Music

Titus at the control

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 16, 2018

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He has one of the most recognisable faces in local theatre. Glen Campbell's mile-wide grin and megawatt light bulbs for eyes, coupled with undeniable acting chops have been delighting audiences for decades as he embodies characters on stage.

Campbell can currently be seen in Patrick Brown's Right Girl Wrong Address which continues its run after opening nine months ago, playing now on weekends at the Centrestage Theatre in New Kingston, but the actor has developed a side gig which sees him entertaining audiences in a somewhat different way.

He is steadily building his name as a selector, playing music to audiences at a growing number of events in and around the Corporate Area.

“I have always been into music. I guess my love of music began as a youngster in England, where I was born. I grew up surrounded by my father's impressive record collection. On a Sunday after dinner, the gramophone would come out and he entertained family and friends with his music. I inherited that collection... so my interest was the oldies — Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Washington, Lena Horne, Sarah Vaughn — jazz and rhythm and blues. I would later discover ska and rocksteady and as a fifth and sixth former I added to the collection with my pocket money. This collection has grown from records — 45s and LPs — to cassettes, CDs and now MP3.”

Campbell admits that music was initially a hobby, something he used to unwind with a glass of wine after a stage performance, but never did he think he could be paid to play. In the mid-1990s he managed the happening Turntable Club, and came into contact with the famous Blake brothers of Merritone fame.

It was on a boating trip where his wife had suggested that he bring his laptop along to entertain, that his hobby was made public.

“We were there with friends including Monty Blake, who is like a musical mentor to me, I call him Daddy, and Craig Ross and I started playing. Monty then said 'But Glen yuh not too bad' and invited me to start playing at a few events with them. I remember my first event was a Merritone Reunion event at The Deck. I started playing at about 9:00 pm and at 4:00 am people were still dancing, so I said to myself 'you're not doing too bad',” Campbell recalled.

Since then Campbell has been a regular at the monthly Zodiac Party as well as Merritone Lagniappe Mondays which is held at 2A, a venue in the Corporate Area.

“This event is right up my street. The concept is that you hear an eclectic mix, music that you generally don't hear on the radio on a regular basis. So you hear music from artistes like Doris Day, Amy Winehouse, jazz standards or new stuff by artistes such as Protoje. Then my latest gig is Saturday Nights at 100, the Kingston venue, and that's a lot of fun.”

Campbell's musical taste as it relates to Jamaican music runs the full spectrum of local genres. These include reggae's notables Marcia Griffiths, Bob Marley, Delroy Wilson and Strangejah Cole to present-day proponents Romain Virgo, Chronixx, Protoje, Etana, Tifa, and Konshens.

Fans of Campbell the actor, have no need to fear that this new gig will ever pull him away from the stage.

“Acting is in my DNA. There is never any conflict with music and my work on stage. If is have an event to play at then you know it is after I finish on stage. The good thing is that parties don't get going before 10:30/11:00 o'clock anyway, so I can leave a performance and come play. The acting always comes first,” Campbell stressed to the Jamaica Observer.

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