THE launch of Billy Ocean’s One World album was shelved because of the current covid19 pandemic. Billed for April 17, the launch has been postponed to September 4, mere days before the singer kicks off his planned One World Tour of 21 UK Cities.
Ocean, who lives in Sunningdale, Berkshire, UK, has concerts in places like Blackpool Opera House, Birmingham Symphony House, Sheffield City Hall, London Royal Albert Hall and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
One World is Ocean’s 11th studio album and his first album of original songs in the last ten years. In April 2016, he recorded Here You Are – The Best of Covers, an album with some of his favourite songs including A change is Gonna Come, Cry Me a River, These Foolish Things, You Send Me and No Woman No Cry.
One World contains 12 songs most of which can be considered love songs. They include One World, Can’t Stand the Pain, Nothing will Stand in Our Way, All Over the World, We gotta Find Love, Missing You Everyday, Daylight, Mystery and When I Saw You.
Ocean’s voice has not changed from the early days of his R&B and pop hits when he ruled the music charts and dance floors.
In an April 2020 interview with Smooth Radio’s (97-108) Angie Greaves, when asked why he took so long to do an album of original songs Ocean said, “Believe it or not, I was a bit nervous, that’s why I did the album of covers in 2016. I wanted to get back the feeling. It also gave me time to get in touch with my long-time writing collaborator Barry Eastmond. When I started off there were four of us, Keith Diamond, Wayne Braithwaite, Barry Eastmond and myself. We lost Keith and Wayne so I got together with Eastmond and we wrote the songs.”
Ocean, who is the first black British singer to win a Grammy Award (1985) for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, said he lives his life through music and loves to bring joy to other people.
“I am a happy person and I love to make happy and memorable songs. All my songs have meaning and I have faith and believe in what I do. I never thought I’d be a pop star, but I prayed to God that I would."
Ocean became a vegetarian in 1989 after losing his mother to ovarian cancer and is Rastafarian, he is a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) which was bestowed on him by Queen Elizabeth at the beginning of this year.
He wants One World to be a landmark of his 70th birthday (Jan 21) as well as to reflect his maturity and the many genres of music he has been exposed to – coming from the Caribbean and being influenced by calypso music to growing up in the East End of London where the music was wonderfully diverse.
Ocean said, “I truly feel One World has captured all of my musical influences over the years. The album reflects my thoughts and the way that I feel at 70 years old but most of all I hope that it will make people stop and think about life and its meaning.”
Born Leslie Sebastian Charles in Fyzabad, he moved to England with his parents at age 10. He started his music career in 1969. In 1971 he used the name Les Charles and played with a studio band called Scorched Earth for two years. He then adopted the name Billy Ocean which he said came from Ocean 11 the village football team in Fyzabad.
His first album, Billy Ocean, was produced in 1996 and the singer stamped his name on the music industry. His second album, City Limits, came in 1980 and then albums followed in 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1993, 2008, 2016 and in 2020. It was his 1984 album, Suddenly, which produced his mega hit Caribbean Queen. That song was done in several other languages and became European Queen and African Queen.
Ocean is the biggest black recording artist in Britain and has sold over 30 million albums, (gold and platinum) in his career to date; he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Westminster, London, in 2002 and in 2010 he was awarded the MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is given to creators of music of black origin like hip hop, R&B, soul and reggae. He was also awarded the Ivor Novello award in 2018 for his song-writing skills.
Ocean hopes his latest album One World will be the elusive love revolution he has been in search off since he started making music.