Friday, June 21, 2024

That Time Billy Ocean Worked With R. Kelly – Radioscope Reheat | LISTEN

Billy Ocean performs in Concord, Calif. circa 1985. Mark Downey Lucid Images/Corbis via Getty Images
Billy Ocean performs in Concord, Calif. circa 1985. Mark Downey Lucid Images/Corbis via Getty Images

*”Interesting” was the word used by Billy Ocean to describe his experience working with R. Kelly and other young producers on “Time to Move On,” his eighth studio album, and first since taking a four year break following the death of his mother from ovarian cancer.

The Trinidadian-British singer-songwriter became known to most fans after his 1981 breakout R&B hit “Nights (Feel Like Getting Down).”

On this day in 1993, we sat down with the then 43-year-old R&B singer-songwriter, who had become a crossover pop sensation with the No. 1 hits “Caribbean Queen,” “Suddenly,” “There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry),” “Love Zone,” “Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car.”

During his four-year hiatus, not only had Ocean ditched his Jheri curl for dreadlocks, but also the pop sound that had made him an international star for more of a new-jack, R&B, reggae vibe from a slew of young producers, including Steely & Clevie, Hula & K. Fingers, Timmy Allen, Dorsey Robinson, and R. Kelly.

At the time, Kelly was known only as the 26-year-old lead singer, producer and founder of the R&B group Public Announcement. It was 11 months before his breakout solo album, “12-Play,” and about seven years before the Chicago Sun-Times first reported his child sexual abuse allegations. Even then, Ocean was quick to say that his pairing with Kelly was put together by their label, Jive Records; particularly its founder, Clive Calder. Ocean elaborates in the clip below, taken from our June 23, 1993 interview.

Kelly produced the tracks “Can We Go Around Again,” “Rose” and “Everything’s So Different Without You” from the “Time to Move On” album, with “Everything” released as a single. It peaked at a dismal No. 91 on the R&B chart, and the album itself failed to live up to the global success of its predecessors.

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