Take along look at tomorrow’s pop stars.
These are the faces that will haunt teen bedrooms, city billboards and gossip columns.
Today there is more to pop than music- he new breed have to be media stars, models and business men.
Swoon if you must, says Peter Martin, but these boys are more than pretty faces.
Portrait by David Bailey
They say that music trends move in 10 year cycles. Ten years after punk, a new breed of would –be stars has emerged. They could hardly be described as a new movement- they straddle every musical style from reggae to rock. What they share is an attitude that belongs to the mid-Eighties. It places a much emphasis on style as it does on business acumen as it does on songs. The new breed of performers know they must be jacks of all trades and masters of the lot.
Groups like Midnight, Brother Beyond, Curiosity Killed the Cat , Morgan McVey, Floy Joy and Then Jerhico-whose ravishing lead singers we assembled in David Baileys studio-take their cues from performers like Sade and Simple Minds, Michael Jackson and David Bowie. They epitomize professionalism, and believe in hard work and supplying a quality product. They have no time for gimmicks. They want lasting success.
In January the controversial Sigue Sigue Sputnik signed to EMI records for a reputed 4 million pounds. They took image consciousness to the extreme, boasting of their musical lack of ability and concentrating their energies on shock –horror concepts that would make them today’s front page news and tomorrows fish and chip paper .
Sigue Sigue Sputnik are the ultimate gimmick.
In the present economic climate, the new breed can’t afford to take risks like this. As mirrored in our fashion business, new music talent is being forced to grow up, shape up or ship out. The music industry no longer has the time or money for radical games, no matter how novel or innovative they may appear.
Once a groups image is decided on and the record is made, its time to perfect the marketing. That means surrounding themselves with an efficient team of lawyers, accountants and managers (rather than groupies and cocaine dealers) who will ensure that they are not exploited, collect their due rewards, even advise on investments.
Every day pop music moves nearer to the spirit of Hollywood. It is not the film stars who now make headlines but the pop stars. Through video, TV programmes like Miami Vice and the increasing importance placed on pop soundtracks for films, pop sells anything and everything. Its stars are no longer scared to admit their desire for wealth, fame and a life in the fast lane.
To secure worldwide sales (America is where records make money) and acceptance, these boys must have a lot to offer. No longer can they get by with usual good looks: they need to be unusually good looking. All six of ELLE’S new pop stars could easily find success as models-and of them most already have.
Swoon if you must, but these are not just pretty faces. They understand the media, know its worth paying for the best producers and care desperately about their work. The race between them all is for success. It starts here!
When Desi Campbell, 24 took over as lead singer with Floy Joy last spring, the group was in a state of flux. Their first L.P ‘Into the Hot’ released earlier this year had won critical flavor but didn’t sell. A new strategy was needed.
Desi, then on percussion, was moved up front for his big break. This year they released their second L.P ‘Weak in the Presence of Beauty’ again produced by Don Was in Detroit. They’ve still to crack the charts but Desi has faith. He wants to be a star.
Four years ago he was a face in the Midlands club scene, and did some modeling in the provinces-‘I just loved showing off really’ .Then came Floy Joy. ‘I knew they had something very special going for them. There was a great Smokey Robinson influence and they where trying to capture the euphoric soul of the Fifties and Sixties but with modern, even futuristic, technology. Their ideas were brilliant’
Desi’s father ran a Reggae sound system, so like all six front men, Desi has been surrounded by music almost from birth. His tastes have ranged from Motown to Led Zeppelin, and now he’s found himself in a group whose influences accomplish all his favourite styles.
He’s obsessed with clothes.Yohji Yamamoto’s in particular, though he admits he can’t afford many yet. Unlike his rivals he prefers to live out of London in Sheffield, where he hopes he wont loose his ‘grittiness’ Since he joined Floy Joy he’s stopped swimming and started smoking: such are the pressures of Rock n Roll.
Desi badly wants to be in the public eye, and thinks Floy Joy deserve a break. The songs are good great better than the pap in the charts. He admits to only finding his voice recently, has no plans for a solo career and would like to do some modeling again. But does he really want to be more famous than God? ‘No, but if I can become more famous than George Michael then that’ll do. No, don’t put that. Put George Michael’s beard. I don’t want to annoy anybody.