Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Rich Beggar

Washed ashore on a lonely island in the sea is my latest guest, hip-hop lyricist, singer, songwriter, aspiring actor and radio personality Prem Sharma... aka Rich Beggar.
Currently presenting 'The Story SOUL Far on Soulstice Radio 24, Rich Beggar is no stranger to the world of radio, having appeared as guest artist, interviewee and talk panellist on many stations including BBC Radio 1, BBC Asian Network, Club Asia, Choice FM and UK Obsession FM. Using the pseudonym 'Just Prem', his first weekly radio show 'The Watershed Show' was broadcast on yesteryears folded Community Radio and  NTL Channel 8 - ACR FM.

Aside from radio, Rich Beggar is an accomplished singer, songwriter, rapper and live performer, with several recordings in genres of music ranging from Hip-Hop, Soul/R&B, Soulful House, D'nB and Asian Desi... receiving critical acclaim, laudatory reviews and chart topping success in the UK as well as Europe, Atlantic Stateside and Asian Music territories alike. 

When signed to Universal Music Group, Rich Beggar featured R&B vocals on the Indian No.1 smash hit 'Dil Jaania' - 'Bombay Bronx 2 album'.

Rich Beggar has recently featured on 'Global Music Unites' a digital-only album of exclusive tracks previously unavailable for download on any platform for release as a limited edition. 'Global Music Unites' brings together artists and musicians from the US and UK to raise funds for three charities - SOS Villages in Zambia,  Mission Direct (also working in Zambia) and The Hunger Project.

A freelance movie actor, Prem was credited as a 'Heavy' in the 2009 BIFA and BAFTA award nominated feature film 'Shifty' (also featuring on the 'Shifty Original Motion Picture Soundtrack' album alongside other guest artists :  Sway, Plan B, Riz MC & DJ Trax).  

Prem was also nominated for 'Best Actor' at the 7th Annual BFM International Film Festival for his debut acting role in the award winning short film 'mORALLY Speaking' made by award winning British Film Director, Lawrence Coke.

"My earliest recollections are of banging on any solid surfaces I could get my hands on around the house, trying to imitate the sounds of drums (be they American funk or traditional Indian) and drowning out loud vocals copying popular songs heard on the radio or from my mothers infinite Indian music cassette collection...  those good old grey and black BASF cassette tapes."

Luther Vandross - A House Is Not A Home

"One of my favourite Luther Vandross (cover/per se) ballads and in my opinion it unashamedly and explicitly defines the sheer delicacy, intricacy, conviction, control & adroit key fundamental elements and embodiment of a ballad, with Luther giving the new listener, fan, peer or student a masterclass performance on how a ballad should be sung and ought to sound like. 

This track has Luther’s inimitable, flawless and dexterous trademark style, stamp, delivery and polished poise written all over it, proving ‘how’ and validating ‘why’ he was regarded as an unprecedented and highly gifted unique singer, vocalist and legendary Soul/R&B icon of 20th & 21st Century for many like myself and no doubt still will be for generations to come.

I’d been first introduced to Luther Vandross in early 80’s by my (then teenage) sister Sunita (notably; ‘Never Too Much’, ‘Forever For Always For Love’ & ‘The Night I Fell In Love’) sowing the Soulful seeds in my psyche during bedtime solitary Sony Walkman wayfarer nights. However, this track holds fonder memories of me beginning to appreciate Luther’s richness, value and the vocal art form that Soul/R&B music had to offer.

A time when I really stopped in my ‘disco/electro/hip-hop/pop/new romantics’ tracks, stood up and paid closer attention to it and caught the incurable SOUL BUG of wanting to listen & explore more and more authentic Soul music... not to mention attempt to emulate Mr Vandross at any given opportunity. 

I still vividly and laughably remember to this day when I was too young to attend his 1986 London Wembley Stadium 'Give Me The Reason' Album Tour Concert by myself or with friends, that I was sanctioned the ‘lame, yet better than nothing’ permission to stay up late on a school night to record it off the TV onto one of my mum’s precious hidden away BASF VHS Video Tapes. Thereafter, I would maniacally rush home in my lunch break (wolfing my sandwiches with one hand, can of Top Deck lemonade shandy clutched in the other, satchel round my shoulder… pegging it down road after road weaving crossroad traffic narrowly avoiding being run over by a Ford Cortina) back to an ‘empty house’ (while mum, dad & older siblings were at work) only to religiously re-enact the recorded BASF VHS concert in the living room with TV on full blast… equipped with my dad’s marble cone shaped Phillips screwdriver (my trusty makeshift mic) trying to hit n hone all the unreachable Luther notes, making Luther facial expressions and striking all the Luther poses & camp choreography.. all the while convincing myself 'I was Luther' and the 'Wall Mirror was my Wembley Stadium'. "

Glen Jones - Show Me

"Albeit a smash hit and his signature tune... this song is my absolute all-time favourite, heartfelt and most cherished of all Glenn Jones songs as it once again holds such fond and fun memories of my coming of age adolescence.
I was introduced to 'Show Me' by my older brother Rav (Ravi)... it featured on one of his Soul Searching Volume One album cassette tapes released by Jive back in 1987, which he so kindly passed down to me (that’s after him buckling to years of my begrudging, begging, bribes & blackmail) along with Volume Two that I still sentimentally own both to this day as priceless prized possessions.
I fell in love instantly with 'Show Me' from the intro adlibs and opening bar on verse 1; “I’ve been watching you just to see how far you would go”… His voice was (and still is) so uncontrovertibly rich, real, explosive, powerful, thick, pure and sure in tone, texture and timbre that it grabbed me straight away. Not to mention his dizzying heights high register falsetto that was humanly inconceivable and seismically off the Richter scale, insane and unimaginably achievable for my impressionable, pubescent and explorative ears at that time.

I would rewind, replay and imitate any of his falsetto parts with a loud squawk for hours on end until I realised my parents had been yelling “vill ju please shuuut uuup Prem” from downstairs, neighbours banging our bedroom walls with “turn it in’.. will ya!”, my underdeveloped deep voice more confused and abused than ever and my treasured Soul Searching cassette confiscated and hidden once again by my beloved browbeater brother leaving me bereft, blubbering and blue pining for its return back to the tape deck.

I have had the honour and absolute pleasure of sharing this story on a few occasions with Glenn Jones (or ‘The Ambassador of Voice’ as I’ve personally dubbed him) while swilling a few glasses of wine and discussing our favourite vocalist and songs. That on the last occasion, much to my delightful surprise, while rapping new material and then singing an impromptu 'Eye of The Sparrow' acappella backstage at one of his concerts, he serendipitously joined in mid-way all the way to the end until we both finished the very last note together with a jubilant and celebratory hi-five. It was definitely one of the most memorable moments in my life which I’ve jarred forever and cherish.

So this song would without a doubt would be one I’d regularly listen and sing along to on my deserted island and perhaps one with its eardrum piercing ultrasonic falsetto might even invite some unannounced game for me to hunt and feast on! "

Mint Condition - Pretty Brown Eyes

"Mint Condition is unquestionably my best-loved band of all time and will continue to be for many more years to come!

Those who know me well enough and long enough can testify that I’ve always been an ardent die-hard fan, loyal FOOM and staunch supporter of their sound, style, movement and almost underground cult following since their impacting debut “Meant To Be Mint” import album hit our UK shores & specialist stores back in 1991 on Perspective Records.

Their soulful Sheppard and crooning Chieftain; lead singer Stokley Williams is my most influential and revered (‘desert island’) vocalist of vocalist’s… given a choice to be stranded with only one vocalist on our planet, without any hesitation it would definitely be Stokley who I’d select and study under close aural observation and Stroboscopic analysis. His ‘Lyric Tenor’ (G2-G#5 3 Octaves & 1 Semitone) earth, glass & Wurtzite Boron Nitride shattering range, masterly command of pitch, vocal register, resonance, pupil dilating jazz scatting contortionism and breath defying control - coupled with each band member’s musicianship of an authentic animated unfeigned and uncompromising high calibre makes them an unsurpassable SOULsonic force and consummate ensemble yet to be second and reckoned with.

Their eclectic Soul, R&B, Jazz, Rock, Indie, Funk, Salsoul, Hip Hop, Soca sounding gumbo genre they single-handedly created, carved, coined and still cater for salivating Mint-Head’s on bended knees devotees like myself …“served over wild rice with a hint of mint sauce” – (as they so aptly describe it on their 1992 “From The Mint Factory” album’s “Gumbo” interlude). As for “Pretty Brown Eyes”… well it was just the first of their songs I heard that got me hooked in perpetuum after stumbling over it on a quotidian looking half snapped shabby cased TDK D60 muffled sounding cassette mixtape that my Soulboy friend Shyam lent me that he’d acquired from his hometown of Harrow, West London. 

Le reste est de l'histoire!!! "

Gary Taylor - Take Control

"I first discovered Gary Taylor in the fall of 1994 while studying at Kingston University in Surrey. At the time I was dating an overseas fine arts student, Deborah from Trinidad. While she was brushing her canvass and fervently yapping away in her colourfully oscillating thick Trini accent, I had one ear on mute and one eye inconspicuously fixated in the direction of my trustee tape deck’s pause & record button transitorily pressed down with my twitchy index finger by my side stealthily lying in wait on standby mode for any ephemeral soulful gems and bewitching biscuits to appear amongst the irksome and invasive vines of predictable poppycock bubble-gum diluted R’n’B drool that ‘was and still does’plague the radio (commercial compulsory popular playlist driven stations ONLY) for me to advance, attack & claim as a cassette classic.

Low and behold, a bolt from the blue and total game changer came along to literally whisk me off my feet and it took the form and title of 'Take Control'. From the attosecond of its opening signature slow-jam laden much favoured sound, gut winded kick drum & unusually echoed esoteric snare, I remember entering into an instant tunnel vision trance state and leaping off the bed in lightning-speed diving for the pause button like a death-defying goalie about to save a closing penalty shoot-out for the world cup final. The dive was a success (minus a superficial carpet burn to my knee & funny elbow crash into the corner of Deborah’s unforgiving mahogany oak wooden study desk) and I managed to record a momentous song which propelled my love for Soul Music into an even more deep-seated state and riveting realm that has since dictated and governed my sweet-tooth compulsion and passion for “mature meaningful grown-folk adult soul”.

Moreover, in stark contrast to my last two adored and admired vocalists, I find Gary Taylor’s voice to be more gentler, controlled, comforting, cosy, cushiony, affecting, poignant, patient, effortless, subtle, soothing, sensual, spiritual and even hypnotic to the point you forget your even listening to a singer singing a song on a CD, as he reaches so deep inside your own soul that you feel as if the internal monologues of your inner voice inside of you have now been given a vocal cord & tongue that’s managed to crawl from out of your ears and is now sat on the crown of your head audibly narrating the same sentiments your subaqueous sub-consciousness silently shares, thinks, analyses relates and feels, yet seldom ever announces or addresses them in such a categorically evocative, eloquent and articulate way that Mr Taylor manages to. His allusive lyrics, haunting chords,seductive synth effects and uniquely undertone stylised voice are like a 60 minute mawkish soul cleansing shrink session with profound, philosophical, reflective, infectious, mesmerising & uplifting holistic healing qualities that I always benefit from listening to GT. My all-time favourite lyricist/songwriter on planet earth... hands-down! 'Mature Adult Soul' at its very finest of the highest calibre anywhere to be found, heard, experienced and appreciated.

I wholeheartedly thank you and salute you Gary Taylor and let’s hope the long awaited 9th album (8 years in the waiting) 'Acoustic Therapy' is released before I’m stranded without a disc on Bill Fordham’s deserted island that silently awaits me! "

John Klemmer - But Are You Beautiful Inside

"I stumbled upon this stunning and sublime (yet equally sombre and sorrowful) sax solo, again back in the fall of 1994. It was the legendary transatlantic Soul & Funk DJ/Radio Jock Greg Edwards who played this very late into the night on his then ‘The Bridge’ show on Jazz FM. 
All I can succinctly say on this is that every second of John Kelmmer’s saxophone adds up to the sum total of my life thus far. For when I am no more and expire on either home ground soil or the sandy shores of a deserted island, I would wish this and only this to be played in my remembrance as a musical elegy."
The 'Global Music Unites' album featuring Rich Beggar is available through iTunes and you can use the album cover link below to get it from Amazon :
Check out Rich Beggar's Story SOUL Far on Soulstice Radio 24 :
Catch up on the latest and past show podcasts from Prem's Rich Beggar Mixcloud site :
Also, well worth checking out is the Rich Beggar website :


Unknown said...

What an extremely interesting story and so well written,thanks for the mention...very sweet to be remembered. It is an honour to have been part of your life in whatever small way...Thank you