The 70’s was a period that introduced a massive change in the music industry. Groups like Earth, The Commodores and Wind & Fire were leading the charts in the U.S.
A new type of music emerged on the arena that would transform the music industry forever…..DISCO!
This took the world by surprise and discoteques jumped up almost everywhere. Nobody can ever forget the popular Studio 54, which set up New York as the party central within the U.S. Meanhwhile, in Europe, a similar surge was happening, and Germany was at the middle of this transformation. Just one person in particular, Frank Farian, led the way for most groups to obtain their start in the industry with his vision and his own direction.
One group that he created was called Eruption, and the lead singer was a young, talented beauty known as Precious Wilson. Along with her as being the front figure, Eruption became the most popular groups of the age, with hit singles, amongst others, One Way Ticket and I Can’t Stand The Rain. It’s been a sincere pleasure to know Precious and here is the interview.
What was your childhood like?
I had a wonderful childhood. Education was a priority. Discipline was very strict in my school and the academic standards were very high. I remember having a real sense of freedom and a very happy childhood.
Any musical influences that you dreamed about becoming or being as famous as when you grew up?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved to sing and entertain.
There was always music in our house; and I can still recall the day my mother took me to my very first live concert in our home town of Kingston, Jamaica. It was to see a singer called Nancy Wilson.
Growing up I was exposed to many musical influences including Gospel, and Rhythm & Blues. I consider myself very lucky, because I grew up in an era of really great singers, such as Sam Cooke, Sam & Dave, Mahalia Jackson. Country Music and Ska music were my regular favourites. This combined with the home-grown music of Lovers Rock, Reggae and Calypso, Rock and Roll, and Classical Music, were all just a way of life for me.
What made you want to be a part of the music business?
My entry into the music business was not planned. In fact, the whole thing, I would say, was fate and part of my purpose. My original idea for my career was to be a graphic designer, or an architect, because I was very good at art, painting and drawing etc.
You were a part of Eruption, or shall we say, basically, ARE Eruption! How did that whole connection come about?
Thank you for your kind words. Again, I would say it was meant to be. I met the guys by chance.
What was it like working with Frank Farian and how did you feel about the other group, Boney M, also started about the same time as Eruption?
Working with Frank Farian was very easy to me. I was able to be myself, and express my own vocal style. I get on very well with all the members of Boney M. I was especially close to Bobby Farrell.
Eruption started back in 1974. We chose to play together as a group, organically.
We were the support act for Boney M’s very first tour in continental Europe. Those were really exciting, fun times… “The good old days!” But, eventually, when our song I Can’t Stand The Rain started entering the charts internationally, Eruption stopped touring with Boney M, and we started our own tours, promoting our own songs.
What was the music industry like then when you first came on the scene?
When I came into the music business, the industry was totally different from how it is today. In those days artists would be given large financial advances payments from the record companies. There were more opportunities to sell more records.
Record companies were more willing to take a risk and invest in new artist long term. Your fan base grew from having the talent and the ability to do tour and live shows. Generally, singers had to really be able to sing; and there was no Internet, no MTV, and no Facebook. The artist was more able to make a living from being in the entertainment industry, and your intellectual copyright was protected. Nowadays, some people feel entitled to download your music for free, with little or no thought about whether or not the artist makes a living, or get paid for their work and their creativity.
How was it to deal with all the changes in the music industry?
Dealing with all these changes of success was not difficult for me, because at the time, I was not aware how popular we were; so it wasn’t an issue to deal with, I was too concerned and focused on being the best I could be.
I believe that my survival and the longevity of my career is due to my passion for singing, my experience, expertise that has developed over the years, and most of all, of my ability to perform live concerts.
Were you a part of the music making process with Eruption?
All five members of the group Eruption were involved in the process of making the music and writing the songs, whether credited or not. Obviously, in my solo projects and career, I was able to contribute even more, but generally there was a sense of equality in the band.
What did it feel like to perform in front of all those huge audiences and all those different places around the world?
It was and is a privilege and it’s still exciting to perform in front of huge audiences all around the world. Every audience is different, and you have a sense that you’re always proving yourself at every performance.
For me the size of the audience is not important, whether it’s three people or 30,000 people, I will still give the same effort because I know that they left their home, and pay their money, to come and watch my performance. I never take my audience for granted.
The 80’s brought a lot of change that paved the way musically for the 90’s. What changes did you have to go through musically and professionally once the 90’s came into full swing?
An artist always has ‘to go with the flow’, be flexible, reinvent themselves, and adapt to the changes in the business. I also believe that you have to be true to yourself, and ‘be you’, because ultimately that’s what makes you stand out from the rest; and that’s exactly what I did.
What was your favorite memory from the 80’s and 90’s?
My favourite memories of the 80’s and 90’s are the days of launching my single with the producers Stock Atkins and Waterman. Also, working and collaborating with James Brown, Elton John, recording the 20thCentury Fox soundtrack to the Michael Douglas movie “The Jewel of The Nile” and touring the USSR and promoting solo my singles, including my Billboard chart song “I’ll Be Your Friend”.