update: June 2004
A B C
Throughout her career Neneh
has won several major awards, deservedly. Among those
she received the Brit Award for Best Single and Best Female Vocalist in 1990
and for Best Video ('Woman') in 1996. Furthermore she received the World Music
Award for Best African Single ('7 Seconds') in 1995. Neneh also won an European Music Award for
her beautiful '7 Seconds' in 1994 and was nominated in 1996 for
In 1990 the sampler "Red, Hot & Blue" is released. Aim of this
project is to collect money for the Aids research. Apart from Neneh Cherry,
who produces "I've got u under my skin" together with Afrika
Bambaataa, artists like Annie Lennox, Jimmy Sommerville, U2 and many others
reinterpret Cole Porter songs. "This project was really important as in
that time the media related to Aids and HIV spoke very negatively. The media
was mainly concerned locating risk groups. We got to a point where it
concerned everybody and it became apparent that media couldn't just isolate it
to certain groups like blame them and them, it's their fault. I also lost a
very dear friend, also a reason participating in Red, Hot & Blue. With 'I've got u under my skin' I didn't want to write a nice little song that people
enjoy listening to, but I wanted people to think what it is all about."
And Neneh as always managed well: the moving lyrics (Share your love,
but don't share the needle. Use your mentality and wake up to reality) and the
strong beat + bass phrase really went under our skin. And the song turned out
to be a massive hit, too.
Apart from her engagment in the support of Aids research, she recorded the
single 'Love can build a bridge' together with Cher, Chrissie Hynde and Eric
Clapton for Comic Relief, an organisation helping poor children in Africa.
In 97 along with other female artists such as Tori Amos and Skunk, Neneh
participated in an effort to rise awareness and funds for Breast cancer
research. Her latest charity project is a duet she recorded with Jamaican
singer Wayne Wonder for the official Olympic Games 2004 release 'Unity'. The
track is titled 'Eyes on the prize' and album sales will benefit various
charitable organisations. Artists from 16 different countries contributed to
this compilation which is to be a message of participation, friendship and
When you ask Neneh for a story about growing up with her stepfather Don
Cherry, she smiles and says: " 'The Pied Piper!'
That's what Don was like. Music wasn't just something he did as a job: it was
his life. In the New York subway at rush hour, Don would be playing the flute
and me and my brother Eagle-eye would pretend we came from a foreign country,
inventing languages. But he'd be going: 'C'mon sing along, you know this!' And
we'd just be like, red with embarassment!"
Neneh's real father came from Sierra Leone, but her mother Moki married
American Jazz musician Don so early in her life that he was always the father
Neneh knew best. An early pionier of what record stored would now call world
music, Don studied traditional music in India and Africa and used it in his
own work at a later date. He saw music as a common language and was open to
anything, even touring in 1979 with female punk band The Slits. "He
was someone who never stopped learning. He always said things like, 'There is
no right and no wrong in music as long as you're doing what you feel'."
Don Cherry definitely was one of the most lyrical and important jazz
musicians in the history of the music.
In 1956 he began a collaboration with Ornette Coleman, a meeting that changed
the course of jazz history. In 1958, Don and Ornette Coleman, along with the
pianist Paul Bley, bassist Charlie Haden and the drummer Billy Higgins
began an engagement at the Hillcrest Club, which was recorded and is available
Don Cherry began his recording career on Ornette's 'Something Else' for
Atlantic in February of 1958, you can hear more of this fruitful partnership
on the 'Complete Ornette on Atlantic'.
Mr. Cherry first recorded under his own name in 1960 on an album entitled 'The
Avant Guarde'. Many records followed, among which was 'Complete Communion'
that is often considered his masterpiece.
Around the mid 60's he began experimenting with music from around the world,
that was to continue for the rest of his life.
Don Cherry died towards the end of 95 at Neneh's home in Spain of cancer.
"Don had always been this mad...almost like a kind
of messenger. He was constantly on a mission. But in the last few weeks of his
life, he entered into this peace that he never had before. For the people
around him, all of us kids, it was the first time we could really just be in a
room and be together, and it was so unfortunate that we all knew it was going
to come to an end soon."
I've never... I mean I've lost people along my way
in life, like we all do. But I've never been present. I've never lost anyone
quite as close. And you're there believing that they are going to keep on
living until the minute they are gone."
"My brother, who's four years younger than me is
called Eagle-Eye. Yeah, it's his real name, sure. Apparently when Don picked
him up in hospital when he was born, my brother opened one eye, so my dad
thought: 'Yeah, I'll call him Eagle-Eye'!"
This same Eagle-Eye would a couple of years later have a huge hit with his
first single "Save tonight", playing up and down on the radio. The
album "Desireless" containing "Save tonight" was equally
successful. These days Eagle-Eye released his second album "Living in the
present future" finally presenting to us the long awaited duet with
Neneh. "I couldn't wait any longer." Since his surprise hit people
were begging him for a duet. " When writing 'Long way around' I thought
that would be the right song for Neneh and myself.", says Eagle-Eye who
is living in New York and Stockholm." I'm very proud to continue the
Moki Cherry, born as Monika Karlsson, is Neneh's and Eagle-Eye's mother. She is
a Swedish painter. "My mother is Swedish and she's
an artist. She's an amazing lady. When I was a baby and she was going to
design school, she used to take me along in a basket!" Moki Cherry works a lot with textiles and has exhibitions in major museums and
galleries in New York and Stockholm.
The first two years of her life Neneh spends in the converted schoolhouse in
Hassleholm. But very soon after together with the whole family she accompanies
Don on his tours. "We would always set up home wherever we were,
unpacking the van and cooking our own food. I think for children, you can
always be on the move, but like that still feel kind of secure and at home
even when you are away." She gets to know the colleagues of Don, like
Ornette Coleman at whose house the Cherrys were often invited. She remembers
meeting Jazz legend Miles Davis at four. "I was four when I sat on Miles
Davis's snake skin suit which was the weirdest thing. When I think back at
that night I think I fell in love with Miles Davis. We were backstage at this
gig in Paris, I had a brown velvet dress on and he lifted me up on his lap. He
opened his trumpet case and took out a big Toblerone...I was like: Wow, I
really like you." As soon as Neneh starts going to school the long
travels become a problem.
Her sporadic school visits she spends between her travels mostly in New York
also getting to know the bad sides of this life. "As
a teenager the greatest problem was to cope with the interruptions in school.
And you end up having more shattered relationships. As a child it's not so
bad, you can be best friend with someone on the playground for 2 hours..."
Neneh always loved doing collaborations. And so over the years there is really
a quite remarkable list of musicians she has worked together with. The big
names include Michael Stipe from R.E.M, Jarvis Cocker from Pulp, Youssou
N'Dour, with whom she recorded the beautiful '7 Seconds', Akasha, Moodswings,
Bernard Butler from Suede, Tomatito, The Notoriuos BIG, Eagle-Eye Cherry, her
brother, The The, Tricky, Christian Falk, Adam F, AIR, Masters at work,
Massive Attack, Gang Starr, Geoff Barrow from Portishead, Eric Clapton, Cher,
Chrissie Hynde from Pretenders, Peter Gabriel... "With these
projects you broaden your horizon and do and learn things away from what you
are doing on your own. You tend to look further..."
And the long list of collaborations is yet to continue: just recently Neneh
worked with Faithless head Jamie Catto, rap legend Speech from Arrested
Development, she gave her soulful voice to two Groove Armada tracks on their latest album release 'Love Box' and in August 2004 the official Olympic Games album 'Unity' will feature yet another stunning duet with shooting star Wayne Wonder.
D E F
Float Up CP
In 1984, after three albums, Rip, Rig & Panic splintered into the
short lived Float Up CP "an altoghether
straighter, more commercial group, featuring Neneh on the
vocals, alongside Garreth Sager (Guitar) and Oliver Sean (Bass). They
did only one album called 'Kill me in the morning'. Float
Up were good, although the energy, spontaneity and general chaos of the
Rip, Rig & Panic days didn't really live on. "It's
not that we were not satisfied with our work, it's a very good album but
it was time for change and we were all sort of going in different
What can we expect in the future? Well, actually quite a lot. Neneh
never has been lazy. She is working all the time on new material, she
just takes time with her releases. The new album is only waiting to be
released. We could already hold it in our hands now if Neneh hadn't left
her record company. So we will have to be a little more patient and wait
till early 2003 for it's definite release. We have already got a little
taste of what's to be expected on the beautiful 'Twisted Mess', a
collaboration with Craig Armstrong. Wrapped in acoustic guitars and
Armstrong's delicate, melancholy strings, Cherry's husky voice and
world-weary lyrics dazzle. But though we are wating and waiting Neneh's all the same
quite busy in the meantime: the Eagle-Eye-Neneh duet 'Long way around', and Peter Gabriel's 'Ovo',
where Neneh performs 'The story of Ovo' together with rapper Rasco, have
been released not too long ago. We'll also get some exciting collaborations in the next
After the 2 brilliant songs on Groove Aramada's 4th album 'Love Box' in 2003, we can expect another new track
on Carl Cox's forthcoming album 'Second Sign' to be released in late 2004. Apart from that Neneh
wrote and recorded two songs for the soundtrack of an independent movie called
'Dead bolt dead'. So let's not get too disappointed! Big Neneh is always watching
G H I
"I think I got into Hip-Hop cause it inspired me
for the same reasons as Punk. The kind of free form, it's, I don't know, it
just got guts. The whole kind of gang stuff is over, I find it kind of boring.
Ok, there are tunes obviously that sound real strong and make you go, that get
you. But I prefer the narrative, the funnier kind of Rap that's got humour and
is still saying something...!"
In 1991, back in Sweden, Neneh began work on her second album Homebrew, which
was recorded in the old schoolhouse where the Neneh Cherry story first began.
When Homebrew was released in 92 nobody had expected it not to be a Dance,
Hip-hop album similar to Raw Like Sushi. This album displayed a new found Rock
edge (Money Love) and played with Soul and Jazz influences ('Sassy', 'I ain't
gone under yet'). It was not at all the party album people had expected but a
rater calm, thoughtful follow-up. Musically with Homebrew Neneh definitely had
grown, her songs, her lyrics were more mature and much rounder. Songs like
'Buddy X', 'Somedays', 'Trout' - the duet with Michael Stipe -, 'Red Paint'
and 'Money Love' can be counted to the best songs ever. And there even was a
hint of what would later become known as Trip-Hop in 'Somedays', co-written
with Portishead's Geoff Barrow.
The album performed adequately well in the charts but did not manage to set
the world alight. Still Homebrew founded the new direction Neneh was going to.
J K L
"I've got two dads, I suppose! One father, one
step-father and just one mother, of course! My real father is from West Africa.
When I was 15 he took me there to meet my African family, which was pretty
way-out. I met, literally hundreds of people that were related to me. Because
they are Moslems they all got two or three wives, so you'd be standing in the
market place and this guy would come up to you and say: 'Hello, I am your
uncle and these are your cousins', and I'm thinking: Oh no! Not more!..."
This father is Amahdu Jah, a drummer from Sierra Leone and father of Neneh and
Neneh already started working on her first solo demos but is interrupted by
Matt Johnson, the The The singer. M. Johnson:" I was searching for a
female singer when working on Infected. I wanted to do a duet. I was writing
from both the female and male perspective and then got at least 50 or 60 demo
tapes of singers but none of them was the right one. Then it was a Float Up CP
tape I heard and as soon as I put it on it really struck me. There was a
quality of voice which instantly moved me." So M. Johnson and Neneh met
and recorded "Slow train to dawn" which was Neneh's first song to
appear after the split of Float Up CP. "Slow train to dawn" is
released a bit later as a single alongside a video, in which Neneh looks just
N O P
When releasing Raw like Sushi the media crowned Neneh as Black Madonna. Today at
the question whether this title has been adequate she answers: "I
don't think so, she is more ambitious and a harder worker than I am...and she's
got a lot more money than me as well (laughs)..."
the end of 1995, as Neneh's father Don lay dying, Neneh Cherry poured herself
into recording, finding catharsis amid the sadness. Those sessions have been
unleashed as her third album "Man" - Neneh's personal journey into the
It was a time in Neneh's life when working seemed to make sense, so they
assembled a group of musicians and programmers, went into the studio without any
preplanning, and recorded around 12 tracks in 14 days. These songs form the
basis "Man", which she says is an album 'about life and death and
sex'. It's rockier than anything she's recorded before, more spontaneous, messy
and raucous. It's also by far the best thing she's ever done.
"Man" is a surprisingly sexy album, with tracks like 'Kootchi' and
'Beastiality', with its S&M references, upfront in the subject matter. "I
don't just want to sing little nice songs about things. And as a woman I find
get very empowered, nicely stimulated; I get a real buzz by taking on more what
would be expected of a male .... except that it's not, of course. It's about
when you just want somebody. And you want everything about them. It's about
letting the see your ugliest side and asking, 'Do you want to kiss it? You can
have it. I'll let you in. I wrote the lyrics with Kia, with another woman.
We just sat down for a while and had a reak giggle.
Kootchi is a love song definitely. It's something you can do to someone, which
could be incredibly dirty or it could be just something you can do underneath
someone's chin with your fingers, or with your tongue along someone's hand. I
suppose it's a feeling that's generated between two people."
Cameron Mc Vey was substantially involved in the origin of the first Massive
Attack album "Blue Lines". Massive
Attack came about after Cherry and her husband Cameron McVey, signed the remains
of the Wild Bunch to their management company and got them a record deal with
Virgin, from which "Blue Lines" emerged.
"Quite a few of the demo versions we did, went
straight onto the album. I know cause I heard the raw form of the tracks sailing
through my house, 24 hours a day, when sleeping, when taking a bath... Shara
would often sit on the top step right in front of my bedroom door and sing. It
was pretty constant." 3D Delnaya, member of Massive
collaborated with Neneh on Manchild.
Neneh was still very young when she got her first child, Naima, from Bruce
Smith, drummer of Rip, Rig & Panic. She was still at the beginning of
her career, touring with Rip, Rig & Panic. "Something
I suppose I do seek is anonimity. I think sometimes it's the responibility that
you have to uphold once you've started and it can become a pressure. You've got
to be able to deliver things and me being someone who has got a fairly
assymetrical life rhythm it's often hard, especially in relation to my kids.
It's like sometimes months go by really quickly and I've always got other
commitments and sometimes I resent the fact that I can't just sit down there and
be with them".
Yet in the following years Neneh never stopped working hard on her music and she
succeeded. "Everything around me changed: suddenly
there was someone in your life more important then you who you care for and you
take second place. Emotionally you completely change, you think in a different
way and that influenced me and my songs."
She proved that it is very well possible to combine motherhood with a striking
career although it is often hard - she definitely has been one of the
first strong women in music biz proclaiming GIRL POWER! Appearing 8 months
pregnant in the famous UK show "Top of the pops" in a tight lycra
outfit certainly proved both her courage and her proud to be a mother: "I
don't think you should get all maternal and useless and sit at home all the time
when you're pregnant. You should enjoy it and have a good time!"
Neneh has two other daughters called Tyson (89) and Mable (96) with her husband
Neneh has always kept growing musically. She always keeps reinventing herself
experimenting with sounds and styles. This is what makes her this interesting.
"I suddenly realised that there were no rules in
music, that everything I'd heard and experienced growing up could come into
play. Before, I had been on a mad search but Rip, Rig & Panic taught me that
music had to do with renewal and invention, that it was about drawing your
inspiration from wherever you wanted and doing whatever you wanted"
This attitude certainly makes it hard for her to be as successful as she
actually deserves to be: she never delivers what fans, who have come to like one
particular song or record, would expect. Some are tolerant enough and recognize
the artistic side of this constant change and thus experience the beauty of
another music style. Some are not and will switch to mainstream bands. "If
I had done a similar record to Raw like Sushi things would have been easier and
both albums would have been bought by the same people. But I don't think I could
have lived with myself. When you're Sting or Phil Collins you have millions of
fans and sell your records, it doesn't matter whether they are good are bad..."
New Age Steppers
One of the many labels that sprung up in 1980, the year punk had come and gone
and had paved the way for a stack of independent bands throwing forth a whole
melting pot of diverse musical styles, is On U Sound. The first release is an
inspired blend of reggae and elements of the new independent scene, simply and
appropriately entitled "The New Age Steppers". It featured many
talented vocalists and musicians: Mark Stewart from The Pop Group, Ari Up, Bruce
Smith, Viv Albertine and Vivian Goldman from The Slits, to name but a few, all
under the guidance of producer Adrian Sherwood. The album shot to the top of the
Indie charts. Although many musicians changed, the name New Age Steppers stuck
and 1981saw the release of "Action Battlefield", their second album. A
purely reggae affair with Ari on all lead vocals this album was as successful as
the first. And it was this album that introduced a young Neneh to the world.
After a slightly longer gap the third and final album appeared in 83 "Foundation
Steppers". Constant requests for New Age Steppers have finally resulted in
"Massive Hits Vol. 1", a collection of some of the finest moments...
"Homebrew" failed to produce the same sales as her debut, people in
the music industry had plenty of suggestions as to what she could do to make it
right. None of the pat formulas, none of the market research suggested going
into the studio with an African musician to record a track - sung partly in
French - about racism.
In 1994 when Neneh had begun preliminary work on her third album her
schedule was interrupted when '7 Seconds', the song that Jonny Dollar and Booga
Bear co-wrote and sang with African super star, Youssou N'Dour, became a
worldwide hit, the greatest success of Neneh's career so far. The single stayed
at No. 1 in France for 17 weeks, selling an extraordinary 3 million copies there.
For Neneh it was very important to work with an African artist, particularily on
a song about racism and people's ways of looking at color. '7 Seconds' is about
the first positive 7 seconds in the life of a child just born not knowing about
the problems and violence in our world. The song is sung in three different
languages: Youssou sings Wolof, the Senegalese language, and French, Neneh sings
English. "They told us to translate it to English so
that everybody can understand what it is about . But not everybody speaks
English and why does it always have to be the dominant language. People should
just learn to listen and see whether they like it and feel what it is about...!"
Youssou, who comes from Senegal, is one of the first to do so called Etno Music.
"I was very much familiar with his music cause I
heard it in my house when growing up. I met Youssou a long time ago at a festival that my
parents had organised with our neighbours in Sweden in our house. It was
something like a little barn happening." Youssou: "Elle
preparait à manger pour nous avec la famille." (Neneh prepared dinner for us with her family.) "He managed to brake barriers between Western Pop
music and African Music." Already Youssou's collaboration with Peter
Gabriel proved that boundaries between cultures are fluent. "Maybe
people can begin to understand that it's the music and not some kind of style
and see what it gives to you."
Seconds" proved to Neneh that the only people she should listen to are the
collaborators she chooses. It sold on the strength of the song, not on her looks,
the video, or her performance in the interviews. "We
did it as an experiment, to see where we were heading. It was really great, and
it gave people a bit more faith in what we could do again. You're only as good
as your last record. But as naff as it sounds, you've got to stay true to
"I have never made up my mind to become a
popstar, I still don't know. Growing up with music I always thought of
rather doing the opposite. With 8, 9 or 10 I always wanted to become a
nurse or something like that, I can't think of anything else right now.
Then I got into Punk. I always was hard to teach, I never took piano
lessons. The whole vibe about Punk was that it doesn't matter, anyone
can do it. My first instrument was a red Fender Mustang bass. With a
girlfriend we then formed a funny little band and wrote crazy lyrics.
That's basically how it all started..."
R S T
Raw Like Sushi
'Raw like Sushi', Neneh's solo debut, took the world by surprise.
Neneh watched her first single release, the sassy
soul-rap-funk 'Buffalo Stance' raced up in the Top 10 all over
the world. "Most
the music I hear today is completely dishonest and devoid of energy -
there just isn't any involvement. "Buffalo Stance" is meant to
be hard, fast, sexy ... and raw.""The
song itself when it came out was not new. Neneh had first recorded it
for the B-side of Morgan McVey's 1986 single "Looking Good Diving",
when it suffered from a leaden arrangement by Stock Aitken &
The new version though, redone by Tim Simenon brought to light the
quality of that song: "Tim's a great guy to
work with, because he's only interested in things he's never done before.
Considering his success it would be really waste for him to keep
repeating himself, but he's open to everything."
"'Buffalo Stance' is about
not a feminist record - none of my songs are. But it's about female
strength, female power, female attitude." On
all her songs - 'Outre Risque Locomotive', 'Phoney Ladies', 'My Bitch'
and 'Man Child' - she displays a wit and assertiveness often missing in
the contemporary rap scene."Raw like Sushi" was released at the end of
1988. Critically acclaimed as one of the best albums of the year, it
sold in excess of 2 million copies worldwide. The next single 'Manchild', equally successful as 'Buffalo Stance",
established Neneh as a true singer and proved that she was definitely
not going to be a one-hit wonder. "Manchild" was a very
important song in Neneh's musical career, as through this song, she
found her direction: "When writing 'Manchild'
we found our direction. The ballady thing, with the beat, the strings
gave us something that we still use when we work, even on songs now."
Rip, Rig & Panic
When Ex-Pop Group members Bruce Smith and Gareth Sager found a new band
in 1981 after the split of their former band, they want Neneh, broke in
the Big Apple and working as cleaner at that time, as their singer and
phone her. "They asked me to join the band
but before that I had never recorded in a studio. So when I went in
there and heard myself in the cans I was like: Oh, shut your eyes and go
for it, if I think about this too much I'm gonna fuck it up."
This band is called Rip, Rig & Panic. With their mixture of Punk,
Soul and Jazz elements the band soon achieves cult status in Britain.
"The mistakes were probably the best thing
about it all."
End of the 70's, Neneh gets to know Ari Up, lead singer of The Slits, and
becomes a member of the band. The Slits are a woman Punk band associated with
The Pop Group. They make their vinyl debut with the "Cut" album and
"Typical girls" single on Island records in mid-'79. In 1980 they
release three singles. For three years they tour around the world, with Bruce
Smith on drums, and Neneh Cherry joining as additional vocalist for the final
year. After another deal with "Return of the Giant Slits" they reach
a finale in Hammersmith Palais in December 1981. Nearly five years on from
their conception, The Slits split up. But the legend lives on. Many people, be
they Chrissie Hynde or Justine from Elastica, hail them as influences. The
body of work they left behind them may be variable in quality, but their
status as innovators is undeniable.
Neneh moved to Spain in 93. The Cherry's bought a finca in the South of Spain,
near Malaga. In between her stays in London to record, she enjoys the peace
and beauty of Andalusia. "The nicest thing
about Spain is that people still take time out to do things together, which is
a thing that got lost in many communities. They sit together, drink a glass of
wine not like those manager type of guys eating a Hamburger, stamping their
foot and talking on the phone; totally insane. They say here: People work to
live, they don't just live to work!". For
several years she lived there with husband and children until in 99 she
finally moved back to London to get back to the fast changing music scene.
Michael Stipe, lead singer of R.E.M., has a guest appearance on Homebrew,
performing together with Neneh a stunning track called 'Trout'. "I
wanted to do a collaboration with someone that would be completely unobvious
to appear. 'Losing my religion' was just out and we heard on the grapevine
that Michael really liked Raw like Sushi and Massive Attack, in which we were
also involved...We met to see whether we would connect and not start screaming
at each other...But it was just really nice. We met in a hotel room in New
York, it was one of those Phillip Stark trendy little rooms...Then we started
writing; the first half we did in New York and we wrote the second verse and
chorus back in London as there was no time left..."
Neneh and Michael still are good friends today: "We
have a nice friendship and I love him lots. I think Michael is a great artist
cause he learns; the thing that exactly makes him a great musician is his
commitment to life and looking for new ideas and saying something that has
content. He is playful. And as a band you have to respect the fact that they
have survived and continue...!""
Neneh was born as Neneh Mariann Karlsson in Stockholm, Sweden, on March 10
1964. She grew up in a converted schoolhouse in a town called Hassleholm three
hours drive from the nearest city. And how else could it be for a true Swede:
Neneh used to dance to Abba in her teen years. What nobody knew back then was
that Neneh would record 'Homebrew' many years later in the same old
schoolhouse she grew up in becoming a celebrated singer and songwriter. Though she started traveling very
young accompanying her parents, she never forgot her Swedish roots and still
loves spending several weeks a year in the calm beauty of the Swedish
Titiyo, Neneh's half-sister and daughter of Amaduh Jah, also follows the roots
of her talented family, the music. Since summer 2001 everyone will know
her for her huge success 'Come along' running up and down radio and TV stations for
months. But we shouldn't ignore that Titiyo has released three
albums before 'Come along': "Titiyo" (91), "This is Titiyo"
(93) and "Extended" (97). She has collaborated with Mark Saunders (Raw
like Sushi) and nearly the whole Swedish pop scene: with Stakka Bo on a great
track called "We vie", Army of lovers, Jennifer Brown and Blacknuss,
the renowned Swedish combo, she did the song "It should have been you",
and lately Christian Falk, performing "Celebration" and doing
backing for Neneh's "Moody". She also took part in Eagle-Eye's first
album "Desireless" singing the beautiful duet "Worried
Eyes". She has a daughter called Femi with her ex-boyfriend Magnus
Frykberg who also has produced her albums.
Neneh recorded a dozen of songs together with Tricky in 95/96. She describes
Tricky as being "like a brother, because
we'll be really close and then we'll have a good old niggle...and not
necessarily get on for a while". 'Together
Now', the best song in both Tricky's and Neneh's opinion, has been released on
'Man' and on Tricky's 'God'. Apart from that 'Devotion', 'I wanna know',
'Crack baby' and 'Had you in me' have been added as B-sides to Neneh's single
releases in 96.
Somewhere in the world though there's still a full album of Tricky-Neneh songs
yet to see the light of day. The Bristol-born genius of sound textures was
more than surprised when 'Man' appeared with so little of their work included.
But Neneh always planned to release these songs on an independent LP as
side-project someday. I guess we still have to wait until we get to hear all
of those collaborations.
V W X Y Z
Vey, Cameron Mc
Neneh got to know Cameron quite a few years ago. They met at an airport in 1984.
She didn't fancy him much, but they talked. They were both newly divorced and
wary of new relationships. Neneh had Naima from her first marriage to Bruce
Smith, the drummer of Rip Rig & Panic. Cameron had a son Naima's age. For
years they said they were just hanging out together. It was she who proposed.
"It was me that went 'Oh baby, marry me, marry
me !" Cameron Mc Vey aka Booga Bear married
Neneh in 1990. They have two kids together, Tyson and Mable.
In 1986 Cameron - back then still with his project 'The Wild Bunch' - wanted
Neneh on the vocals for a track called 'Looking good diving', which basically
was the raw version of 'Buffalo Stance'. Since that time the two work together,
Cameron is producer of all of his wife's albums. " The
reason we work together since the beginning is this chemistry between us that
makes things happen. We have a very similar outlook on things."
And it definitely is this chemistry between them, that Neneh thought about when
writing the lyrics to 'Kootchi'.
Throughout the years Cameron has achieved fame in the music biz, not
only because of his involvement in Massive Attack's 'Blue Lines', and
Portishead's first album, but also because he produced British girl groups All
Saints on tracks like 'Never Ever', 'War of Nerves' and Sugababes 'Overload'.
Cameron has currently established his own label called 'Jugula'
and is supporting UK bands GUM and Virgin Souls.
There has always been an artistic side about Neneh's videos - very stylish, very
well put into scene. Jean-Baptiste Mondino, who also worked with Madonna and is
one of the most admired and successful photographers of our times, added a lot
to this, producing the first videos of Neneh. 'Buffalo Stance', 'Manchild', 'Inna
City Mamma', 'Kisses on the wind' and last but not least 'I've got u under my
skin' were his creations.
David Fincher, who also has worked with Madonna in the past on the videos to
Express yourself, Oh father and Vogue, directed and produced the video for
On 'Man', Neneh having changed both her music and style she chose to work with Stephane
Sednaoui on '7 Seconds' and Jamie
Thraves who had already done 'Just' for Radiohead ("...the
video where the man is lying on the ground. But he would never tell me why,
although I pushed him...") and whose very
subtle realization of 'Woman' made Neneh win an award for Best Video in 96.
Jamie Thraves: "It was always my
ambition to shoot something as narrative as possible within the context of a
music video. Using subtitles seemed like a natural way to achieve this, since
the words do not compete with the actual vocals of the song."
Neneh's videoclip to 'Feel it' was produced by Chris Cunningham, who is one of
the most popular producers at the moment. His recent works include Madonna's 'Frozen'
and Bjork's 'All is full of love'. Neneh's latest available videos are 'Long way
around' with her brother Eagle- Eye and 'Braided Hair' the track for the
1Giant Leap project.
Got info on Neneh's life, music, family, past, present and future?
Please get in touch.