Billy Ocean talks to eFestivals

80's Rewind Festival 2011 interview

published: Wed 29th Jun 2011

Billy Ocean

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st August 2011
Temple Island Meadows, near Henley On Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 3DB, England MAP
£105 weekend with camping - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 40000
last updated: Mon 8th Aug 2011

Though only in it's 3rd year, Rewind is considered by many festival goers, of a certain age, as the premier eighties event of the year. Each year attracting big names from the period, and 2011 is no exception. During a recent break from his British tour which culminates in somewhat of a class reunion for 62 year old Billy Ocean and many other 80s stars at Henley on August 20th and 21st, eFestivals chatted with the most successful British black male artist of all time.

Billy Ocean
How does it feel to be invited back to perform at the 80's Rewind Festival?
It is a compliment to be asked back for sure. As an artist you either love or hate festivals as you only ever get one chance and you're sharing the event and equipment with other artists. There is very little time to run sound checks, so you just kind of grit your teeth, be sure to be professional, and try to give a good performance. You have to work with what you have, be open to how things go and be patient. It is a very organic experience, very natural and spiritual, as so much of the performance is out of your hands. You just leave those things to fate and try to enjoy the vibe.

Does it make you nervous at all, connecting back to such an incredibly successful period of your career, by performing at Rewind?
For me it's a great feeling. I was part of the 80's scene for a long time, o it's nice to be able to come back to Rewind for a second time. Also many of the people performing then were a part of my life really. Guys like Kim Wilde, The Real Thing and Kid Creole. We weren't real close, but we'd see quite a lot of each other on shows or passing in corridors, and it's nice to get the chance to see them again.

You took a break from your career before coming back a few years ago. What did you do during your time out?
There is no doubt, I was very lucky to be able to take some time out. I had been working hard for a long time and could afford to do it. I was not mega rich, but I was at a stage in my life when my kids needed me, if only as a taxi sometimes. It was great to spend so much time with them in their early teens. I truly consider my kids to be my major success. I had regularly been pulled in different directions and one time I was sat in a hotel in America on my own and I started to have doubts about what I was doing and took stock of things. I decided I wanted to help my wife and not to have the kids grow up without me knowing them, but rather to share the experience instead. God is the judge at the end of the day.

You took quite a long break, was that a conscious decision?
At the time I thought I wanted to come back sooner, but looking back I realise it would not have worked out if I'd come back any sooner. I now have a great and, a really good management team and I feel good about what we're doing. It's like we're providing a public service. Plus my daughter is on stage with me which I love, and she still calls me Dad.

With so many of those at your gigs growing up with your music, do people often treat you like an old friend?
The audiences are great, they did grow up with my music in lots of different ways. I get people come up to me and say thank you to me, because they played Suddenly at their wedding, or that they conceived their kid to Caribbean Queen. Though personally I'd rather have been there!! These are major landmarks for people and it's really nice to be a part of that.

You have a new album out, you're currently touring, earlier in the US, now the UK. So what's next?
I guess I've reached an age of realisation. I love to perform and it's more of a low for me now than ever. I feel I've done the hard work. I've been sold already. I don't need to sell myself anymore. I'm 62 years old. Age is a beautiful thing. The way you see Life changes, everything just makes sense and it's just nice to be here.

So what is your view on your life right now?
It all comes down to the fact that I can only be who I am. I am not the best singer, but what came out of me was me!! My success has been as me. I came to the UK as a 10 year old and have always been very happy in the UK. I had offers to move to the States, but I was with a good record company, and had Clive Calder taking good care of me. Why give that up? But right now, and this time round, it's been even better.

Really I'm reaping the rewards of the work I did, and I'm getting so much out of life now. I am very lucky for sure. And the thing is, in this crisis time my songs all mean something new: Red Light spells danger, Going Gets Tough, there'll be sad songs... So I think I am going to stick around for a little while longer!!


Billed as a celebration of 80's music and artists returns for its third year to Temple Island Meadows, near Henley On Thames. The festival is due to take place on the weekend of Friday 19th until Sunday 21st August 2011. The festival hopes to attract 40,000 to the riverside location.

This year's line-up features a rare appearance from 80s pop legend Holly Johnson, Village People, Billy Ocean, Bananarama, Haircut 100, Howard Jones, Hue and Cry, ABC, Fiction Factory, The Human League, Kim Wilde, Ali Campbell's UB40, Earth, Wind & Fire Experience feat Al McKay, Average White Band, Nik Kershaw, Candi Staton, and more. For the line-up details as available please click here.

Ticket prices are as follows, an adult weekend ticket is priced at £90, with camping priced at an additional £15. Tickets for children under 12 for the weekend are priced at £45 or £52.50 with camping, children under 3 can attend for free. Adult day tickets are priced at £47.50, and a child day ticket is £23.75. A campervan permit is priced at £75.

To buy tickets from Ticketline, click here.

To buy tickets from Gigantic, click here.
interview by: Paul Bullock

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st August 2011
Temple Island Meadows, near Henley On Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 3DB, England MAP
£105 weekend with camping - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 40000
last updated: Mon 8th Aug 2011


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