Module Leader - Collaborative Project
Songwriter, Producer and Licensor
Weaned on US Soul, British popular music of the sixties, Funk, Classical and later Jazz, Camelle’s influences are wide ranging from Marvin to Chopin, Sly to Franks, Scaggs to Wonder, Chaka to Weller and AWB to Mizell Bros. Camelle’s musical encounters really began playing bass with East London outfit TFB whose line-up included Light of the World trumpeter Kenny Wellington and Imagination drummer Errol Kennedy.
In 1979, Camelle founded the band Central Line, in which he was lead vocalist and bassist. The band won Cash Box’s ‘best group’ award and Central Line, acclaimed forerunners to the Brit Funk scene, successfully exported the British movement across the Atlantic with their debut album ‘Breaking Point’ (Mercury Records) selling over 100,000 copies US.
The Roy Carter Heatwave produced ‘Walking Into Sunshine’ scored No.1 dance UK and US reaching no 14 on the Billboard R&B top 100. Central Line have shared the stage with Roy Ayers, Grover Washington Jnr, Fat Larry’s band and The Real Thing. Their final UK hit “Nature boy” reached top 20 in the National Pop charts.
After Central Line disbanded in August 84, Camelle entered a period of freelance studio and live performance as an in demand Bassist contributing to many international best selling artists including: The The Soul Mining, The Style Council (2 world tours 4 albums – MD Japan 88), Zeke Manyika (Call and response), David Sylvian (vocal arrangements on Brilliant trees), Heaven 17, Jimmy Ruffin, Beggar & Co, The Kane Gang, D.C.Lee, Junior Giscombe, Bad Boys Inc (Top 20).
In the late 80s, Camelle formed Hindsight to express his evident humanitarian leanings. Central Line guitarist Henry Defoe joined him off the back of a Robert Palmer tour of Canada and immediately the duet were able to score a UK No.1 dance hit with the anthemic ‘Small Change’ (Circa Records) featuring Kenny Wellington (Light of the World / Beggar & Co) on Trumpet. The second single ‘Heaven’s Just A Breath Away’ was recorded at the Record Plant in Sausalito, California and, Virgin Records America immediately requested to sign the act for their debut album entitled ‘Days Like This’.
Whilst embarking on a premier tour of seven US States, Hindsight was invited to appear on ‘Soul Train’ by the legendary Compare Don Cornelius. The duet gained a feature on B.E.T. network T.V. with a half hour documentary exposure that led on to a US Billboard Top ten hit with the highly positive ‘Stand Up’.
US press commented: ‘A truly soulful debut, uncompromising lyrics and solid dance rhythms. An intoxicating blend of self-contained seductive, urban class’. This added weight to previous Central Line success and firmly established an enthusiasm for Camelle’s US bound productions. In the UK, a well-received cover of Boz Scaggs’ ‘Lowdown’ helped to cement Hindsight’s popularity.
By 1993 Camelle had become a much sought after songwriter, guest vocalist, studio and live performance bassist for a superb array of Artists: Alison Limerick, Talbot & White, Worlds Apart, Hinda Hicks (Bass/Writing/Vocals), Marden Hill, Charlotte (Soul 2 Soul), Juliet Roberts, E.17.(Bass & Guitar), Kiss of Life (UK/European tour – Bass / Writing), Workshy (bass on five studio albums – Japan & Philippines tour) also joining Junior Giscombe on tour (Bass/Keyboard) and commencing a further innings on bass for Paul Weller (2 US & Japan tours- MD for ‘Garage / House’ tour of Japan and guest backing vocalist on his debut solo album). Songwriting collaborations with Paul Weller (Sure as sure’, ‘Here we go again’ and ‘Just my type’), Nomad (Don’t make me wait) , Hinda Hicks (various), Kiss of Life and Bad Boys Inc (UK top 20) continued to accentuate his versatility and major Interest from Japan prompted a first solo album.
When asked ‘who would you most like to write with?’ by ex- D’Influence and Shane manager Clare Shave, Camelle declared “Without a doubt, the legendary Leon Ware (Marvin Gaye, Jackson Five producer/writer). It was arranged in California and the collaboration produced ‘How Are You My Dear today’ (featuring Orphy Robinson on Vibes) for Camelle’s first solo album ‘Soul Degrees’ on JVC Victor ent’s Japan. Here he explores his own ecclectic influences in composition and vocal style.
Well promoted in Japan, activities led to a debut single ‘Sausalito Calling’ that was also licensed to the renowned DJ Bob Jones label Black on Black records, receiving acclaim by ‘Touch’ magazine as the “Most soulful record of the year”. Featured on no fewer than twelve compilation albums around the globe (Delabel – “Vibrations two” France, E.M.I “Nu classic soul” UK, Instinct records “Sweet emotions, new voices, Welcome to jazz cafe.”It is still considered one of the finest contemporary R&B recordings to be released in the United Kingdom.
Having enhanced many hit studio and live recordings and graced many a prestigious stage: The Greek Theatre, Pasadena, The Albert hall London, Yokohama baseball stadium, Wembley stadium/Arena. Camelle continued productions, sessions, touring and co-writes for artists such as Aco Nude (No 1 Japan R&B), Kiss of Life – Japan / Europe, Taro Hakase No 1 Japan Violinist (Guest vocals), Workshy-Bassist / b.vox on a sixth studio album. Also, he was asked by Motown Records to write and produce two songs for Gerald Alston (The Manhattans) on the ‘Always In The Mood’ album; remixed The Temptations (Ball of confusion) and produced the UK top 20 dance version of ‘Motown Philly’ for Boyz 2 Men. Acid Jazz founder Chris Bangs invited him to guest vocal for The Quiet Boys and a string of guest appearances ensued including: The Quiet Boys ”Can’t hold back the vibe” & “Dazzle,” a version of Roy Ayers ”Every body loves the sunshine,” Gerry Deveaux – Guest vocals, Workshy (Free n Easy)- Lead vocal on Burt Bacharach’s classic ‘Walk on bye’, Adam F – Bass on European tour and Light of the World (Guest Percussionist).
The follow up solo album ‘Vibe Alive’ for JVC Victor records Japan was co-produced by Richard Bull (Incognito), Michael McDermott (Workshy) and Kenny Wellington (Light of the world). It received extensive airplay with a fine rendition of the Leroy Hutson Classic ‘Closer to the Source’ that prompted Expansion records’ Ralph Tee to license the entire album for the UK.
Through the turn of the century, Camelle took time away from a very changed music industry to consolidate his creative Industry knowledge with a Masters in Music business management and to teach on a variety of urban youth music programmes.
Camelle’s most recent activities include preparing a compilation for release as a pre-cursor to work on a third solo album, writing and co-producing for Hinda Hicks’ forthcoming Hip-hop / Jazz album, Mastering a completed Latin/Jazz album with long time collaborator guitarist Greg Lester, writing for the Beggar & Co and special guests new album and playing live dates with ‘The Jazz-Funk collective’.