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Music and art good for the soul for Goldie

Music and art are at the core for a local legend as he returns to the region to showcase both.

Goldie has enjoyed a long association with art and said it was good for the soul
Goldie has enjoyed a long association with art and said it was good for the soul

For Goldie, the last 37 years have been a creative journey, from his early days break-dancing and making graffiti art in Whitmore Reans and Heath Town in Wolverhampton to performing one of his most iconic songs at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

The 56-year-old has lived a life full of creativity and colour and has returned to the region that gave him his grounding, with a performance at the Crooked House In The Park festival in Lichfield on Saturday.

He also has a stand-alone art display in Birmingham's Colley Ison Gallery of some of his works from his graffito days, works usually seen in the gallery he owns in Bangkok in Thailand and something he said was a rarity for him.

He said: "I own a gallery in Bangkok called the Aurum Gallery and I’d never really worked with galleries in the UK as I never really fancied it, to be honest.

“However, I do like what Colley Ison are going in Birmingham as it’s not far from my old stomping grounds and the proprietor Tim Ison is a lovely man who shares the same kind of feeling I have towards art.

“There’s some really nice pieces of art there and I’m obviously a big art collector as I think it’s one of those things that can be really good for the mind and body and it’s something that’s been with me for the last 37 years.”

Goldie said the first exhibition he had ever put on was at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in 1985 as a solo artist and said art was something that had great value to him alongside his music.

The small exhibition by Goldie showcases some of his works, providing a real range of designs from his days as a graffiti artist, and said it was nice to be able showcase his work in front of other artists.

He said: “They’re my own work and the proof is in the pudding, if you like, to show my work with other artists as a curator and an artist.

“I run a record label and put music out on it and I’ve always said I don’t like the idea of running a record label without making music, I like rolling my sleeves up and doing work and it’s the same with art.

“I think art is the last bastion of hope as you can look at pictures on your phone all day and download music, but there’s nothing better than creating something on canvas and evoking an emotion.”

Since 1991, Goldie has been at the forefront of the drum and bass and jungle music scene in the UK, with his first studio album Timeless entering the UK Albums Chart at number seven.

One of the most iconic tracks from the album was Inner City Life, with vocals by British singer Diane Charlemagne, and one that was broadcast to a whole new audience at the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

For Goldie, the performance by soul legend and fellow Wulfrunian Beverley Knight was something he hadn’t imagined happening, but really hit the mark with him.

He said: “Beverley and I have been on very different paths, but there was a parallax there and a massive archetype with both of us coming out of Wolverhampton.

“We’ve both on these mad journeys and we didn’t really ever decide if we’d work together as we’ve been on different paths, but the fact is we met on the back end of this and she did a magnificent performance of an absolutely classic piece by an artist who is no longer with us, god bless her soul.

“I’ve always been very funny about who sings this song to be fair, but she did a stellar job, and now there’s talk of releasing it with Pete Tong on his new label, releasing it at the end of spring when everyone’s kind of forgotten about the Commonwealth Games and raise some money for a charity in Wolverhampton.

“We’ve spoken about it and we think it’s a really great thing to do as when it came out in the day, people were saying ‘this is outrageous, you can’t play this on the radio!’ and now it seems like a normal record to me and doesn’t seem out of place.”

One notable part of the performance was the outfits worn by both Beverley Knight and Goldie, with both paying homage to their homes as Goldie wore a Wolves tracksuit and Beverley had a custom-made Wolves kit made for the show.

Goldie said it was a surprise for both of them to see what the other was wearing as it hadn’t been a point of discussion beforehand.

He said: “This is a fact, I didn’t know what Beverley was wearing, nor did she know what I was, and we didn’t want to do the whole sponsored thing.

“My friends and I got banned from Molineux years ago for being silly boys, but my friend found this retro top from the George Berry years, so I wore that, then I saw Beverley come out with her custom-made outfit and I fell on the floor in surprise.

“I couldn’t believe it and that made it just as emotional for me as that song being played out to 1.4 billion people and they’ve now heard something that is very personal to me.”

For Goldie, he believes that the music he and others in the drum and base genre have created is a core British sound, describing it as like the Motown sound of the country.

He said: “I grew up on great record labels and music in the 1990s was very open-minded, being influenced by punk and reggae sounds from the Windrush era.

“I don’t forget that and it’s part of my heritage and Beverley’s heritage and came from our parents and if you mix it in with the English culture, you get something that is solely original to this country.”

Looking ahead, Goldie said he still has much to do before he thinks about his legacy.

He said: “I’m still here and I’m still doing things, so I don’t look at my legacy as I’m still ready to go.

“I know there will be lots of music and paintings and I’m looking forward to directing my screenplay Timeless, which will be a six-piece drama series, and which we’ll end up doing by the end of the year.”

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