The Making Of An International Music Star

An Interview with legendary performer Leroy Collins conducted by Ricardo Williams for Future Hit Songs Review.

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Future Hit Songs Review:

Tell me, Leroy, a little history about yourself. Where you were born,  and any difficulties you faced as a child? When did you know you were going to be a musician?

Leroy Collins:

As a young boy growing up in Trinidad without a dad, I used to hang around the music auditorium after school and admire the bigger kids practicing for school concerts. My mom found out that I was not interested in being a policeman like my daddy was, and he had already left us by the way.  When I was about twelve, she bought me a plastic guitar.  It was big enough to play on, but it was right-handed, and I am left-handed, but that didn’t stop me from learning to play in my own way. I was inspired by Sam Cook, and Brook Benton, and wrote my first song, with words like, “A true and faithful woman is only found now and then.”

Future Hit Songs Review:

What was your first notable accomplishment in music?

Leroy Collins:

My first stage performance was accidental. The school was having a concert and needed a singer. I was passing by, and they asked me if I could sing.  I gave them the answer they wanted. I got on stage the following week, and sang, “Wonderful World” by Sam Cooke of course, and from then on I started looking for a band to sing with.  I was seventeen when I found a band called Echo Strings and played with them until I was twenty. We played in clubs and concerts and so on, then I was discovered by one of Trinidad’s leading Calypso Artist, The Mighty Sparrow, and made my first record as a backing singer.

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I then went to Grenada for Expo in 1969, and there, I had my first solo recording.  In Grenada, I had played at all the hotels, then I moved back to Trinidad and did some new gigs in clubs, but I wanted more, so I went off to Holland, then Italy, then Finland, then Germany, then I ended up in Denmark, and made a record there called “The Disco Man” and a follow-up on the flip side called “Suzy,” that was on a CBS label.

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After that, I made an album with a band, Trans Europa Express, with cover songs, and then another one with our own songs. I then made a solo album called, “Here I Am.” I went to Spain and lived there six months a year from 2003 until 2011 doing revival shows at hotels and festivals every single day two shows a day. I then returned to Denmark and made a new album, called “I Wanna Get Up.” In the meantime, I had a single out called “Parquita,” then another one called “I’m the Julemand” meaning (I Am Santa Claus).

Future Hit Songs Review:

What’s in the pipeline for 2018?

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Leroy Collins:

I am currently working on a new album and hope to get worldwide recognition this time. I’m still trying for that big record contract and a spot somewhere in Las Vegas. Performing is what I do and I intend to take my last breath on stage. I forgot to mention that I played for George McCrae, and I played for The Jordanaires (Elvis’s original backing singers) when they were on their Scandinavian tour. I was also an actor and did some musicals, like for example, “Hair,” and “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

Future Hit Songs Review:

I’m amazed by your accomplishments and your drive for success. You also auditioned a couple of times for the X Factor, and Britain Got Talent? Tell me about that?

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Leroy Collins:

Britain Got Talent was only one time, but X Factor was twice. On Britain Got Talent, there were about 40,000 thousand people who auditioned, then they cut us down to ten thousand, then we were six thousand who were chosen for the last audition, and I was in the six thousand, and out of six thousand they chose 250 contestants to appear in front of Simon Cowell. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that I am one of the 250 at the X Factor.  Two years ago in London, there were 80 thousand that applied, and then they cut us down to 12 thousand, then 2,500, then three hundred to appear at Boot camp, and I was there at boot camp, and surprise!! I was the oldest at 68.  last year, I also performed at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, which is a prestigious arrangement.

Future Hit Songs Review:
That’s quite remarkable, something that many will not even dream of achieving. I know you do great impersonations also. I’ve seen you do Stevie Wonder for example. I see you have the current No. 1 and No. 2 song now on the NumberOneMusic site. I fell in love with “Girl” for the lyrics and the melody. It seems to be a sad song. Tell me the story behind it?
Leroy Collins:
The song “Girl,” is a true story about my wife and how I met her. She was a young girl at eighteen when I met her. Everyone said that I was a fool to choose someone like her. They said it wouldn’t last. She was at the karaoke bar that I was running, and she was staring at me all the time, just drinking a cola. So when I finally walked over and asked her to sing, she declined, but one thing led to another. I found out that she was having trouble with her family, and I offered her to be a part of mine.
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So, the song is about my wife and our journey from then and now. The song was easy to write, and if you listen carefully you would detect a little anger towards my friends, who instead of supporting me, they were trying to discourage me from what turned out to be the longest and best relationship that I’ve ever had. So that song is meant from the heart, and I’m so happy that everyone likes it. I am actually recording another song that I wrote for my wife called, “I Will.”

 

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