SINGLED OUT: An Interview With Phil Collins

2016 will be remembered for a year filled with a whole lot of extraordinary, and caught up in that conversation will be the 65-year-old English singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, record producer and actor, Phil Collins.

Interview By: Jason Curtis

In 2016, some 38 years after he flew the Genesis coop, Phil Collins has come out of his, self-imposed, 2011 retirement to deliver a controversial autobiography, titled Not Dead Yet, while playing curator to the three-CD deluxe celebration of all his many, many hits. The Singles, released by Warner Music SA, comprises songs from all of his eight studio albums, all neatly bundled to play out as chronologically cool as possible, close on 40 years after some of them were first conjured out of what today is clear genius.

Speaking to his South African fans in a rare interview, what’s evident from the get-go is Phil has suffered verbal, written and physical abuse before and during his early retirement, the latter mercifully medical and gene-induced. The journey he’s taken in music is one worth reading and listening back to whether you’re first time curious, or part of the 40-year fan club.

“My coming back has been a wonderful time, filled with loads of reflection,” Phil muses. “Both Not Dead Yet! and curating The Singles compilation have been on the backburner for between two to three years. Only because I wanted to justify why either were worthy of audience’s critique. I’ve never released anything purely to satisfy a marketing objective. Both the book and three-CD set work hard at promoting rediscovery, and equally so in, hopefully, introducing a generation or two unfamiliar with the work created to date.”

For Phil, family’s critically important too. Having had his personal life dragged out to dry in the often harsh and indifferent world of news over his entire solo career, Phil’s above the trough feeding tabloid media and has risen, victorious, life and happy family in tow. “Being a dad to my kids is critically important to me,” he says. “Being back together, as a family, is a critical puzzle piece that completes me and is allowing this new, exciting, chapter to play out so well.” The Singles is dedicated to his lovely children Joely, Simon, Lily, Nocholas and Mathew.

A consummate professional always, Phil’s actively involved in every aspect of his career. “I’m hands on, always!” he insists. “My attitude to every aspect of my life, remains the same as it’s always been – when I work, it’s 100%.”

Having recently performed at the US Open ceremony, Phil remains as humble and respectful of the stages he gets invited to play on, right around the world. “When you’re doing anything, it should be the only and most important thing you’re invested in at that moment, otherwise don’t bother even pitching up to represent. Do that and you’re simply rude and disrespectful to the marvellous institution known as contemporary pop.

With sell-out shows in London, across Europe and into the rest of the world, Phil Collins’ 2017 diary is jammed – testament to the fact “In The Air Tonight”, “Against All Odds”, “One More Night”, “Separate Lives” and “I Wish It Would Rain Down”, amongst many, many more are all worthy of our time, but more importantly our respect for his extraordinary contribution to making ours “Another Day In Paradise”.



Twitter: @PhilCollinsFeed