Lindsey Webster last appeared in this magazine in March 2020 – right before the UK’s first pandemic lockdown and the final issue before Echoes took its unexpected, Covid-enforced, three-month publication break. We conducted the interview in late February, when the virus remained a growing and somewhat scary threat recently arrived from the far-east – but still the main talking point around Lindsey’s very good fifth album, A Woman Like Me, was that it had been recorded during the period immediately following her split from former husband and long-time musical partner Keith Slattery. Most remarkable was the fact that the pair’s divergence as a married couple had been so amicable that their professional relationship appeared undamaged: without prior knowledge of circumstance, fans of Webster’s previous four albums would have detected no discernible shift in quality or directional change – A Woman Like Me was business as usual and top quality, to boot.
Sean Paul, the biggest selling solo artist in reggae dancehall history, has been making international hits for over 25 years now. Just to put that into some perspective, his recent single No Liefeaturing Dua Lipa has amassed over a billion views on YouTube alone. Imagine having a track that’s been played more than a thousand million times on just the one platform!
The numbers his songs generate are crazy but then the Dutty Rockstar has long since rewritten the rule book where Jamaican music’s concerned. Before he came along, reggae deejays typically enjoyed a few years at the top before their popularity ran its course and they were unceremoniously cast aside to make way for the next sensation. Sean Paul has proven to be the exception, and only Shaggy has come anywhere near to achieving the same levels of success.
In my view, Sean’s last album Live N Livin deserved to win the Grammy this year for Best Reggae Album
Musicians have been pivoting to other professions for years, long before politicians made off-key quips about the pandemic being a good time to ‘retrain in cyber’. Job insecurity is far from virtual for those who rely on concert ticket sales for income.
Michael Franti, leader of the group Spearhead, had a ‘Plan B’ set up just in case he needed something to fall back on in lean times, but Covid came and struck it down. “We own a little boutique hotel in Bali. We always said, ‘If ever things don’t work out, we have this’,” he says in a relaxed but commanding voice over a zoom link to Nevada. “But no-one came because of travel restrictions. So it took me into some very dark places at times and I always had to be reflective and just make decisions that came from my heart – not what I thought necessarily was the right thing at the time.”
It’s been almost five years since we spoke to Kim Tibbs. When we left her, back in 2017, she was studying for a doctorate [in Business Administration/Leadership], while at the same time hitting the number spot on the UK soul chart with her first single, I Need You For Your Love, anticipating an album on Expansion Records and in love with an Englishman. In 2022 we find [the now qualified] Dr. Kimberly Tibbs still residing in Huntsville, Alabama, these days in love with an American, having survived both serious abdominal surgery and a bad dose of Covid, to stand on the verge of releasing not one, but two albums of proper, band-played, live-to-tape, seventies-style soul music. The Science Of Completion Volume 1 – a.k.a. ‘The Red Album’ – will arrive this month. It features the first 11 songs [out of 24 recorded last year] and some 25 musicians…