Interview with Charlie Singleton from Cameo

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Interview with Charlie Singleton from Cameo Charlie Singleton has finally stepped out of his Cameo role and become the Modern Man he always wanted to be. As cryptic as that may seem, it is, in fact, pretty much the scenario of the career of the singular Mr. Singleton thus far ? one that took off when he became an integral part of the Cameo set-up at the turn of the decade, registered a false start for his solo career with his debut album for Arista and is now truly a force to be reckoned with as his second album, this time for Epic, begins to bite hard.

Pointedly entitled "Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained", it is an album that not only reflects his Cameo profile, it also doesn 'f, meaning that this is an album that pays testimony to the very individual talent that Charlie Singleton is.

Not only is it an appropriate title in the musical sense but, from what Charlie told me in a recent phone conversation, it also adheres as a marketing concept, too!

"Well, you know, the first album, we didn't feel the support was there from Arista. It was music from an area that were not so much unfamiliar with as inexperienced", said Charlie, his voice echoing hauntingly across the speaker phone he was using. "So, for the new deal, we decided to take a different approach and just put the word out that we were available. So, we had people coming around to the studio, watching us at work . . .
but we didn't let them take anything away!

"From this, it was Epic who showed genuine interest so . . . here we are."

Charlie also has a new tail to his monicker ? the mysterious '& Modern Man' ? and on questioning him on this matter, a 'mystery voice' responded that 'yeah, that's me, I'm Modern Man'. Back to Charlie, though, and he explained the concept behind it.

"Well, that just me, of course. It was an idea that came about when I was younger, just coming out of High School. I was playing lots of different instruments and for that you need a different attitude ? you need to adopt different personalities.

"By this time, I had, like, twenty different instruments and I'd given a name to each one of them. So, I thought with the new album, why should I cheat on the guys? Give 'em a name, I said."
However, Modern Man, is not (and J mean NOT) the only company Charlie is keeping on his new album. There are guest spots from the likes of Peabo Bryson ("Oh, I've known Peabo ages . . . two, three days! No, I played some guitar for him and we get on well") and Kathy Mathis ("not THAT Kathy Mathis. This Kathy Mathis is a 'home girl', she grew up near me in Louisiana. I'm working on an album concept with her") and, most notably, his old buddies from Cameo. So the rumours aren't true then, Charlie?

"Sure, when I officially split in '85 there were rumours, but despite all of that there was never any tension ? they knew I wanted to do my own thing.

"And you have to remember, I've done every project with them since, and they work with me ? its a natural thing. Like with the live shows recently, I made time to play with them."

Indeed, so commited has Charlie remained to the Cameo concept that he doesn't begin to baulk at any suggestion of the Cameo 'sound' being apparent in his solo work. He rather appreciates the compliment. "After all", as he says, him being the co-author, of among other things, "She's Strange", "I helped create that Cameo sound, so it is as much mine as anyone's".

So Mr. Singleton is now truly out on his own (when he wants to be, that is) and the future is looking good, but with this fork in his destiny (and other side-steps, like producing ex-Culture Club member Mikey Craig) how does he sees his future working out?

"Well, I don't really work out anything. I have no priorities as such", he laughs, "although this album is certainly one of those things.

"No, for me it is all things in time . . . you know? I just like being busy because if I'm not, then, well, I'm waiting. And I HATE waiting." (MW B&S)

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