2016 will be remembered for a year filled with a whole lot of extraordinary, and caught up in that conversation will be the 65-year-old English singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, record producer and actor, Phil Collins.
Interview By: Jason Curtis
In 2016, some 38 years after he flew the Genesis coop, Phil Collins has come out of his, self-imposed, 2011 retirement to deliver a controversial autobiography, titled Not Dead Yet, while playing curator to the three-CD deluxe celebration of all his many, many hits. The Singles, released by Warner Music SA, comprises songs from all of his eight studio albums, all neatly bundled to play out as chronologically cool as possible, close on 40 years after some of them were first conjured out of what today is clear genius.
Speaking to his South African fans in a rare interview, whatâ€™s evident from the get-go is Phil has suffered verbal, written and physical abuse before and during his early retirement, the latter mercifully medical and gene-induced. The journey heâ€™s taken in music is one worth reading and listening back to whether youâ€™re first time curious, or part of the 40-year fan club.
â€œMy coming back has been a wonderful time, filled with loads of reflection,â€ Phil muses. â€œBoth Not Dead Yet! and curating The Singles compilation have been on the backburner for between two to three years. Only because I wanted to justify why either were worthy of audienceâ€™s critique. Iâ€™ve never released anything purely to satisfy a marketing objective. Both the book and three-CD set work hard at promoting rediscovery, and equally so in, hopefully, introducing a generation or two unfamiliar with the work created to date.â€
For Phil, familyâ€™s critically important too. Having had his personal life dragged out to dry in the often harsh and indifferent world of news over his entire solo career, Philâ€™s above the trough feeding tabloid media and has risen, victorious, life and happy family in tow. â€œBeing a dad to my kids is critically important to me,â€ he says. â€œBeing back together, as a family, is a critical puzzle piece that completes me and is allowing this new, exciting, chapter to play out so well.â€ The Singles is dedicated to his lovely children Joely, Simon, Lily, Nocholas and Mathew.
A consummate professional always, Philâ€™s actively involved in every aspect of his career. â€œIâ€™m hands on, always!â€ he insists. â€œMy attitude to every aspect of my life, remains the same as itâ€™s always been â€“ when I work, itâ€™s 100%.â€
Having recently performed at the US Open ceremony, Phil remains as humble and respectful of the stages he gets invited to play on, right around the world. â€œWhen youâ€™re doing anything, it should be the only and most important thing youâ€™re invested in at that moment, otherwise donâ€™t bother even pitching up to represent. Do that and youâ€™re simply rude and disrespectful to the marvellous institution known as contemporary pop.
With sell-out shows in London, across Europe and into the rest of the world, Phil Collinsâ€™ 2017 diary is jammed â€“ testament to the fact â€œIn The Air Tonightâ€, â€œAgainst All Oddsâ€, â€œOne More Nightâ€, â€œSeparate Livesâ€ and â€œI Wish It Would Rain Downâ€, amongst many, many more are all worthy of our time, but more importantly our respect for his extraordinary contribution to making ours â€œAnother Day In Paradiseâ€.