Been there, done that! From music to fashion, photography and even a stint in jail, there isn’t much that George Alan O’Dowd hasn’t done.
Boy George, as he’s better known as, has certainly led a colourful life – both literally and figuratively. Shooting to fame in the 1980s with the Culture Club and numerous hits (Karma Chameleon, anyone?), he’s also dipped his fingers into fashion with his own label B-Rude. Drug abuse and assault resulted in several jail stints and community service, but now Boy George is concentrating on what he loves best – music.
With a life like that, what else is there to do? inSing caught up with the man himself, to get all the details.
First things first – do you really want to hurt me? No, I’m kidding. But seriously, what is a karma chameleon?
Karma Chameleon is the fear of not standing up for what you believe in. Not acting upon your beliefs due to fear of being outcast by other people and later experiencing the Karma of this lack of self-indentify and truth.
You’re known to the general masses for being in the Culture Club and for making records. Ultimately, what do you want people to remember you for?
Simply as a singer, song writer and entertainer.
Most people don’t realise that being a DJ isn’t a new gig for you, how did you first get into it?
Yeah, most people think Culture Club came before the DJing but in fact it was the other way around. I fell into DJing in the late 70’s due to spending a lot of time around clubs and house parties and then Culture Club happened, so any desire I had to DJ really fell to back the back of the box. I never stopped DJing, I just wasn’t able to continue when the Culture Club phase kicked off.
Between DJing and making music (or specifically, singing), which do you prefer more, and why?
I love DJing but making music is where I’m most in my element.
Through your life and career, you’ve done quite a lot: Photography, fashion, prison, drugs, DJing, singing and road sweeping. Is there anything left that you want to do?
Yes, there are lots still but the one thing I am focused on wanting to do within the next year, hopefully, is to release a DJ artist album. It would be my first, which is surprising considering the time I’ve been in this DJ game.
You’ve worked with quite a number of people through the years, is there anyone else you want to work with?
There are a number of artists on my hit list but I’m not going to reveal any names just now because it’s likely some of them will appear on the album I just told you about. Although the album itself will not be a Boy George and friends type affair.
Or on the flipside, anyone you never want to work with?
I may have someone but you’ll never find out, haha! I’ve learnt to keep my big mouth closed about things like this these days… sorry!
With so many different interests, what’s one thing you’re really passionate about?
I know it will sound egotistical but I’ve become passionate about my own life a lot more recently. I’m enjoying working on a variety of different projects from my music to my fashion label and it’s all very exciting, I’m doing things to please me now which has been a hugely rewarding decision.
Which artists are you currently listening to?
I’ve been mostly head stuck into my laptop listening to promo tracks this week but away from the dance stuff, I’ve completely fallen in love with Paloma Faith, whose voice is divine.
Is this your first time touring through Asia – if it is, what are you expecting from the crowds here? If it isn’t, what was your previous experience here like, and what are you expecting from your trip this time around?
No, I’ve been to Asia many times in the past both on tour and just as a tourist. It’s a truly beautiful continent with so much diversity. I’ve been to Singapore before some years back on an earlier Koolwaters tour and we had a wild time. I met some great people and the party had a fantastic atmosphere; I’m really thrilled to be returning and spending more time exploring the city this time around too.
What should clubbers here expect from your gig?
A lot of good quality house music and a great night, also I’ll be trying out a few new club tracks I’ve been working on, so something special for you to look forward!
Music seems to come and go in cycles, what do you think of the current 80s comeback?
People are striving for music that isn’t so formulaic like a lot of the stuff that is around nowadays. It’s why classic rock bands are having a new lease of life with sell-out arena tours and enormous album sales the second time around. One of the interesting things about the 80’s at the time was that no one really liked it. In many people’s eyes there was nothing meaningful about us, except our big hairdos and unique fashion sense. Except we were actually a follow-on from the punk era; a scene I came from. So I can completely understand the thirst for these 80’s bands and the desire to tour again now that there are people understanding the music.
Your eye make-up is always impeccable, how does it always look so perfect and what brand do you use?
Thank you! Well practise makes perfect and I’ve had many years to get it right. Also my make-up artist, the wonderful Christine (Bateman), has been applying my makeup for years now so I can’t take all the credit. I use mostly M.A.C products.
Tell us a secret – what’s one thing people don’t know about you?
That I used to be in a well known 80’s band!
Catch Boy George at Zirca on May 29. For all the details, click here.