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Wayne Williams Interview

Saturday 19 April 2003, 2pm, I arrive at the Daydream Studios, St James' Wood, London. My interview today is with Wayne Williams, former star of Another Level. With his own record label, set up with his brother Jason and a solo single due for release soon, let's see what he had to say on being a hopeless romantic, his relationship with his former band mates and his compliments (?!) of boy band 'Blue' …

Round One: let's get serious …

Is it better working as a solo artist or part of the group?
I enjoy what I'm doing as a solo artist because I have a lot more creative control, I have freedom and flexibility to do what I want, you know, and ultimately there's one decision, whereas in a group situation you have to rely on everyone's opinions.

You wrote the track [Anything's Possible] for your girlfriend Danielle [sister of Scary Spice], is that the most romantic thing you've ever done?
[laughs] No, it's not the most romantic thing I've ever done … the most romantic thing I have ever done [thinks] … a while back, I had a car sent round to her house and my driver was like 'Hi Danielle, I'm here to pick you up, you've got half an hour to get ready, you've been sent for by Wayne'. It was kind of spontaneous, she had no idea, it caught her by surprise and it was exciting for her! She was driven to the restaurant where I was waiting, the theme was all set, I made it all special for her. That's one of the things I can remember anyway [Lady G 'awws', Wayne laughs]. When it comes to writing my material for my songs, I can't really write anything unless I've experience it or I know someone who has shared that kind of experience. I like to write things based on the truth and reality, that kind of thing.

Can we expect an album from you soon?
My album is out in the autumn and it's called Fame and Fortune.

I heard your nickname is Fortune, can you tell us why that is?
It's kinda something that has been attached to me from when I was younger, I always wanted to be in the entertainment industry, I used to dance as a kid and I used to tour around the country with people like Adidas and Levi's, people like that, just dancing. All my friends used to say I was the fortunate one, you know, they were all really proud of me so the name Fortune just sort of stuck.

You said the album is out in the autumn, are there any collaborations on it?
There's a collaboration on there with a rapper that we're on the verge of completing a deal with, he's quite a hot rapper, he really is. We're all about introducing new talent at Daydream Records and he's one of the guest rappers on there. There's also a female vocalist that is likely to be on the album, her name is Carla Marie, she's not actually an established artist but she's a great talent, someone I respected as an artist for quite a long time.

The single Anything's Possible is a very apt title, do you think you have anything to prove to the ex-Another Level members?
Not at all! I don't have anything to prove to anybody, I mean, I'm not suffering any kind of pressures at the moment, how can I put it, I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing right now, I'm in control of my destiny, I've got my own record label, it's been up and running for a year now, we got a lot of plans for the future, I'm very very comfortable where I am, plus I've spoken to all of the guys and they really respect what I'm doing, we've all moved on and there's no kind of bad feeling between us so I don't feel like I have to prove anything to the Another Level band or to anyone else.

Just to prove things to yourself?
Yes, I'm doing it for myself and for my love of music, that's what it's about.

How did it feel splitting from the group, not only did you lose the group but your friendship with Dane Bowers?
[pauses] Firstly, it was my decision to leave the group, it's not the kind of decision you make over night, I didn't wake up and think 'right I wanna leave Another Level, I wanna leave all this behind', it wasn't a decision like that, it was something that was going on inside me for a while, it was something that I had carefully thought and considered. Since I've left the group I've never actually looked back, I've never thought 'why did I do that, did I do that at the right time, shit, was it the right thing to do'.

What were your actual reasons for leaving because they [Another Level] seemed to be quite successful at the time that you left?
Yeah, um, creatively I felt stifled and I think the group became a lot more about individuals more so than solidarity within the group, I mean, it's evident today, you see a lot of it with groups these days, we're all quite young and we didn't have a very good understanding of the music business. Having had a better understanding maybe we would still be together as a group, maybe that would have taught us that it's important to work together as a team and tackle things, as a team.

Do you think you all wanted different things?
I think it became that way and I do what I do for the love of music first, and that sounds a bit silly when you're in the music business cos obviously there's a business to consider, but I sincerely do what I do for the love of music. What I do, if I make a hot record in the studio, I am making that for me first, it's all about what's going on, what's stirring me to make this music before I can deliver it to any fans or before I can deliver it to anybody else, that's a big part in creative process by anybody. I could never imagine Picasso doing paintings just for the sake of doing them for other people's expectations, I'm sure it was all about what he felt first and what he had in mind and what he was seeing.

Martin Larner
Bigshot - April 03
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