The first time I met him, I thought to myself: “I am certain I have seen him before!” The next thing I remember, as soon as his warm cordial handshake matched my own, is his words “Have we met before?” Well, some things are meant to happen and I, from all people, am aware of that, because I have experienced it more times than I can remember! That wonderful night in Rotterdam at a mutual friend’s house, I met the brilliant singer, musician, performer and friend at last, Nicholas Redz Romillie or CoLoNeLReD. The next night I watched him performing live and I was astounded by his angelic voice.
Redz, is not only a singer of an undeniably special talent, deep insight, nobility, chivalry and modesty, but also a man of powerful instinct, respect to the art he serves and strong faith! Being born to a black father and a white mother, Redz, seems to have been the bridge which connects the sounds of deep, black, gospel, soul and reggae music with the white rap and hip hop, to, eventually, the blues and ballads of both!
CoLoNeLReD is the artiste who scratches his soul to make music and share emotions through it. Redz is the man who scratches his body to make the music comes out through his incredible voice and advises the youngsters who he admires for teaching him many things, as well. This man I present to you today. I am a writer and a poet and believe me when I say; how else can you describe such a personality if not by using some poetry? Should you listen to him singing, or being lucky enough, watch a performance of his live concerts, you will never forget me saying: He is an architect of music and a poet of melodies!
Redz has worked with and written for, such artists as, Maurice White,
Lenny White, Alex Acuna, Amp Fiddler, Keith Sweat, Teddy Pendegrass
Anita Baker, Jerry Hey & the Seawind Orchestra, Shara Nelson, Lisa Lisa & the Cult Jam, Sandra St Victor, IG Culture, Bugz in the Attic, Ursual Rucker, Tony Allen, Jon Hassel, Dwight Trible, The Last Poets, Brian Jackson & many more soul legends.
Redz has been and will be performing tours & live dates in the
USA, France, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Greece,
Spain, Italy, UK, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Austria,
Belgium, Poland, Canada, Indonesia.
ANNA TSEKOURA: You have been in the music industry for more than 30 years. What is the taste in your mouth like, of this kiss with melodies, notes, audiences, cries, moments of glory and moments of silence, after all these years?
COLONEL RED: I still have the same taste I have always had, excitement, anticipation & the sheer thrill of not knowing how the audience will respond to the raw emotional energy I so humbly share, whether it be on stage in front of thousands, or in the intimate setting of someone’s living room while they take in the latest CoLoNeL ReD sound recording. I cannot deny that especially during the last 15 years, there hasn’t been a moment where the silence has lingered a little too long; however, I see these silences now as simply being human & so, I embrace these silences & further more use them as divine opportunities to be inventive.
A.T: Were there times when you felt fed up, bored, tired? Times you said to yourself: “That’s it, man! Let’s find something else to do!”?
COLONEL RED: Yes, there have been times I felt fed up & tired of it all, but never to do something else! No this feeling was only ever aimed at the constant undermining exploitative attitude toward the artiste by the mediocrity much of the so called 'music business' has now become! With their part time viral attempts to pigeon hole & simply rip off high calibre artistes such as myself, I’m what you would call "Old School" I evolved through the music industry by being raw talent & hard working, no marketing tricks or trend sets, bare talent & the desire to please audiences everywhere with my music & message, still I’m resilient & although I’ve been challenged I have managed to stay true to my passion.
A.T: Music is a powerful tool for communication, gathering, brotherhood, healing, but it is also a weapon against depression, loneliness, racism, inequality. What is the sociological role of music and what messages do artists try to get across?
COLONEL RED: I cannot speak for all artistes, as I believe artistes everywhere have different points to make for different reasons although many of us have similar ambitions. My Philosophy is 'Me 1st', if what I have to share with an audience works for me then I am happy to share with others. I am not devoid of depression or loneliness & I have many times been a victim of racial inequalities & discrimination of a sort, still I have managed to translate these experiences into emotional language that often comes through the music, for me this is a healing process & I hope a healing reference for those who listen. I think it’s fair to say my sociological role is to share my experiences good or bad, by connecting the musical dots & lending poetry to the motion many of us go through daily.
A.T: I know that you are a man who reads a lot and likes to promote and put forward ideas born from the right to freedom and independence, as well as from deep religious instincts. What does faith represent for you and is this reflected in the music you compose and the lyrics you write?
COLONEL RED: Faith for me personally, represents belief in the unseen, all that is yet to be proven, yet to be realised, yet to be actualised, still the truest & purest love of all is the faith it takes to believe in something that by far outweighs our own measure of security & challenges us, by bringing about change, which in turn returns us to being humble like a child in the face of the sun, I try to practise this type of humility everyday in all that I do, I believe my compositions truly reflect all that I am & all that I am not, faith is the fragile place between good & bad, day & night, right & wrong, time is teaching me that 'faith' is the reward for confidence & conversely 'confidence' is the reward for having faith.
A.T: Having listened to you performing live and being aware of your albums, I do know that you do amazing things with your voice which is incredible! You sing every kind, from rap to soul and from blues to jazz with no difficulty. Where is your heart set upon though? Come on, between you and me, which is your favourite?
COLONEL RED: Great Question! I have to say my elevation happens when I ignite Gospel across Hip Hop, when this moment happens, I feel divine intervention, I feel elevated, Powerful, like God himself put me on this earth to do one thing only & that is to raw like a MiC LioN hahaha!!! This has to be my most favourite performance moment.
A.T: Tell me about your latest news and plans, please.
COLONEL RED: The latest news has to be the new 'Palace Full Of Miracles' album which we are just preparing for its release & the travel plans to follow, which will include touring neighbouring Cities like New York/Chicago/Philly & many more Northern American Cities before traveling to Europe.
A.T: Your tours and live performances have been of great success and are followed by thousands of funs. Even in Greece you are known (I know about Patmos) since artists of your quality and experience enjoy major admiration and have fans everywhere. You are also a music teacher who tutors children and young people who want to learn from you, isn’t that right? What is the secret, if there is one, to success? Are personal codes and principles a necessity or the wild chase of success and acknowledgement at all costs can be acceptable? Should you do things your way, fulfilling inner needs without thinking of the outcome, or just go with the flow? And if you want desperately to be a star, how dangerous is for someone who is a “made voice” due to specific procedures and technologically advanced equipment, to sing in front of an audience live?
COLONEL RED: I teach mainly because I enjoy sharing my experience with upcoming talents, this too is humbling, every time I get with a student, I learn something new, my students keep me on my toes, teaching teaches me how to be sensitive for others by having to bear in mind the needs of others, I believe this to be the balance necessary for true success , for me real success is being able to share your good fortune, at the same time recognize how to stay close to the beginning of new & exciting ideas.
In answer to the latter part of your question, the only way to allow technical gadgetry to be a part of your elevated performance is to work hard at developing your skills the right way round. For example, once you can sing with pentatonic scales, then it’s ok to have fun with technology, not the other way round! To rely on modern technology to aid a performance whether it is in the studio or out of the studio? You are forming a dependency & a dependency once formed can become an incurable second nature.
A.T: Let’s talk about love. What Love does to artists? Does it make them create and flourish even if it doesn’t have a happy ending, or does it wither them? What role does it play in your life, Redz?
COLONEL RED: For me personally, there are many kinds of love, love for self, love for another, love for a cause, love for the future, all these kinds of love have to be factored in to any one on one romantic love relationship, for all run congruent with a person’s desires, for example, if I love a woman, I am always feeling excited about the time I can spend with her, however, if there are troubles elsewhere in my life, children, career family etc,.. then the romantic love will always have to wait until clarity returns, that’s the man I am, I care much for all things to be working, having said that, in my experience this makes romance even stronger, for you value the time more & try to put more time into it, I am always loving & loving to love, falling in love has a different meaning to me now I’m older, I believe to fall in love is to not know yourself enough to love the right way, but to be in love, is to love all things all the way.
A.T: I know that you have great love for your parents, brothers and of course your children and grandchildren. Tell me, how difficult is to have strong bonds and in what way this helps when everything else doesn’t! What would you say to your grandchildren if they wanted to follow the same paths you walked on?
COLONEL RED: I do have strong family bonds, however being in a creative industry, sharing your trials & tribulations with your loved ones can be difficult to share, so I tend to share the good stuff & leave out the not so good stuff, saves us a lot of time & possible misunderstanding, my advice to my grandchildren would be & is: Whatever the choices you make, put your heart & mind into it, still if their choice of passion is music? I would strongly advise that they study music management & internet marketing, alongside their chosen instrument, they are simply 'Not' going to survive in this ever-changing internet/music industry, if they don't develop a healthy appetite for independent marketing, promotion & sales.
A.T: As I often say, beauty and intelligence are both authorities. Beauty rules and it is ruled as well. Intelligence on the other hand, is pure power and can never be manipulated or ruled. You are a charming man yourself, no doubt! Do you believe in the power of intelligence, or in that of the beauty? What type of woman you consider the most intriguingly irresistible? What qualities should someone have to be close to you, or your friend?
COLONEL RED: I believe true Intelligence to be beautiful & nourished in the right way 'beauty & Intelligence can wield incredible power! I find women who are intelligent divine, but women who are wise & resourceful, confident & open, undeniably irresistible! I love to be close to people that are 'self possessed' I find this quality to be beautifully true & terribly sexy.
A.T: What are you afraid of? What do you hate? What do you miss? What do you consider the maximum challenge for the years to come?
COLONEL RED: I am afraid of not being able to do what I love to do the most. I hate discrimination of all sorts. I miss my family, as I now reside in Montreal Quebec, so I don’t get to see them as much as I would like. I spend more time than ever before in my own private recording studio, devoted to writing, performing & collaborating, then my work spreads to working with my label 'Ink Rebellion' so I also miss the friends I used to spend so much time with in & out of studio's around the world.
My maximum challenge for the years to come has to be, building my home by the sea & the work that goes into becoming a better person for the people that love & need me.
A.T.: On behalf of PoliticalDoubts I would like to thank you for this interview. It has been an honour for me. I wish you health, love, prosperity, inspiration. God bless you, Redz!
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