To watch the Rik Waller
chatshow.net interview on your PC click
here - broadband recommended|
To read the the GISC interview read below
Waller & Rik Waller's Mighty Soul Band
in a personal interview with Roderick Jones, Chairman of The Guild of International
Songwriters and Composers, Rik Waller gives a fascinating insight into his rise
to fame and details of his new soul band.
voice of a great singer can never be denied. Rik Waller's Mighty Soul Band
is now performing the songs Rik has always wanted to sing, great classics made
famous by the likes of Otis Redding, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Sam
& Dave and Jackie Wilson to name but a few, along with some stunning new
original material. So, forget Pop Idol, he never really wanted the falseness
of all that. As audiences young, old and new hear, discover and re-discover the
big man with the big voice they will see that he has naturally developed into
Rik Waller the Soul Man.
soul music continues its development from its beginning in the 1950s Rik Waller's
Mighty Soul Band is synonymous with the ideals of the roots of this extraordinary
music of great passion and vitality in today's music scene on both sides of the
Atlantic. Along with the Godfather of British Soul Geno Washington and
artistes such as Van Morrison who bring great soul music to British and
international audiences, Rik Waller's Mighty Soul Band who have the melody
and rhythm of soul in their blood will, without doubt, be a cult actjust
like their heroes of soulfor many years to come.
reaching the top ten in ITV1s Pop Idol, along with appearances on
BBCs Top of The Pops and having chart success in the Singles Charts
with various EMI releases, Rik has kept himself busy as a media celebrity and
working towards his real ambition to be recognised as a great natural soul singer.
In September 2005 Rik Waller's Mighty Soul Band's debut album release Innocence
will present and contain some of the best classic soul songs ever recorded along
with original material that will stand the test of time. Rik Waller will in time
claim a unique place in the musical history of soul.
at what age did you become aware that you had a natural ability to sing, and when
and where did your first public appearance take place? "
always been aware in myself that I had the ability, it had just always been hidden
away from everyone, it was like my secret, something I could do and
that gave me a real feeling of freedom within myself, when all other things got
too much for me, I would go to my room, put on some music and just sing along.
This was all happening when I was still very much a child, of maybe eight or nine,
I would spend hours listening to music and singing along. At the age of 10, I
found myself singing in the School Choir, the first real time I had ever shared
my secret outside my own room, it felt good though I couldnt
help but feeling a little exposed, a little out of depth, which for a 10-year
old sounds totally ridiculous, I know, but the one thing that stopped me feeling
so vulnerable is when I saw the faces of people listening to me when I started
my solo. It makes me laugh when I remember what my voice was like back then, the
stereotypical choirboy soprano voice, I hadnt yet had much exposure to gospel
style choir, though if I had, I probably would have done it in a gospel style
just to shock people even more! The funniest thing was that I hid away this talent
I had, for fear of ridicule, I was afraid of myself in a way, I wanted to express
all the things I was feeling insideeven at such a young agebut my
biggest fear was getting it wrong, a fear that crippled me, apart from the odd
occasion when I would pluck up the courage, the result of this was that I spent
4 ½ years very unhappy when I started grammar school, the one thing I used
as my means of escapism was deliberately pushed into a corner by people who couldnt
possibly understand me, or maybe didnt want tomy teachers. At every
turn I was discouraged from taking part in things that I enjoyed and instead,
trying to find the ever elusive grades that they wanted me to have. I fought back,
maybe even rebelled against them by going to auditions for school plays, but I
would only ever get choir parts, the older good looking guys would get the decent
parts, though I dont regret that, it taught me a lot about voices and how
they worked, being part of the choir helped me understand the theory of harmony,
a tool that I still use now.
on, it is fair to say that school wasnt the best time for me, all the politics
of the grown-up world but none of the rules! I found myself at a low that I never
thought possible, my secret means of escaping was lost somewhere along
the way and I felt lonely, that was until one night, my brother and sister came
back from the local pub having just won a karaoke competition. I had never really
considered doing that kind of thing before but my brother took me along the next
week, just to watch him of course!! But I decided to go and do a song myself,
just as a laugh, so I asked my Dad if he wanted to do Parklife by Blur
with me, so we did it and it was the most amazing thing, I found that feeling
again, a feeling of achievement, maybe even pride!! So next, I plucked up the
courage to sing a solo, something I hadnt done for easily five years, I
picked The day we caught the train by Ocean Colour Sceneone of my
favourite bands at the time. I started a bit nervously, but as soon as I calmed
down, I let loose
five years of energy, or maybe even frustration, that
had been locked away and never allowed to be used. Lets just say that there
was a stunned silence in the pub, I finished my song, returned to my seat and
received my applause gracefully, like I had been doing it for years. It was at
that point I thought to myself, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
are, if any, the names of any bands you have worked in? "
every success story, there are many others that go horribly wrong, and I have
actually been in about eight bands in the time, let me see. Distortiongrunge
kind of band, around the time when it was cool to play Nirvana songs badly. Tridentwent
to the audition, did okay, wasnt really meant to be in the long run, was
more rock based stuff, I was probably about 14 or 15, more of a distortion rebound
band! Chosen Rejectswe went back and had another go at the Nirvana
songs played badly style! Ab IntraI was more of a roadie / professional
clinger-on, just trying to pick up some experience from a band that actually had
gigs! Revivalthis was potentially the best of the bunch in my early
years, I was about 16-17 and went along to see them rehearse in the local pub,
when their singer decided to leave they were looking for a new singer, the material
was all kind of 60-70s MoR style stuff with a bit of rock and roll thrown
in for good measure, so we got together and it felt good, everyone got along and
it worked really well, which is why, to this day, I never understood why the band
just folded one day, strange!
your parents, or any family members, musically or vocally giftedor talented
in any way?"
Everyone in my family has a talent for something
artistic, some more than others, there are those who can sing, there are those
who are good artistes and there are those who are really good at both that I feel
really jealous of! The one man who has a lot to answer for is my grandfather,
William Waller, he was the source of the creative gene, himself a very
talented painter and in his day an incredible tenor, his voice would drown out
an entire church full of people, a loud booming voice but with a sweet mellow
tone, I always remember from an early age styling my voice on his, I never had
his power, but I tried to learn his tone, he inspired me to start singing. My
father has always had a voice and a talent for harmonies, when I first started,
I would sing lead and he would fill in the harmony part. My brother and sister
have great voices, my brother quite soft and mellow and my sister a bit of a rockchick,
Alanis Morrisette style. We all used to sing together back in the early
days before I went for Pop Idol, we still do now actually, when the family
has a get-together, we always set up the karaoke system and sing together. Its
still as much fun as it ever was, even though things change, you never stop enjoying
the simple things.
Which artistes have influenced you?"
Over the years, going
from a boy of maybe nine or tenlistening to music that my parents liked
or that my brother and sister would listen to, then to being nearly a young teenager
when the grunge era was in full swing with bands like Nirvana and Pearl
Jam, then progressing on to teen punk when Green Day made their first
real appearance in the UK in about 1994. Around 95-96 was a great time for British
music and you couldnt help but be drawn in by the whole Brit Pop revival
thing, new bands on the scene like Oasis, Blur, Ocean Colour Scene and
comparative veterans like Stone Roses were impossible to ignore, with dance
music having been the fashion for the earlier 90s going from underground to real
mainstream stuff, but the guitar bands really hit back and brought back some real
pride into British music. When I hit the age of about 15- 16, a whole new world
of music opened up and new styles and artist that I ever knew existedGarth
Brooks, one of my absolute favourites, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, beautiful
in simplicity, just voices, but amazing and full of depth, so many bands from
around the world that leave long lasting impressions not only on the individual
but in my opinion, the industry, legends like Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin,
James Brown, Freddie Mercuryone of my absolute idols. Van Morrison,
Joe Cocker, so many outstanding talents. Bands like Simply Red and
Jamiroquai for example. Id like to think that Ive always had
good taste in music, liking a bit of everything and keeping an open mind to all
styles and exploring culture through the different types of music that make up
How did the Pop Idol auditions come about?"
It was my Mum who
put my name down for the Pop Idol auditions, I didnt even know that
she had done it. I had been to several really big auditions where I had been knocked
back simply because of my size, I was very deflated by the whole thing and was
beginning to think I would never get anywhere. My mum asked me, even begged me
to go, she just had a feeling that this one would be different from all the others
and that I would actually get something from it, I think. Looking back, how lucky
I was that she wouldnt take no for an answer.
How did you feel about the whole Pop Idol experience?"
really fun being part of the whole experience, it gave me the break I had always
been looking for in exchange for many sleepless nights and every nerve I had in
me. I found that it completely took over my life all the time I was on the programme,
even before it was televised, I realised that something huge was about to kick
off and that it would change my life completely, whether it be for the better
You withdrew from Pop Idol and signed to EMIwhat was the story behind that?"
A very appropriate question to follow up with. Sometimes things DO go bad,
thats the way of the world, but you sometimes ask yourself What if?
and it is just one of those questions that cant be avoided. The week after
I had progressed through my elimination stage and into the final ten, Id
had a quite a nasty chest infection and I had struggled to be ready for the show,
I pushed myself harder than I thought possible and managed to pull off a miraculous
recovery, or so I thought. Two days later, my voice is totally gone and I cant
even squeak, let alone sing. So I went to see a voice specialist who sent me to
a throat specialist who then put a very long bendy camera down my throattrust
me, Its truewhich has to be one of the most disgusting things I have
ever experienced. His diagnosis was that I had torn my vocal cords and that I
should be immediately withdrawn from the competition as any attempt to sing would
only injure them more. I gave myself a week after this to think about his advice
and I came to the conclusion that it was better to save what I had at the expense
of dropping out of the show rather than losing my voice forever and never being
able to sing again, at the time it was a lot more difficult decision, but with
time I realised there was only one option
Lucky for me, EMI were
waiting to sign me anyway, just goes to show, every negative has a positive.
What benefits, if any, did the Pop Idol experience give you?"
Idol taught me about the business, but not just music, it taught me about
television, gave me a look behind the scenes and opened my eyes to the HUGE amount
of work that goes in to making these things work. I made a lot of friends, a lot
of which I still keep in touch with today and it also gave me that little bit
of exposure I had been craving ever since I was just a young boy. I also learned
how to look after my voice, how to perform my best and how to entertain, it gave
me confidence and made me feel the way that I had always felt when I escaped to
my own world when I was younger, though now the fantasy was becoming more of a
Tell us about the EMI releases and your experiences with EMI. "
enjoyed my time with EMI, although I felt sometimes like a product more than a
person, the people working close with me were very supportive but I couldnt
help but feel that in the bigger picture, I was rather small and insignificant
compared to the likes of Robbie Williams. Working for a major record company
such as EMI was also very intimidating, but they gave me what I needed and a fairly
loose leash to be creative, even if my ideas were somewhat pushed to the back
of the pile at times. The first single I released through EMI was I Will Always
Love You, a song they thought I should do as it was such a huge hit when Whitney
Houston had recorded it ten years earlier, I always thought from the start
that it was dangerous to go down that path but I trusted in the fact that they
knew what they were doing, and the song reached No 6 in the UK singles charts
on Mothers Day 2002. Something Inside So Strong was my follow up single
release and that was also a chart hit, although I would have preferred to release
one of the original songs from the album.
EMI and myself parted company on
good terms at the beginning of 2003, shortly after I had started to form what
would become Rik Waller's Mighty Soul Band. I felt more at home with
a band around me, so the sacrifice I made wasnt so great, not for getting
what I had always wantedthe BIG band."
are still very much in the public eye and still undertake personal appearances
on radio and TV. Tell us about this and also the Celebrity Fit Club appearance
Its a real shame that some people can always
want to break others down. My experience with Celebrity Fit Club was a
miserable six months of ritual humiliation. I had taken the project on so I could
raise money for charity, their only intention was to get me to crack so their
crass project would have a little drama. I raised close to £14,000 for
charity, The price I paid for that was six months of misery, but a good trade,
knowing that the money I raised did some good. I would do it again in a heartbeat,
but better next time. I have also done lots of TV and radio work, though not always
having anything to do with music, some of it was quite entertaining. Working with
Dom Joly was one of the real highlights. I think there are things that
you have to do sometimes just so you can say, Yes it may be a weird thing
to be proud of, but Ive done it! Why spend your life being just normal.
are currently signed to Red Admiral Records and have a new album coming out in
the next month. Tell us about the change in musical direction with this soul/R&B
Soul and R&B have always been a very large part
of my musical past. I would spend hours listening to artistes like Otis Redding,
Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Wilson Pickett and countless others, so this
album was the perfect way for me to be totally true to myself and do the music
that I had wanted to do for so long. Working very closely with Guild of International
Songwriters and Composers member Terry Daniels, our songwriter,
he came up with some really great, classic sounding tunes, I put my little bit
of sparkle into them and all the guys in the band have their own little characteristics
that come out when they play. Tim Constable, lead guitarist, for example, has
moments when his country influences are really evident, its the little personal
quirks that make the band, and indeed the album, very interesting to listen to.
have a passion for soul music, is this something that you would have liked to
have done from the start of your recording career?"
that everything in life is a journey, you have to learn to crawl before you can
learn to walk, same as in music, you have to play to the masses before you can
specialise, though I strongly believe that many different kinds of people will
like this album, its got enough attitude for the kids to like it, classic
enough for the older generation to enjoy and it also has a real zest about itto
cut a long story short, this is a great album for those who appreciate musicianship
but also those who love catchy addictive tunes, but this is by no means pop.
Mighty Soul Band is the musical force behind your vocalshow do you see the
future with regard to you and the band becoming a cult artiste of longevity for
I think that you cant be too obsessed by
labels, we are just here doing what we do, bringing music and enjoyment to people.
Careers these days are over quicker than a cup of coffee most of the time, the
fact that I am still going almost four years on is good and shows that my gambles
have paid off, all I can hope is that we continue to grow and become more successful
than ever, that is all anyone can hope for, but I know there isnt a single
band in the business who deserve it more than the guys Ive got here, its
been, at times, a real blood, sweat and tears project, but as they say, if something
is worth having, its worth waiting for. The next twelve months will be the
real acid test.
see that you are doing some gigs with Geno Washington in the future. This must
be a great credit to you and the band to be associated with this legend of soul/R&B?
How do you feel about this?"
This is the most exciting thing
to have happened so far in my opinion. Geno is known the world over as
a true legend, to get the opportunity to be working on the same gigs as him is
a great honour and I am sure I will learn an awful lot from just being around
him. Its not very often for any band that these opportunities come up, so
we will be making the most of the gigs we do together and who knows, it may be
the start of a beautiful partnershipwatch this space!
you have a good team behind you and the band, who work behind the scenes to create
success, how do you view their importance to your future?"
band has a great team working on their behalf behind the scenes. We have the record
company, producers, publisher, publicists, photographers, designers, management,
logistics, agency, etc who all give 110% to the bands recording and performing
projects, which is great. You need a strong team in anything you do. As you know,
Rod, you yourself set this record deal up with Chris Ashman, Chief Executive
of Red Admiral Records, and whilst all of the team surrounding the band
work diligently behind the scenes playing an important role for the bands
performing and recording success, it is Chris Ashman at Red Admiral
Records who is the front of the house person that everyone in
the band sees and talks to and we are extremely conscious of the time and effort
that the whole team puts in on our behalf behind the scenes to ensure that things
are running smoothly. Its great to know that there is a team behind the
band committed to making our performing and recording projects succeed.
"How do you feel about
Terry Daniels and the songs he has written for the band?"
is a great songwriter, he has written some really brilliant songs that we have
been able to use on the new album. I always wanted the album to be mostly original
anyway, but to have all the songs come from a member of the band and more importantly
a friend is even better. We often listen to the acoustic demo tracks together
first and then make comments about tempo, key, lyrics and then Terry goes away
and puts something more substantial together using his home studio, then we take
it to the whole band and then the magic happens. As I said before, everyone has
their own little quirks and working on the arrangements is brilliant, Terry always
oversees the whole thing while the others experiment with different ideas, it
is a fascinating process to watch and in the end what you are left with is a song
that is just amazing.
Wallers Mighty Soul Band is made up of eight musician band members,
some also doing backing vocals, a female backing vocalist, and myself on lead
vocals. Let me tell you about them all! "
Daniels, as I said before, is a brilliant songwriter who takes his inspiration
from a wide variety of influencesfrom classic Motown to Paul Weller.
The majority of songs on our new album are written by Terry. Originally from Bromley
in Kent, Terry started his music career at the age of sixteen, playing
venues all over the south-east of London. He soon realised he not only had a talent
for playing but also for writing music and spent many a year sharpening his skills
as a songsmith. We got together after he sent me a demo and was invited along
to the first band meeting where he became an instant addition! We knew that he
would figure very much in the band as a songwriter, providing us with the original
material we were crying out for, but it soon became apparent that his skills as
a rhythm guitarist would also be called uponso we asked Terry to join the
Constable is the lead guitarist and I would have to say that Tim is one of
the best guitarists abouthe has a mixture of classic and contemporary styles
that work incredibly well togethera real master of his art, sit back and
prepare to be amazed! Tim started playing guitar after begging his parents for
one for his eleventh birthday. He then set about learning and was heavily influenced
by some of the legends from that era, such as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck
and Eric Clapton. Being the son of an RAF officer meant a lot of travelling
and a whole new batch of influences everywhere he wentpicking up the best
from the different musicians he met. Tim left home at the age of sixteen and started
working with bands at US Army bases at various locations in Europe and has been
in demand ever since. He has been lucky enough to appear on television and feature
in Melody Maker. His experience and myriad influences are apparent in his
Woolleyin his time with the band Ian has proved himself to be not only
a world class drummer but the real joker of the pack as well! A great guy to be
on the road with. Ians musical career is too long and lurid to cover comprehensively
in a small space but, needless to say that Ian, professionally speaking of course,
has been around the block a fair few times! He can boast having toured extensively
across Europe and has performed at such venues as the London Palladium,
alongside a host of star names too numerous to list. Taking his influences from
such legends as Police and Pink Floyd, as well as many other bands,
Ians style is distinctive yet highly flexible and adaptable. Ian is a truly
inspirational player to watch and work with. Recently, he has been in high demand,
passing on his wealth of knowledge and experience as a drum teacher, nurturing
the next generation. His work-hardened drumming technique is the backbone of the
band sound, one of the original founder members and the obvious first choice for
Lewin, who plays piano and synths, is an outstanding player with an abundance
of talent, I never fail to be amazed by what this guy does with the keys. Roger
is so good
he will set your ears on fire! Born in New York, Roger has had
his hands on the ivories since he was four years of age. His style, as you will
be able to imagine, is a well practiced one. Roger has had a fairly checkered
career, starting off as a solo artiste while studying at Cambridge University.
After finishing at Cambridge, Roger put his career on hold for a few years to
raise his daughter but, as she grew up, he felt the need to return to music. Starting
back at the basics buskinghe was soon being offered work with many
bands and performing in piano bars and at weddings, also touring nationally and
playing at various concerts. Roger fits in perfectly with everyone in the bandas
a person and as an incredible musician.
Maitland, our backing vocalist, joined the band a year ago and has really
grown in confidence every step of the way. Sally has a voice like velvet which
compliments my vocals perfectly! Sally, who was born and grew up in Ashford, Kent,
has always loved performing, she joined a stage school at the age of eleven and,
after taking her exams, she went on to college to study Rik Wallers Mighty
Soul Band 6 Member Profile Performing Arts. In Sallys own words she says
I love to sing and make people smile and have done ever since I was about
four years old. I used to put on pretend shows for all my family and get them
to watch me. Talent runs in her family and her love for performing has passed
on to her daughter, as Sally explains I understand how my family felt, as
my daughter does the same thing to meexcept its usually the same song
over and over again! Sally enjoys being in the band and says that the best
aspect is We are like one big familythat is very important to me.
As the only female, I am sure I will get all the good jobs in the bandtea
making, ironing shirts! Sally also has many qualificationsincluding
a Degree in sarcasm!
Wyver is the saxophone player in the brass section of the band and he has
talent beyond the normal human capacity. He is as multi-talented as they getnot
only a saxophonist but he plays clarinet, trumpet, guitar and bagpipes. Born in
Sittingbourne, Kent, Nick took a shine to music at a very early age. By the time
he was in junior school he was already playing the violin and later joined the
secondary school choir. He then went on to learn clarinet at the age of eighteenteaching
himself to play. He soon found himself at Imperial College where he bought his
first saxophone with a student grant and joined the college jazz band. Lets
just say that a lot happened for Nick after thathe was in several bands,
studied Photographic Science and left with a BSc from the Polytechnic of Central
London, then in 1985 he passed Saxophone Grade 8 with Distinction. It was obvious
that he had a definite talent. He has also found time to teach, play in even more
bands and raise a family. Nick plays soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophonein
fact, pretty much anything that makes a noise!
Jackson, or Jacko, is not only the trombone player in the band but also the
musical directorhes a world class whip-cracker with his eyes sharply
focused on the finest of detailsbut hes a really great guy! Jacko
originates from south London and discovered at a very early age a liking for brass
slidy things trombones! These days he is very much in demand for not only
his great talent but also his impeccable attention to detail. With a true calling
towards jazz, Jacko always manages to make his arrangements just that little bit
classy! Jacko is a true musician, his talent not only for the trombone, also having
played bass guitar for several rock cover bands in his time. Jacko lives by the
sea with his kayak and Dizan astoundingly tolerant lady.
the trumpet playerIm not sure why he calls himself Mo, Im not
sure he knows eitherwas born in Gosport, Hampshire, and from a very early
age showed a real interest in music, with his first instrument being the bugle
at the age of five! His parents soon realised that he had talent and enrolled
him in lessons. Mo moved on to the cornet after that and worked his way through
brass bands and military bands. With many years experience under his belt, Mo
decided to have a change in direction and joined a local 10-piece soul band. In
no time he found himself playing along side The Supremes, Sister Sledge
and The Three Degrees. Mo has also had the fortune of performing in front
of Hollywood stars, music legends and even royalty! With over thirty years of
experience Mo is at his best when he is performing soul music and the magnitude
for his passion for music is only rivalled by his wicked sense of humour.
Toomey, bass guitarist, is a selfconfessed south-east Londoner, born in Penge.
Ethan has been playing bass for about seven years and came into it by accident,
when he heard of a band being formed who urgently needed a bass player. Since
then he has appeared in many bands around the Medway towns. Ethan is a recent
addition to the band and was lucky enough to fall straight into a record contract.
His distinctive style has made an impact with the bands sound, which can
be heard on our forthcoming debut album, called Innocence, released on
Red Admiral Records, catalogue number REDAD CDA547. Ethan has been
influenced by musicians such as Rocca Prestia, [Tower of Power],
and Stuart Zender, and his favourite bass is the Fender Jazz.
Theyre a great bunch and we all get on really well togetherI have
great hopes for us for the future.
Rik, that was a very enlightening interview, especially with all the background
information, which I think Songwriting and Composing magazine readers will find
most interesting. Needless to say, as part of your current success and working
with you, the Mighty Soul Band, Chris Ashman at Red Admiral Records and the rest
of the team, I look forward to all future developments and continued success."
Jones The Guild of International
Songwriters and ComposersAll rights reserved June 2005 Rik Waller /
Mighty Soul Band
information at www.redadmiralrecords.com