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Goldie: Putting the past behind him

Reflective: Goldie will star in the dance production Wings Of Desire

FOR ANY parents who have a troublesome teenage boy, and fear their son will never turn his life around, be encouraged: things can get better. Case in point: UK producer, DJ and artist Goldie.

A true example of bad boy turned good, the music star, best known for his innovative contributions to the drum & bass music scene – and his gold teeth – is perhaps equally well-known for his one-time party animal reputation. Drugs and violence were well-documented aspects of his past, and he himself describes his earlier years as “chaos.”

Now, the 46-year-old, born Clifford Price, has swapped madness for marriage and youthful rebellion for yoga, and he sounds all the better for it. Reflective and with a new zest for life, the music legend says he’s “firing on all cylinders.”

Currently gearing up to star in Wings Of Desire, one of the productions taking place as part of the International Dance Festival Birmingham, recent years have also seen Goldie train as a music conductor as part of the BBC series Maestro; compose music for BBC Proms; and host exhibitions showcasing his work as a visual artist.

Has his transformation from bad man to man of the arts shocked those close to him?

“Probably,” he laughs. “But I think the person I shocked the most was myself. I still have that fire now but back then… I was chaos. It was one of those things where people would go, ‘he’s a bit mad! You can’t really get close to him because you don’t know what way he’s gonna react.’

“Back then, I found myself being really violent. In fact, I met a guy the other day and he said to me, ‘you don’t remember me, but you once threw me down a set of stairs.’ I was like ‘Really?’ I meet people and they tell me I beat them up or I smacked them in the face… I’ve done some mad stuff. But I’m a better person now.

He continues: “If you open yourself up creatively, you let a lot of other energy in as well. I only learned that through maturity. But that’s how it is sometimes. I mean, I never liked olives when I was a kid, but I like them now – they’re alright!”

What was the driving force behind his new outlook on life?


ROYAL APPOINTMENT: Goldie met the Queen at Buckingham Palace last year

“I think it’s the fact that I’ve been practising Bikram yoga for the past two years and I feel like I’m in the best possible place I could be. I feel like I’m 18 again – it’s like reinvention. I’m having these epiphanies and affirmations and I’m humbled by my existence now.

“I think it comes with wealth – not riches, but the wealth of understanding. I wake up every day and I’m like, ‘Man, I’m alive! It’s brilliant.’

“Also, my wife is an incredible support. She’s allowed me to be the person I always wanted to be, as opposed to me buying into my bad patterns and stuff that I’ve done. It’s important for me to be positive and think about what I want to do and what I want to leave behind. Do I want to leave behind a bunch of telephone bills or lots of paintings for people to look at? I’m just finding my place; I like creating visual art and I’m making my electronic album at the moment. I’m firing on all cylinders and it feels right.”


ALL SMILES: With his wife Mika

Born to a Scottish mother and Jamaican father, Goldie spent his early years in children’s homes after his mother put him into care. Later years saw his introduction to breakdancing and graffiti art, where he showcased his artistic skills, before making his hugely successful foray into the drum & bass music scene in the early ‘90s and subsequently setting up his own record label, Metalheadz.

With recent years seeing him rack up what some may describe as more ‘high brow’ achievements, like classical music composition and successful art exhibitions – as well as receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Social Sciences from Brunel University in 2010 – has Goldie experienced any prejudice from people who were reluctant to embrace a man with such a troubled past into the worlds of arts and academia?


TOP OF THE CLASS: Goldie receiving his honorary degree

“I’ve always had a hard time with people’s perceptions of me,” he admits. “It’s kinda held me back a little bit in some respects.”

Still, he believes in the importance of learning from life’s lessons.

“From a spiritual perspective, I look at it like, whatever the past life experience was, this is the life I remember and maybe I’m supposed to be here to learn a lesson in this life that I didn’t learn in the last one.”

Wings Of Desire is at Victoria Square, Birmingham City Centre, Birmingham B1 from May 16-19, as part of the International Dance Festival Birmingham. For more information, visit www.idfb.co.uk

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