Clinark is a singer, songwriter and producer who was born in Bermuda but now resides in the UK. In addition to writing and producing music, he also owns his own record and publishing copy – Nuture Projects Music.
The album, with a reggae feel, contains 18 of Michael’s songs, some of which go back to his days at Motown. Track-listing: They Don’t Care About Us, You Rock My World, Liberian Girl, Stranger In Moscow, You Are Not Alone, I’ll Be There, Never Can Say Goodbye, We’re Almost There, Heal The World, Smile, Heartbreak Hotel, Remember The Time, I Just Can’t Stop Lovin’ You, She’s Out Of My Life, Music & Me, You Were There, Lady In My Life, Gone Too Soon.
We recently spoke to Clinark about why he decided to dedicate an album to Michael and ask him why he’d chosen the songs he had.
What is your first recollection of Michael? My first recollection of Michael was of course as he was a member of the Jackson 5. I had all their songs, watched the cartoons etc: My dad made me do jobs around the house so that I could save up to buy their records. We used to try and sing and dance like the J5 way back when growing up in Bermuda ‘round the neighbourhood. My favourites were ‘I’ll Be There,’ ‘The Love You Save,’ ‘Sugar Daddy,’ ‘Maybe Tomorrow,’ ‘Got To Be There,’ ‘Music & Me,’ and many more.
How did Michael become a major musical influence in your life? I had formed a neighbourhood band – We practised in the garage and it just seemed natural to be influenced by Michael Jackson as he was so gifted. I followed his career created scrap books, purchased magazines such as ‘Right On’ every time they had articles and specials on Michael and the J5, for Michael and when he went solo, It was such an explosion of talent. I was always in awe of him. I particularly liked ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ ‘She’s Out Of My Life,’ ‘P.Y.T,’ ‘Lady In My Life,’ ‘Billie Jean,’ ‘Earth Song,’ and ‘You Are Not Alone.’ This is just some of his great material I like.
‘A Legend And A Warrior’ isn’t the first album you’ve released. Would you like to tell us about the others? Yes as a solo artist I formed my independent record label called Nurture Projects. I released ‘Clinark Live In Holland’ in 2006. It’s a collection of my own songs with a cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Heathen’ and my own reggae version of the ‘Lord’s Prayer.’ It all happened by chance. I did a short tour with Dutch band PMF. The very first recording of the live show was captured so well by the engineer, Sander Hartman. We had so many requests for copies we released it on CD and MP3.
In 2008 I released ‘Journey To Foreign,’ a studio album, co-produced with Mafia and Fluxy with Stingray records. It has 19 original songs including some are on the ‘Live In Holland’ album. For this album collaborations included, Gramps Morgan, Peter Heritage, Richie Spice, Maxi Priest, Brinsley Forde, (Aswad) Irie Love, Fantan Mojah and Kofi. The lead song was ‘Life in the Ghetto.’
We believe you had tickets to see Michael at the O2 Arena – Have you ever seen Michael perform live? If so…where and when? Sadly, I never saw Michael perform live. I bought tickets for the O2 shows, a couple for the early shows and another set for near the end of the run. I was truly devastated! I’ve kept one of the tickets for a souvenir.
How did you feel when you watched ‘This Is It?’ I was mesmerised, firstly because of the tragedy of his death, and then to see how he worked and pulled all that together. It was going to be the greatest show the world has ever seen and it proved Michael still had it, even at 50 years old. He still had that great talent and he was about to show the world as well. It’s so sad he didn’t get that chance to once again demonstrate why he was the greatest entertainer to ever live in my opinion.
Why did you choose to use the term ‘Legend and a Warrior’ as a title to your tribute album? Michael Jackson‘s life is indeed a legend. I felt he was a warrior in terms of his lyrics, such as in ’Earth Song,’ ‘They Don’t Really Care About Us’ and ‘Heal The World.’ Michael contributed millions of dollars to charities around the world. He pushed the issues of poverty and ill health to the fore.
We believe you released ‘I’ll Be There’ as a single four days before Michael’s death, how did you select the other songs for your album? ‘I’ll Be There’ was on pre-release in May 2009 and officially released on June 21st, 2009 yes, ‘Smile’ was my choice. It was one of Michael’s favourite songs so naturally, I wanted to cover it. The other songs were suggested by fans and I decided which ones I would cover.”
‘You Were There’ is an unusual choice to cover as many people outside the Michael ‘world’ have never heard the song. What was the reason you selected this song? I decided to cover ‘You Were There’ because that song really touched me big time and it was me paying tribute to Michael’s life like he did to Sammy Davis’ life. A beautiful, beautiful song that is.
In your version of ‘You Are Not Alone’ Michael is singing along in the background, obviously taken from his original track. Is there a reason you did this specifically in this song? That particular track I was using as a guide track but I like it so much that I decided not to rebuild that track and just leave it just as it was in its original form with a bit of Michael’s vocals in the back ground.
Are there any Michael songs left that you would like to release? And if so, which? In the Future maybe yes, like ‘Break Of Dawn,’ Who Is It’ and ‘Some Day At Christmas. ‘
You’ve been in the music business since the age of 15. What advice would you give to those who decide to make a career in the music business? I would say to them you have to really love the music you are doing, have a great focus, practice, practice, read and learn the business side as well.
Are you planning to tour? If so, will you performing any of the tracks from ‘Legend And A Warrior?’ I’m putting together a tour now yes. I will be doing songs from the ‘Legend and a Warrior; album like ‘I’ll be There,’ ‘They Really Don’t Care About Us,’ ‘We’re almost There,’ Remember The Time’ and more. Details will be announced.
What would you like Michael’s fans to know about you? I am a real fan, with my own scrapbooks from the early days. I love talking about Michael’s music. I never tire of it and have a great respect for him as the greatest artist of all time and a great humanitarian.
To read our review of Clinark’s album, please click here.
For more information on Clinark please click here.