The George De Angelis Interview

Following stints as a musician in, both Stock, Aitken & Waterman and, Trevor Horn’s in-house teams, the talented Athens-born producer was headhunted to produce Kim’s first solo album and bring the songs she wrote with Mel to fruition.  The result was the strong and magical, award winning album 'Kim Appleby'.  An album which, not only honored Mel's memory but also,  presented Kim to the world as a solo artist in her own right.  

Here George reminisces about the project and explains why he rates producing the album with Kim as one of the ‘highlights’ of his career

George, your name is synonymous with the brilliant 'Kim Appleby' album and your C.V. as a producer is extensive but, prior to this, you were part of the in-house team of musicians at PWL...

 

Yeah.  I started my career as a touring and session musician and had just come off touring with Nina Hagen in 1988 when I was booked by Stock, Aitken & Waterman to play keyboards on a track for Kylie Minogue’s first album.  I think it was either ‘Locomotion’ or ‘Je Ne Sais Pas Pourquoi’, anyway I ended up playing on the rest of that album and then Pete Waterman asked if I would like to join their in-house team of musicians and I played on many of their big hits.

 

How was it to work with Stock, Aitken & Waterman at such a successful time?

 

I had a great time at PWL and I picked up a lot of the tricks of the trade working with the guys.  I enjoyed it a lot.  Most of the time I would be in the studio putting some music together with the engineer Yoyo, according to what Mike and Matt were describing, whilst they worked on something else as they were so busy.  It really was a bit of a ‘hit factory’, I’d describe it almost like a conveyor belt.  It was full on! (laughs). 

 

And then you moved on and continued your success with EMI before branching out on your own.

 

Yeah, I stayed at PWL for a couple of years but left in 1990 to join Trevor Horn’s in-house team at EMI.  Me leaving PWL and the guys was a little badly received so unfortunately I didn’t leave on fantastically good terms and I never kept in contact, although I would very much have liked to do so.  Anyway, I joined Trevor and I was working with artists such as Rod Stewart and Pet Shop Boys, and then I left that team to became a producer of my own and I created my own production company, though I did actually rejoin Trevor's team for a second stint a few years later.  My career has been a bit like a ping pong ball (laughs)!

 

Your career has been as musically varied as it has been successful and you have produced some amazing work over the years.  Looking back, what are your career highlights?

 

Oh, that's a difficult one because I really enjoyed everything I did and I did everything as if it was the last thing I was gonna do, do you know what I mean?  Over the years I have produced so many different genres of music, from heavy metal and punk to pop and dance and it has been a pretty crazy career but I enjoyed everything and I love music regardless of its style.  Working with Kim was definitely a highlight for me though.  I have very fond memories of making that record and it was one of the first records that I did for myself as a producer.

Wow! What a great start.  Do you recall who approached you about working on the 'Kim Appleby' album project and had you met Mel or Kim previously?

 

At that time I hadn't met either Mel or Kim, and sadly I never met Mel, but they had left Supreme and had signed to EMI, with Clive Black A&Ring.  I had worked with Clive on lots of things in the past and he wanted me to work on what was gonna be 'the new Mel & Kim album'.  I guess Clive’s plan was to continue the PWL sound with the girls and he thought that I knew the tricks or whatever (laughs), but I believed that Mel and Kim, as artists, would be looking onto new horizons and new sounds rather than rehashing old stuff and I didn't want to get caught up in a situation!

So you originally turned the project down?

 

Yeah!  I believed that, if the girls had left Supreme, it would probably have been because they wanted to do new things.  I was still with Trevor's team at the time but Clive kept mentioning it and asking me to make the record.  Then, finally, he offered me the opportunity to produce the album and move my career forward as a producer rather than continuing as part of an in-house team.  By that time Mel had unfortunately passed away so the offer was to produce a solo album for Kim.  I took the opportunity and left Trevor’s team to start my own career as a producer and Kim’s record was the first I produced.  Hence why doing the record with Kim has lots of fond memories for me.  I enjoyed it immensely and loved working with Kim.  It was great! 

 

Where did you and Kim first meet?

 

You know, I’ve got this vision of being in her house... Clive put us together and Kim and I really hit it off artistically and as humans almost immediately.  Kim is such a lovely person and I remember thinking to myself ‘hey, this sounds like it is gonna be great fun’!  We got together and chatted about our musical inspirations, what we liked and what we didn't like and we found we had many shared musical tastes.  I liked Kim immediately, she was excellent because, how can I put it?  First of all Kim is a very warm person.  I mean, you see that in her interviews and stuff like that and, as a person, she was very genuine, she was very warm and she’s said it as it is!  I remember thinking she had an amazing aura, she was gorgeous and she had a really nice voice. 

Prior to you guys meeting, Kim had already written many of the songs for the album with Mel.  Who decided which of the songs were selected?

 

Primarily the decision was Kim’s as to what songs we used but we all put our say in there you know.  It was a collaboration.  We took our time and worked the process together.  Kim played us a bunch of songs and we all said, 'oh that’s a good one' and 'that’s a good one' and we didn’t go into the Metropolis studio until we had a good lot of the main plot designed in pre-production and it was already sounding like a cohesive album.

 

So the demos Kim presented to you were pretty complete?

 

One or two of the songs were completely finished [in demo form], though many were unfinished.  They varied from almost there to just the beginnings of ideas and so we worked together on them.  I know that a lot of the songs were co-written with Mel but I am not quite sure how advanced their demos together were.  Craig [Logan] had been involved in some of the song writing with the girls and he had helped Kim to record some of the demos so I kind of worked with what was presented to me at the time.   Although the final album has ten tracks, I actually remember that we started pre-production on twelve or thirteen of Kim’s demos, or at least touched on them, you know? 

Did you ever consider using some of the demo vocal recordings Kim had made with Mel on any of the album tracks?

 

You mean producing the tracks using Mel’s pre-recorded vocals as well?  To be honest that choice would have been completely with Kim.  It was such a sensitive area and I wouldn’t have been involved in a decision like that, I wouldn’t have gone there, but I’m sure if Kim wanted to do something like that she would have told me.  We worked really closely together and, hopefully, she knew that I respected her a lot and I would have bent over backwards to try and bring out what she wanted.

You mentioned that many of the musical plots were already designed in pre-production before you went in to the studio.  Did you approach the recording of the album track by track?

 

No.  We were actually working on the whole album at the same time so, although we had a plan, we didn’t walk into the studio everyday knowing which song we were gonna pull up.  It depended on when we felt inspired and if we had gotten stuck on a particular track.  Let’s say we were working on ‘Mama’ and we were feeling a bit stuck.  I would say 'OK, take ‘Mama’ down, let’s put ‘Hey You’ up' or whatever, you know?  Or Kim would come in and say she would like to try something.  Obviously it’s not as loose a process as it sounds as we had spent about three months in pre-production plotting the songs, but that is the great thing of working on a whole album simultaneously.  There is a lot to work on so you are not stuck there kind of becoming constipated by the effort to do whatever it takes to finish off just one track.  It was a creative process.

During the album production was there a moment where you realised how successful the album was going to be?

 

It’s difficult to say.  I knew that we were making a good record and I knew we were making the record around Kim and that is always important to me.  My pride and joy with all the artists I worked with was that I didn’t try to fit the artist into the record that I wanted to make.  I made the record around the artist, if you know what I mean?  I love trying to discover what they love and discovering their strengths.  In those days making records was very different and nowadays it is almost like people are afraid to have character in music.  I guess that is why I am not as active in music at the moment.  I have, kind of, taken a retirement ‘cause I stopped enjoying it.  To me, music is a very communal thing.  It’s best when musicians interact with other musicians, you know, when there is a bunch of people in the studio kind of creating something together.  Nowadays it seems to be a guy and a computer battling it out (laughs).  I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that process, I have done that plenty of times myself, but I don’t enjoy that way of producing.  These days I still get involved in record making but not so full on like I used to be.

 

Do you recall the last time you listened to the ‘Kim Appleby’ album?

 

I actually did have to listen back to the whole album [before this interview] just to refresh my memory and it brought back so many memories.  I really loved working on that album.  I remember that with ‘Don’t Worry’, even quite late into production, we didn’t have an intro [or an idea of] how we were gonna start the song.  I mean, how do you start a song like that?  Anyway, I remember we were in my studio and I starting playing the keyboard very slow and I said to Kim ‘imagine you are Julie Andrews on the hills singing “the hills are alive” (laughs), try to sing it in that way’ (laughs).  We really had great fun with it!

 

 

Ha ha, Kim as Julie Andrews, that is an amazing image!

 

(Laughs) yeah, it was great and we were laughing a lot.  I also remember the little piano solo towards the end of the track came from just fooling around and jamming together in the studio.  Kim’s daughter Sharna was there at the time and I was clowning around and playing the piano on top of the track and Pete Schweir, who co produced the album with me, happened to record it so we kept it in.  Don’t forget that this was a time where we didn’t have auto-tune or any of that crap, you know?  The only way to get a fantastic vocal out of your singer, as a producer, is to inspire them and to work with them to bring the song to a place where they rule over it.  Where they are the sunshine of the song. Listening to the album after all these years really brought back so many memories.

It sounds like the recording of the album was a very organic process?

 

Yeah, absolutely!  We often just sat jamming around whilst listening to music and experimenting and a lot of it actually came out of just trying things in the studio.  I had a lot of shared musical tastes with Kim and you can hear some of those influences in the rest of the songs, which progressed her sound further than the Stock, Aitken & Waterman sound we used on ‘Don’t Worry’.  You can definitely hear moments like Tamla Motown and Michael Jackson influences on certain tracks like ‘I’ll Be There’ and that’s because it was music we both loved and we had a great time doing all that. 

Was there already a specific sound agreed for the album before production began?

 

Well we had a vague idea of what we were gonna do sound-wise but it really developed and grew through the process of recording the album and jamming in the studio together.  That said, we were already certain that ‘Don’t Worry’ was going to be the first single and we also knew that we needed to try to carry on that excellent Stock, Aitken & Waterman sound, with a little bit of progression and then slowly, throughout the rest of the album, begin to move Kim’s sound on.

 

You obviously got on very well with Kim.  Was there anything that surprised you about her during production?

 

The one thing that surprised me when I started working with Kim was that she had… Kim was an excellent singer but somehow people had convinced her that she was just an OK singer and I thought that was really wrong!  I thought Kim had some great shades in her voice but she was very kind of.. sometimes she was hesitant.  You’ve got to understand that at that stage in her life, Kim was in uncharted territory as a human, let alone as an artist you know, as a person, so she was hesitant at times.  I’m not sure if it was just because Mel wasn’t there and I’m not sure what other people around Kim would say but I knew that she was a much better singer than she thought she was.  I mean she really is a very talented singer!

Absolutely! Kim herself has often said that she viewed Mel as ‘the singer’ in ‘Mel & Kim’ and that this belief may have been shared by others at the time.  How was Kim’s confidence during recordings?

 

Well, Mel was also a fantastic singer.  From the things I was told by Mike [Stock] and Matt [Aitken], Mel was undoubtedly an excellent singer but what I am trying to say is that I don’t think Kim was the secondary singer.  I thought that Kim had an excellent voice.  I tried to sort off push her a little bit out of her safety barrier and to try new things and you can hear that in the tracks that we did.  I was just listening to some of the things we were doing, for instance: towards the end of ‘Downtown Clown’, Kim really was exploring new things vocally which was great.  I remember Kim telling me that I had brought out a lot of confidence in her and that, through the recording of the album, she actually believed that she grew a lot as a singer.  You can hear how she grows from one song to another.  

There are some amazing songs on the ‘Kim Appleby’ album.  Do you have a favorite track?

 

Well that’s a rather difficult question.  I like different ones for different reasons.  As I said, listening to the songs now, I think ‘wow’!  Excuse the big-headedness but for that time the album has some fantastic innovations on it.  When I saw the song ‘What Did I Do Wrong’ I couldn’t even remember working on it.  I thought, did we do that song? (laughs) and then as soon as I listened to it, I remembered it.  For me, ‘Don’t Worry’ is definitely a favorite and ‘I’ll Be There’ is definitely a big favorite and I like ‘Mama' as well.  There are quite a few of them, you know?  I definitely do not have just one favorite but I would say ‘I’ll Be There’, ‘Don’t Worry’, ‘Mama’ … they are all up there for me.

Where there any songs that you were unsure of during production?

 

‘Dodgy People’ was a funny one ‘cause nobody got that song.  I mean Clive didn’t get it, my musical partner Pete didn’t get it and I didn’t get it but Kim loved that song.  I’m happy to say that I did get it eventually though (laughs), ‘cause to look at it, you have to look at the whole ‘shebang’, you know. Kim… she is an East End girl, yeah?  She is a Cockney and she was singing from her experiences!  When I listen to ‘Dodgy People’ now, I love all those weird keyboard we used, I really think there are some cool sounds there and I like the weirdness of them! 

Were there any later additions to the album?

 

We got to a point pretty quickly where all the tracks were in various stages of production but I seem to remember that ‘If You Cared’ came later, though I could be completely wrong.  I actually had the brass line for the track first.  I was probably watching Hawaii Five-0 at the time, I don’t know. (laughs)  Anyway, I suggested we build something around it so Kim added more lyrics inspired by that brass line.

 

There are certainly some great sounds on that album and you guys appear to have adopted a pretty innovative approach on the tracks…

 

Yes, I mean, on the last track on the album, ‘Teach Me’, the bass drum is actually me.  I remember talking to Pete, the engineer, and I was saying, look I want a bass drum but I don’t want a bass drum that is hard, I want one that sounds soft and I was making the sound to show what I meant.  Pete turned around and said to me, 'go on, do it on the microphone and we will just sample you', and so the bass on that song is actually me. (laughs)  That shows the fun and the innovation or whatever you wanna call it.

 

We heard that there had been some consideration given to calling the album ‘G.L.A.D.’.  Is that true and what are your memories of recording that track?

 

Oh I don’t actually remember ‘G.L.A.D.’ ever being a contender for the title of the album but it is obvious that it touches on the ‘F.L.M.’ vibe!  I remember we had great fun making ‘G.L.A.D.’ though.  Kim is very innovative herself and she had a lot of innovative ideas, like adding a rap to that track.  That was Kim’s idea.  When we were working in the studio at Metropolis, we all used to get together in the evening and have our dinner and then watch something on the television and so we were watching Top Of The Pops or whatever and Kim said ‘oh wouldn’t it be great if we have a rapper in’.  I can’t remember how she thought of Brinsley [Forde from Aswad] but she suggested it, we tried it and it was fantastic.

You obviously have many fond memories of that time.

Yes,  I have the fondest memories, we had great fun throughout the whole production.  I remember we were recording on my daughter’s birthday (June 20th) and so we celebrated together in the cafe at Metropolis with Kim and her daughter Sharna.  The entire thing was fantastic, it was great you know, as I say we were doing it in my own studio we were jamming around and having fun.  It was a great time and the whole thing was a treat for me.  I was finally making a record for myself as a producer rather than being a part of somebody’s team.  I was working with an artist that I had a lot of respect for and I really enjoyed working with and I was working on music that I liked, so everything was great.

 

Was there any pressure from EMI to complete work on the album quickly?

 

No, I remember them as being quite easy-going.  EMI’s message was simple - you’ve got this much money to give us a successful record… message received (laughs)!  We didn’t feel we were ever going beyond budget or beyond time so whatever we had agreed at the start we stuck to.  The thing was that, with both Kim and myself having worked with Stock, Aitken & Waterman, we had learned a lot.  The great thing you watched and learned coming out of that stable was that you learned to avoid the bullshit, you know?  The PWL vibe was that you don’t get lost up your own backside’s art, if you know what I mean (laughs).  You know you are making good pop music and you get on with it rather than thinking you are redesigning the Louvre or whatever (laughs).

 

You already mentioned that you guys knew that ‘Don’t Worry’ was going to be the first single to herald the forthcoming album.  How soon into production was ‘Don’t Worry’ chosen as the lead?

 

When I first met Kim it had already been decided that ‘Don’t Worry’ was gonna be the first single.  The record company had heard Kim’s original demos and felt it was the right choice and EMI wanted it to have that Stock, Aitken & Waterman sound but from speaking with Kim, I understood that she wanted to move on from that.  It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with that sound, Stock, Aitken & Waterman made some fantastic records and I’m extremely proud of the time I spent with them and of my little contribution to their work but, as an artist, you always want to develop and move on.  I talked with Kim and we thought, OK - we will do a kind of quasi-PWL treatment for ‘Don’t Worry’ and then see how we move on from there.  Kim obviously liked that sound anyway and I assumed that’s what she liked in me and why she had wanted to collaborate with me on the album.

 

Did you share EMI’s belief in ‘Don’t Worry’ becoming the project’s lead single?

 

I don't want to sound too sort of calculated in what I am going to say but with the title ‘Don’t Worry’ and with the opening lyrics and the content it kind of said it all about how Kim’s career was gonna be launched because Kim had gone through a very big trauma and a very difficult time of her life.  Life had dealt her a really bad card… really bad - and yet the great thing was that, if you met Kim, she is a very genuine person, there are no pretensions, you know?  A lot of artists kind of put the uniform on to go on stage, Kim is not like that at all.  She is a very genuine person so all that [in the lyrics] was actually her, how she had come through the other side of the tunnel of that ordeal.  I mean I’m speaking with a little bit of difficulty about it ‘cause I remember it made a big impact on me.  I was very close with my brother as well.  We lived together and toured together as musicians and we were extremely close, as I believe Kim was with Mel... and being so close with my brother, I always thought, my God, how do you get through something like that?  Unfortunately I found out in 2006 how you go through this ‘cause my brother died from cancer so, yeah... so that’s why I am a little bit... when I speak about it.

Clive Black told us, “'Don’t Worry' would not have worked without George’s brilliant work!” and the song has certainly stood the test of time.  Can you tell us about your input on that song?

 

When Kim played me the demo of ‘Don’t Worry’ it wasn’t completely finished and we needed to work a few things out, hence that’s the reason why I am also in the writing team for that one.  To be absolutely fair my role was only some additional writing on that particular song so, kind off, tidying up loose ends, if you know what I mean?  I respected Kim as an artist and I knew we would make it sound great and Clive trusted that Kim and myself would do it fantastic justice.  As I said, it wasn’t finished but what was there was enough to decide, you know?  Big neon lights saying ‘hey, I’m the first single and I’m gonna be successful’!

 

'Don't Worry' is brilliant and it succeeded in taking the sound Kim was known for from the ‘Mel & Kim’ days and layering it with a timelessly sophisticated quality.

 

Well that’s really kind of you, I’m really happy that you are describing it in that way.  For me the biggest compliment paid to that particular single was actually from Pete Waterman who said that ‘Don’t Worry’ was ‘the best PWL record PWL never made.

‘Don’t Worry’ was a huge hit in many territories and only narrowly missed out on the UK #1 spot.  Was there any disappointment that it didn’t reach the top spot in Britain?

 

You know something… I remember we were stuck at number two for God knows how long and I don’t remember what was number one but it was something that stayed there forever and ever and we just couldn’t get there.  I’m trying to remember what was the number one at the time.  It was one of those singles that, at the time, broke the record for the weeks at number one.  It stayed there for a long time and kept us off being number one.  That’s how I remember it and unfortunately it kept us off but it was still… we really enjoyed it.  ‘Don’t Worry’ was a great way of kicking off Kim’s solo career.  

['Don’t Worry' was held off the UK #1 spot by ‘Unchained Melody’ - The Righteous Brothers, which spent 14 weeks in the UK charts and 4 weeks at #1]

Did the success of 'Don't Worry' create any pressure to finish the album ready for release?

 

No, we had finished the whole album before ‘Don’t Worry’ was released.  It wasn’t like we finished the single then we released it, waited to see how it did then went to finish the rest of the album.  It was all done in one go. I think it was roughly around six months from the very first time where we sat down and played some music to the point where I think we had the final album mix done.

 

As well as writing and producing the album with Kim, we hear that you also accompanied her on some of the album promotion?

 

Yes, we did a few things together to promote the album, which shows how much I enjoyed working with Kim because, and I am saying this humbly, at the end of the day I was a record producer and it was a very successful time of my life as well.  Not a lot of producers would be trekking it around to radio stations and things like that, you know, but I used to love it.  I’d say to Kim, yeah, I’ll be your piano player, great (laughs)!  I remember we did some radio interviews together and some performances where Kim decided that she wanted to perform the tracks live.  Now that shows how Kim’s confidence was growing ‘cause we were in a time when everybody went out there and mimed but we worked so well together and Kim insisted on doing these things live.  We did acoustic versions with just me on the piano and Kim singing for a couple of radio stations and we also performed at a big EMI thing where all the big record company guys come together.  Kim asked me if I would accompany her on the piano and do a live acoustic performance of ‘I’ll Be There’ and she was amazing!  She was just amazing and she mesmerized everybody there.

Wow!  That sounds incredible!  As well as demonstrating an evolution of Kim’s sound, the album also signaled a few changes of image for her.  Were you aware of this?

 

Just as Kim’s confidence grew, her image developed also and you can see the image change throughout the project.  I mean, look at the album cover image [shot by Cindy Palmano] with the spiky, punky hair, but then by the time we were doing ‘I’ll Be There’, I remember she had this long flowing hair.  I remember one time in particular where she was singing at the piano with me, we were in the countryside somewhere but I can’t remember where, anyway, I remember looking at her and thinking, wow, she is absolutely, totally gorgeous! (laughs)  I was in awe, she just looked amazing!

After what sounds like such a joyful and obviously successful experience working on the ‘Kim Appleby' album, why didn’t you work together again on Kim’s Second Album ‘Breakaway’?

[By the time of the second album] Clive had left EMI and gone to Warners and Nick Gatfield, who was a lovely guy to work with, was now in charge of Kim’s A&R.  Nick wanted me and Pete Schweir to work with Kim again and for us to carry on the success of the first album but things seemed different and there were a few problems and a bit of a fall out at some point between managers.  On the 'Kim Appleby' album I shared co-production credits with Pete Schweir and after the making and release of that album there had been some questions over ownership.  Unfortunately that cast a bit of a cloud and I decided that I didn’t want to have a co-production relationship with Pete anymore and so I split from the partnership and... things were not great.  Trevor Horn told me once that, outside of his own record label, he very rarely made a second album with anyone because he didn’t want to run the risk of being compared to what he had done on the first album. You see, with the second album comes a lot of pressure (laughs).  Unfortunately success also brings expectations and obviously the first album was very successful.  ‘Don’t Worry’ was perhaps a little bit disproportionately more successful than the rest of the singles but, as far as we were concerned, the album succeeded in introducing Kim to the world as a solo artist and I thought that it was a fantastic pedestal to progress from.

Although you were not involved with the second album you did write with Kim on the title track -  ‘Breakaway’.

Yeah, I had written ‘Breakaway’ and I brought it to Kim originally as I wanted to invite her to write on it.  It wasn’t a full song yet but it was a good idea for where the song was going.  Melodically it was there and Kim absolutely loved it and she then went away and wrote the bits that were missing, which was pretty much most of the lyrics.  Kim's lyrics where fantastic, I loved them!  The song actually came out of our shared love for Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and you can actually hear both of those influences in there, or at least you could on my original version, but the final mix is not mine and it’s not one I actually liked.  I never approved it as in my opinion, which is obviously biased (laughs) since I was the original instigator of the song and the original producer, it was much better as it was. 

Really?  What other differences are there from your original version of ‘Breakaway’ to the released version?

 

The original version wasn’t the classic pop, four on the floor sound. [a rhythm pattern in which the bass drum is hit on every beat].   It actually had a swing beat like Michael Jackson’s ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’.  I mean, listen to the lyrics from the part, “in a way, in a way, in a way I just know I’m gonna be alright!”  I could just imagine Michael Jackson singing that and it was a tribute as this was music that Kim and I both loved.  Also, something I used to like to do on a lot of my records at the time,  almost like a sort of trademark, was to introduce another little hook line just as the song is dying out.  So originally, just before ‘Breakaway’ started to fade, you would hear the “na na na na na” vocal sub plot.  It was just at the end of the song but it turned into a bit of a nightmare for me.  Suddenly I was played this remix where the “na na na na na” had been moved to the beginning of the song and for me it didn’t do it!  It was that pressure of trying to follow the trend, you know, and it was a pity because ‘Breakaway’ was one of my very favorite songs.  I actually thought that the original version we made was really good, it was like a completely different record to the one that was released. 

And then Kim's follow up album, also titled 'Breakaway', followed...

I didn’t hear much of the rest of the second album.  I gotta admit I was sulking and very angry (laughs).  I don’t want to be critical but when I heard some things after ‘Breakaway’, the one thing for me that had changed was that I heard records where people tried to fit Kim into the song.  Kim wasn’t the special thing in the track anymore - she wasn’t the sunshine on the song.  She was part of the record rather than the record being her springboard, if you know what I mean?  That’s my opinion right or wrong and that kind of started with ‘Breakaway’ [the song].  For me that was the start of producers trying to fit Kim into what other people were doing rather than working the songs around her and, for me, it didn’t do it!   I could be wrong but that’s my opinion.  Obviously Kim was put under a lot of pressure and that was the problem.  As I said, success brings pressure and a successful first album is not always a blessing.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should have an unsuccessful first album but the success brings a lot of trouble for the second album. 

The ‘Kim Appleby’ album is truly magical.  For us fans it was great to have Kim come back with such a strong album after Mel’s passing.

 

Wow, I'm glad!  Thank you, you are very kind.  You know, you can’t imagine how fulfilling it is to hear that people feel the album was 'magical'.  That’s how I feel about it and I’m sure that’s how Kim must feel also.  Kim was the artist and we all worked together as a team to create the right pedestal for her to shine on.  Kim had star quality as far as I’m concerned, and you can hear it on there.  You can hear Kim's cheeky Cockney background in ‘Dodgy People’, you can hear her softness and her warmth in ‘I’ll Be There’.  You can hear her optimism in ‘Don’t Worry’, you can her her funkiness in ‘Hey You’ and you can also hear those Motown and Stevie Wonder influences through it.   I do think there was something special about that album. 

 

The combination of you and Kim was incredibly rich creatively.  Could you see yourself making more music with Kim in the future?

 

Whether we would make music together again... who knows?  But I would love to meet Kim and have a drink.  She is such a lovely person and I’ve got the fondest memories of working with her.  Kim is one of the very, very, very few genuine people in this business.  There’s a lot of bullshitters in the music business you know, there’s a lot of ‘Dodgy People’ as Kim described them (laughs), but she is one of the few genuine ones.

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