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Volume 91, Issue 40
Friday, November 7, 1997
More than a one-hit wonder
©Gazette File Photo
NEVER MET A GUY LIKE HIM BEFORE! While most are familiar with Edwyn Collins purely because of his hit single, this guy has a lot more to offer. He plays The Spoke tonight.
By Ian Ross
With the right mix of catchy lyrics, unique musical style and charisma, an artist can launch from garage novice to national superstar on the chords of a four-minute song. For a lucky few, it will be a platform for a long and successful career, while others will climax and disappear in what many describe as the one-hit-wonder syndrome.
Scotsman Edwyn Collins hopes to finally establish himself as one of those fortunate few musicians with the release of his fourth album I'm Not Following You.
Collins, a veteran of the British music scene, received his big break in 1995 with the hit "A Girl Like You" which rocketed to the top of the charts in North America and around the world. With a deep, slick voice and a funky back-beat, Collins became a household name nearly overnight, enjoying heavy rotation on MTV, gaining air-time on Melrose Place and receiving high-priced promotion through the soundtrack for the hit movie Empire Records, starring Liv Tyler. "The success of the song came as a complete surprise for me," admits Collins.
"I was used to filling the role of a [United Kingdom] cult artist with an age base of 20-35 and a handful of export sales expected. Instead [the album] Gorgeous George, with its hit song, took off and sold over a million copies worldwide."
Two years later, Collins is now back touring with his new project, hoping to dispel rumours that his career can be summarized by the lyrics of just one song.
To combat these dark superstitions, Collins used his unexpected fortunes from the last album to take time out from touring and constructed his own studio and further developed his artistic freedom. From months of exploring and fine-tuning, evolved an album that is one of his most comprehensive and balanced compilations yet. Quite a complement for an individual's career that has spanned three decades as both a solo artist and the lead singer for Orange Juice, which broke England's top-10 in 1983 with the hit "Rip It Up", before disbanding the following year.
Performing solo for over a decade, Collins feels his current unrestricted and experimental style of profession is much more enjoyable. "During my life with Orange Juice there was constant bickering like post-adolescents."
Taking a page from his own history in the music business, Collin's first single "Magic Piper" was added onto the recent Austin Powers soundtrack mirroring a similar move with "A Girl Like You" two years previously. "It's funny but when I wrote the song, my eyes visualized an old '70s movie using go-go clichés," Collins recalls. "This tied in perfectly with the [Austin] Powers' project."
With the single slowly making waves on college radio and MTVs recent addition, the tune to their regular rotation, the early reviews of his latest effort appear ready to overthrow the clichéd sophomore jinx.
Currently on a 14-date tour of most North American centres, Collins will stop in at The Spoke tonight for a unique small club date to promote his latest album I'm Not Following You before moving on to Toronto, Detroit and the west coast.
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Copyright © The Gazette 1997