We interviewed vocalist Randolph Matthews who is appearing in World Hunger Day Unplugged on 26th May at Pizza Express – on a bill entitled Jumoké Fashola and friends, with Barb Jungr, Anthony Strong, Tammy Weis & Mari Wilson. It’s the first day of a three day festival.
LJ: Tell us more about you
RM: I fell in love with music when I was seven years old, with two tape recorders in my bedroom. I learnt to layer up voices which, over time, got a bit lost during my teens. At 21, I left work to follow my heart and passion and pursue music as a career, re-kindling the layering voices I had learnt as a kid.
My first influences were the likes of Marvin Gaye, George Benson and Al Jarreau. Thereafter, I was inspired and focused on vocal exploration, improvisation and true experimentation: so drew from the work of Bobby McFerrin, Keith Jarrett and John Coltrane, amongst others.
LJ:Why is World Hunger Day Unplugged important to you?
Bottom line, The Hunger Project is focused on helping partner communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America end their own Chronic Persistent Hunger. Without basic needs being met, none of us have the energy, will or ability to help those closest to us and the communities in which we live. When I was in South Africa, I visited schools and met lots of children. Coming to school was the only way these children would have one meal during the day. When my own kids say to me ‘I’m starving’ soon after they have already eaten, so few of us have a genuine understanding of what living with chronic hunger actually means. There is enough food to go around in this wonderful world in which we live – we just all need to do our bit to impact upon the greater good. I want to be part of this awareness campaign to help ensure that we are all doing something to drive change.
LJ: What will you be singing at World Hunger Day Unplugged?
RM: When I am introduced on stage, the wording is always ‘Randolph does his thing…so without further ado, here is his thing…’. What that ‘thing’ is depends on the day and the audience. I may well be doing something interactive as well as my own version of ‘One World One Song’ too.
Regardless, my songs tell stories about the engaging song of people’s lives via my own unique version of story-telling.
I will probably also include a song from my new album.
LJ : What’s coming up next for you?
Randolph Matthews: I am now also getting ready for my ‘Voce Solo’ tour with London, UK and European dates. My London gig will be on November 1st, at Stratford Circus.
LondonJazz: All the best forMay 26th.
World Hunger Day Unplugged is a three day festival in support of The Hunger Project UK on Sunday 26th- Tuesday 28th May 2013 at PizzaExpress Jazz Club. Tickets from jazz (@) pizzaexpress.com / 0845 602 7017.