Many of us creatives work for many years and stay under the radar – not because we are not fantastic at what we do or don’t know how to promote ourselves – but because our time is not always ‘right’. Being in the right place at the right time is not just a physical thing; it can have an emotional and spiritual element to it as much as a physical one.
Take musician Roy Brown as a great example. As his website says, “with his traffic-stopping combination of superhero build, a high-precision bone structure fusing Jamaican, Chinese, Indian and Cuban genes, a full-body web of stunning custom tattoos and gender-transcendently luscious lips, eyes and skin, Roy Anthony Brown’s outrageous, ever-changing style manifestations have been igniting London’s most flamboyant club nights and the world’s most hallowed fashion pages since the glory days of Taboo, i-D, Kinky Gerlinky and Red Hot + Blue.”
Roy, or ROY INC, as he is known online, just also happens to be a super talented singer-songwriter with a massive body of work behind him. But it’s his latest collaboration that is truly making waves far further than ever before.
ROY INC wrote the lyrics and musical arrangements for two Horse Meat Disco Songs, ‘Falling Deep in Love’ featuring Kathy Sledge and ‘Waiting for You to Call’ featuring vocals from (you guessed it) himself. The songs are what he describes as a part of the “resurgence of disco, house, and dance music.” Inspired by the nostalgic sound of disco, exemplified by Roy’s smooth, high pitched melodies in ‘Waiting for You to Call,’ the tracks also have a distinctively fun and new feel. They are danceable and meaningful, as much at home in London’s nightclubs and dancehalls today as ever before.
Tell us about this latest song and how did you come to do it. And how did you come to collaborate with a Sister Sledge. . . Sister? How did that feel?
Roy: The lastest song for horse meat disco starring the amazing Kathy Sledge, came about when Jim Stanton, Luke Howard, James Hillard & Severino Panzetta asked me to attend a studio session with their friend producer Darren Morris. It was for the first track I wrote for them called Waiting For You To Call, which will be on their forthcoming album in early 2020 and their first originally produced album. When we were in the studio over in James’s appointment in Brixton, they came up with all this Music arrangement with Darren working on piano and days later sent me four drafted arrangements. The first being Waiting For You to Call and soon after the brand new song: Falling Deep In Love. Also penned two other tracks which are in recording stages for them also. I always collaborate with Darren and the HMD Boys to write, come up with the melody & Arrangement to write the lyrics. Luke Howard then sent the guide vocal track to Luke Solomon, who’s an integral part and part of the HMD Family! Plus DJ and Producer in his own right. It was Luke Solomon approach to getting Kathy to listen to the song which I heard, that she loved the first time around listening to it, and the rest is history. It felt amazing and also dumbfounding to be in the studio at the same time talking with her about the song I wrote and hearing her sing it in the recording studio. Still pinching myself!
What is the connection between the songs and Horse Meat Disco?
Roy: HMD have created three or four mix track albums which have been super successful and they feel now it’s time for them to create their first produced album written by them, with collaborations, singers, songwriters, producers & musicians to create which will be their HMD Debut Album. I’m really excited to apart of this amazing happening and the resurgence of disco, house, dance music creating a nu-disco for the New Generations.
Why are you not singing on the track [Falling Deep in Love]? Why did you choose a female vocal?
Roy: I wasn’t even going to sing on the very first track let alone the new song. The boys said it would sound great if I sang the first song because it felt so right! And with Kathy Sledge I could hear a female mega power house on this song. Massive shoutout to Luke H & Luke S for arranging to getting her. And luckily she loved it…
These two latest songs, in particular, have rewarded Roy’s time spent under the radar. He’s been known for years for his deep involvement in London’s club scene, building his underground reputation in establishments such as Henry Africa’s and the Wag Club, all the while perfecting his musical craft. It would have been easy to write off a lack of initial mainstream music success as a waste of time. Artists go undiscovered. Roy, however, learned from his wait.
How much is your life being so involved in clubland in London affected your own music work?
Roy: I think it very much contributed to the way I hear music. The clubs and pubs I went too over the years like: Henry Africa’s, Kinky Gerlinky, Taboo, The Wag Club, Copacabanas, Heavon, Lift, Hippodrome, Eagle London, The Market Tavern, The Bell, Queer Nation, The Fridge & The Prince of Wales both in Brixton Etc the list is vast! All those djs tunes and environments contributed to how I write lyrics. It has to have a soul, the narrative has to have light at the end of whatever story I’m conveying. Uplifting sounds, stomping tunes and a great rhythm with lyrics that have some feeling and meaning.So the sounds of Rock, Electro Pop, Disco, House Beats, 80’s Rap, Classical and Jazz Breaks all come into play when I think of arrangements, writing in the mix and melodies.
For you, what is the most important feeling when making your own music?
Roy: Writing the truth, My Truth. Whether it’s my experience about what is ‘LOVE’ really, friendships, who am I in this bigger picture, encounters, social commentary, The landscapes of greed, hope, loathing/hate of certain situations and the passion & joyfulness of other situations past and present…
Today, the timing is finally right for a talent such as Roy’s to emerge. He released his solo album, “We Were Here, I’m Just Like You” in 2014, at which point he was noticed by Jim Stanton. Roy seized the opportunity, collaborating with Stanton and other producers on a series of works, culminating in his latest with Horse Meat Disco. Roy’s delayed success is proof that it’s never too late to enter the game and a hopeful lesson to other young creatives biding their time.
How does it feel at this point to be getting a whole new set of listeners to your music, as this track is getting such a wide variety of places it is being played?
Roy: It’s truly Epic!! […] Gaining this generation and new listeners on all demographics around the globe is an amazing feeling, to know the narratives in my emotions, mind, heart, and soul through life experiences with family, close friends, relationships, part-time lovers, those too hideous to mention, & faith on all levels is being heard by everybody & everyone. I like to think I write songs from a Factual, Fairytale, Fictional, Epic, Dramatic, Childlike but with an Adult emotional State Of mind and state of mindfulness. And hearing the song played on the likes of BBC1, BBC2, BBC6 Radio Etc by world-renown radio presenters is sensational.
What’s next for Roy?
Roy: What’s next! As well as the new song I’ve written and collaborated on with Joe Goddard Of (Hot Chip) & George Thompson Track called: OFF/ON. Release date in early 2020And a few other really exciting music projects I’ve either finished or am in the middle of with producers Dominic Dawson, Alessandro Massarini & Urvin June. I’m working on my brand New Album with producer and musician Darren Morris who has an awesome musical background history. And the Album will be called: RÜMSPRINGA a fusion of different music sounds and genres to bring you the new sound of ROUGE MUSIC in which we create for a new genre in music. General release date around April 2020 on Digital release, Apple, Traxsource as well as Label distribution.
More music, videos, images and style from ROY INC, can be found on his website, here. RÜMSPRINGA, featuring producer and musician Darren Morris, is scheduled for release in April 2020.