The British-Irish singer and song writer Chris de Burgh’s song “The Lady In Red” released in 1986 has finally received recognition for the contribution made by the famous star O’Neill Fernandes. The cover version has therefore received a good number of audience bases. However, we got a chance to know more about his contributions. So, let’s leap into the interview –
Q. Hello Sir, congratulations on your success for the cover “The Lady In Red”. So, what made you inspired to make a cover for this track?
Ans. The Lady in Red is a very romantic song that has a sentimental connection between my wife Linda and me. We both love the song and Linda asked me to record the song for her. On the original Album Sweetheart…Vol.1…at the end of the song I actually recorded my voice telling Linda…’I Love You’…so the song has a special connection in both our lives.
Q. What are the elements you have used that have caused a difference between this new cover and the old creation?
Ans. Firstly, I loved doing the song when I first recorded it…however 2 years or so ago…my skills and experience in playing the guitar and producing it were limited.
Secondly, I had just come through a very long stint (4 weeks) in hospital where I was on the critical list for two weeks. So my mental and physical health was at an all time low. Even though this Album helped me heal, I was not at my best in getting the song the way I would have normally done.
One of the things I learnt early about my music is that my energy and the music I produce is inescapably entwined. So when I listen to the music that I have produced with the low energy, I just can’t listen to it. So the urge to redo it.
Q. Your album “Sweetheart (Ver. 2)” has received appreciatio0n. So, which songs you would love to name for your fans and followers?
Ans. Every song on the Album has a connection with me, so it’s not easy to answer this question. If I had to pick a few…
Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman
The Lady in Red
Three Little Words (I Love You)
The Way It Used to Be
A Little in Love
Just One Look
The Last Waltz
When The Girl In Your Heart
Love is All Around
And I Love Her
I’ll Never Find Another You
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
In choosing the above, I could also pick the rest of the songs, as they all have an emotional connection.
Q. It’s been quite a long time that you have introduced yourself in the music industry. How was your journey throughout the years?
Ans. As stated previously, I was born being exposed to music at a very early age, as my late Dad (Austin) was very much a music lover. So, music was a very integral part of my life. Even though I had a stint at the Guitar at an early age, I had to put my music ambitions on hold as different priorities took hold after getting married, building a house, career and kids etc.
Truth be told, I seriously got involved in music (2010) after attending a cousin’s wedding and being involved in a family sing-along before the wedding. I became aware of how much I really enjoyed the musical scene and the urge to learn to play the guitar.
So I taught myself to play the guitar again and when Linda suggested I record my music, well that opened a ‘Pandora’s Box ’ and a journey in which I also taught myself to produce my own recordings. As a ‘newbie’, Google was my best friend when I did not know the answer. Every Album taught me more about music both as a guitarist and producer.
My first Album was in 2012 and the second in 2016…so in the last 5 years I have recorded 546 songs which are on Albums and Playlists and released on Soundcloud. There are another 20 or more songs that I have never released, as they have not met my strict standards. So that is a lot of music in a very short time…
Q. If you are ever offered with a chance to work with some of the renowned musicians from the industry whom will you name?
Ans. As I’m a self-taught musician…I don’t know what I don’t know…so I have no boundaries and no limitations on the type of music or the musicians behind it. I treat each song as unique and try and bring out the best musical representation with the artistry of the song. As I have stated previously, Artists like Hank Marvin and the Shadows would be on top of my list, whilst other artists include Cliff Richard, Queen, Engelbert, Jimmy Barnes, James Last, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Dooby Brothers, ELO, Abba, Sherbet that come to mind…I’m sure there are others, but can’t think of them presently.
Q. Who has/have been your inspiration throughout the struggle?
Ans. I have to say without a doubt my wife Linda who has always believed in me and supported me throughout life’s many challenges. Linda has been my inspiration and has urged me to keep going through my darkest days. Personally, I don’t feel that I could have achieved the success in my life, if it wasn’t for Linda….my best friend and soul-mate….I’m truly blessed and very humbled to have Linda in my life.
Q. How easy it is to get recognized in the music industry? Or is it even easy or too difficult for a newbie?
Ans.Unfortunately, the Music industry is broken…it has been like this for quite some time. However, with the digital age, it has exposed the murky world of the music industry. The current model (legally) allows an elite cartel of music companies to dictate the whole music scene. In today’s music world, the artist does all the work and the ‘hangers-on’ get the rewards.
If I was a musician today trying to make a living in the music industry, I would starve…literally…it cannot be done. If I look at my own situation, I do music from a labour of love and is freely distributed in kind to the world. I do not earn anything from my music, and it therefore affords me the luxury to be independent, artistically creative and in total control over the music I produce. However, as stated previously, the music industry is broken and it is extremely difficult for a ‘newbie’ to be successful. Success would be comparable to winning the lottery.
With today’s technology and ease of home recording studios, the music industry and landscape will be forced to change as the current model is unsustainable and will not attract new musicians, if there isn’t a fair representation of effort and reward.
Q. What are the suggestions you will love to provide to your fellow musicians?
Ans. I can only advise from my own experience and that is if you’re looking to be a career musician in today’s music industry, then it is going to be a very difficult journey with no guarantee of success. If it’s a labour of love, then you have nothing to lose and your passion will carry you through. I found the going very hard in my initial years, as putting yourself in the public eye can be both rewarding and heartbreaking. However, in saying that…feedback is what makes you grow and improve, so stick around for the long haul and you may just be pleasantly surprised by your effort.
The ability to adapt and reinvent yourself to an ever changing world landscape is what I feel is the key to success.
Q. Is there any next project that you have been working on?
Ans. Yes…I’m working on a new music Album called ‘Down Under’ dedicated to Australian Bands and Artists. It will contain music from across the generations and is due for completion early October 2021. Other Albums from this project that have been previously released include the following:
1. Sounds of Then This is Australia (released in Feb 2020)
2. True Blue (released in Aug 2020)
3. Howzat (released Jan 2021)
Q. Which genre has thrilled your more?
Ans. I love vintage Rock and Roll the best and my next love is Pop especially the romantic love ballads. However I do also enjoy a bit of Reggae and Rhythm & Blues. Being creative across Genres gives an expressive creativity which is very successful in past Albums and I will continue to experiment further…
Q. Which career status have you enjoyed a lot, here’s I’ve some options for you – 1.Hi-Fi music enthusiast, 2.Mobile DJ, 3.Guitarist or 4.Producer?
Ans. Well, this is another difficult question to answer, as each one has done its part in my musical journey.
The Hi-Fi enthusiast introduced me to the best of hi-fi equipment (I.e. speakers, amp and accessories) and getting the best sound from musical productions.
Mobile DJ – This was an interesting journey for me where I got to play out my passion for music by entertaining other people. A good DJ can either make or break a party, as each venue/occasion has different challenges in music tastes and acoustics…This is where my knowledge of music began and I got exposure and appreciation of different music tastes and audiences.
Music is a language and a medium that connects people from different ages and backgrounds. It has no boundaries and is a very powerful aphrodisiac.
Guitarist – When I started to learn to play the guitar, it felt like the next stage of my musical journey. The knowledge and experience of music that I accumulated over the years from a Hi-Fi enthusiast to Mobile DJ allowed me to express my musicality on another level in being a creative artist.
Producer – This happened by chance from a suggestion by my wife Linda to record my own music. For almost 2 years I use to just jam to a pre-recorded backing track. It was great fun…I could play 20 tracks from memory one after the other. Then I got Cancer (2015) and it changed my world upside down. Again the need to adapt and change helped me grow as a producer. I learned from each Album I produced. However experimentation and feedback really helped me improve. Family members often tell me that every Album is better than the last, so that tells me how I’m progressing.
The amazing thing about being self-taught is ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. So there are no boundaries or markers on what you should do or shouldn’t do. Freedom and independence as a musician is paramount and that’s where your creativity comes into focus.
So to answer this question…being a musician and producer is what I’m enjoying the most…
Q. Fans would love to listen to some inspiring words from you. So, what will you deliver for them?
Ans. Follow your dreams and passion…for if you don’t try you will never really know what you are capable of achieving.
Hughes Nelson is a contributing writer for Daily Music Roll. He also runs few other blogs, where he analyzes pop, hip-hop, and other music too seriously. Hughes reviews the music on daily basis and magnanimously indulges, encourages, and even participates in music discussion worldwide.