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This is BrukOut! Seani B talks to Carroll Thompson

ALL HAIL THE QUEEN: Carroll Thompson

Last summer I was asked to curate a show for the Liverpool International Music Festival that depicted Reggae In The UK over the last four decades. Without hesitation I reached out to the undisputed Queen of Lovers Rock.

Carroll Thompson spearheaded the British Lovers Rock movement and had the 80’s scene on lock. The face of the UK reggae scene, I was absolutely delighted when she accepted my offer to perform in Liverpool.
“I love festivals”, she tells me animatedly. “I performed at Glastonbury a couple of years ago and the atmosphere was amazing. I don’t mind the mud! I have a few festivals lined up this year and can’t wait.”

So the spirit of Lovers Rock, the sound that put UK reggae on the international map, seems to be alive and well in 2017. This weekend sees Carroll team up with long time cohorts Victor Romero Evans and Janet Kay
for a big Valentines weekend show at London’s Clapham Grand.

So is she still surprised at the interest in her work and the genre? “I am surprised, I shouldn’t be, but I am. It makes me smile that people who were around when it was all brand new are still here and now bring their
families along to the shows. It’s very inter-generational and there is a family friendly vibe.”

Carroll enthuses about the relationship with the younger audience. “Young people say our music gives them that “rice and peas” feeling; nostalgic and comfortable, which is nice to hear” Carroll has worked with Janet and Victor for years, but more recently the trio have worked on the excellent “Lovers Rock Monologues” which has been incredibly received across the UK.

She told me how the monologues idea came to life. “We have thought about it for a number of years before Millfield Theatre in north London helped us and gave us a space to put the production on. WE loved touring with it and may take it out on the road later this year. Maybe we’ll even take it abroad.”

The Lovers Rock phenomenon travels well – Carroll has toured across the globe and has cult status in Japan and parts of Europe. “I’ve heard my music does well in Canada”, she adds, “although I haven’t been there yet.” Maybe another one to action in the forthcoming months.

Her work in the studio, doing gigs and writing keeps her very busy as does talent spotting and developing some new artists. “I think it’s great that the new generation can create anything that they feel represents them. The only trouble is how you manage to get your head above the parapet to be found – it seems that you have to go back to the most traditional forms of media for marketing.”

Carroll came through at a time when women’s prominence was in front of the mic, but not many ladies were profiled in the business side of things. Happily for her things have improved in 2017. “Information is not as hidden as it was when we were young”, she says, “there were no courses then. You learnt as you went along and you were at the mercy of those who knew more than you.”

So back to the show on Sunday 12 Feb in London. As well as the big tunes such as “Hopelessly In Love” and “I’m So Sorry”, what can fans expect? “It’s going to be a proper Lovers Rock concert with a live band – each of us singing our various hits as well as some new material – plus we have a special guest on the show. His name is Jay Jay Born2Sing and I spotted him when I was a judge on a talent content. He was actually the runner up, but his work is very impressive”, she says proudly.

Carroll’s demeanour and style oozes class – always willing to help and advise youngsters as well as having an incredibly positive outlook on what she has done and what she plans to do in the future.

A true connoisseur.

Classic Lovers Rock In Concert takes place on Feb 12 at Clapham Grand – for more info

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