song started its life as a soul record but the one everybody knows is MK's remix but I'm a soul guy so this brings me back to what I think and hopefully, other people think I do best”.

“The whole thing is a blur. I don't think I was quite prepared for what happened. I think that happens to a lot of artists where you go from being an anonymous person in the street to being this person who everybody knows” Reid admits recalling the sudden explosion of success that surrounded the album “Let's Push it” in 1995. The modest Scotsman continues “The funniest thing was the surreal moments that happened like I'd walk into a Subway shop and “Push The Feeling On” is playing and I'm standing there while the guy's making my sandwich and inside I'm dying to say “that's me singing!” I know if I say anything he'll just laugh at me and have me removed from the premises (laughs). There's (also) a bunch of stories that you probably couldn't print!... I drive a little Volkswagen Golf that's ten years old. I was driving in London and I pulled up to a set of traffic lights and “Push The Feeling On” was banging in the car next to me. The car was full of girls and they were looking at me like “what are you looking at?” I thought “if only you knew that you're dancing to my record”.

In the years that followed John continued to create “surreal moments” in the recording studio through his work as a songwriter. On working behind the scenes, the hit-maker says “I got an opportunity to write for Tina Turner and Rod Stewart shortly after Nightcrawlers. I had a second album to make (for Nightcrawlers) and to be honest I don't know what happened. I was kind of naive and it never came to fruition. At the same time, I was working in a studio in Kingston, Surrey where some big projects (were being recorded). The guy running the show there (asked if I could write some songs)…it was a natural progression for me.

The album "Nightcrawlers Soul Sessions" and single "All Night long" are both out now on download through Rosina Records.

Reserve your copy of the CD, out Sept 14th, hit Nightcrawlers Soul Sessions

You can read more from our exclusive interview with ex-Nightcrawlers frontman/exceptional soul vocalist John Reid, including his thoughts on making his genre changing new album "Nightcrawlers Soul Sessions" and early memories of when his career really took off... all in the current issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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Words Karen Lawler

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