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02 février 2008

Peter Gabriel gets Candid, Named Person of the Year at MIDEM

Revelations, Renaissance and Rights: Peter Gabriel talked candidly about his life and dual passions: the music industry and human rights.

CANNES, France (Hollywood Today) 2/1/08 – Music superstar and activist Peter Gabriel was named Personality of the Year here at the MIDEM Music meet, which gave us the opportunity to catch up with one of the most enigmatic and engaging figures in entertainment.

REVELATIONS: Leg in plaster, as a result of a recent skiing accident in Switzerland where he ran into a rock, Peter Gabriel hobbled to the stage and pointed to the irony of the situation that, he a rock artist, had come off a poor second in a recent altercation with the real thing. The last time he had broken his leg, he told the packed auditorium, was jumping backwards off the stage into the audience. The interviewer remarked that stage-diving was a common enough feat. When Peter Gabriel quipped back “real men do it backwards!” the audience erupted, they were going to be entertained as well as enlightened.

Asked why it was that he had decided, 30 years ago, to pursue a career as a solo artist after founding the fabled group Genesis, Gabriel revealed “It was really a decision to get out of the music business so it wasn’t a decision to go solo. Our first child had just been born and she was in an incubator for three weeks, at the same time the band were trying to finish an album off, for me there was no question of priorities. I hated the feeling that in two years time I would know exactly where I’m going to be and what I’m going to be doing, I wanted a sense of freedom, so I just stopped everything for about a year and worked on my vegetable garden very unsuccessfully but enthusiastically.”

Genesis first album was “From Genesis to Revelation” and he left in 1975 after the classic progressive concept LP “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.”

It was Gabriel’s deep-rooted love of song writing that had brought him back into the business, he said. “But the only catch to that is very often no one wants to record your songs, so you have to do it yourself. So I got back into singing.”

The song about his departure from Genesis “Solsbury Hill,” led a string of solo hits and early MTV video breakthroughs including “Sledgehammer,”Big Time,” “Shock the Monkey,” “Biko,” and “Games without Frontiers.”

Later, he created Real World Studios and record label, which came about as a result of Gabriel’s involvement in world music festival WOMAD 1980. “We had all these amazing artists coming through who at that time, could not get signed to labels.” Virgin offered £10,000 for each release — out of which the artist’s advance, the making of the record and sleeve all had to be funded. It was, he said a tight budget but a good discipline.

It was clear that Gabriel cared passionately about the spirit of music and the freedom of the artist “My dad was a dairy farmer and was one of the first farms to introduce loud speakers to the milking parlour and what he found out was when you treat the cows well they produce more and better quality milk!”

RENAISSENCE: Dealing with the digital earthquake that Gabriel saw it not as a death knell for the industry but as a rebirth “All sorts of wonderful new life forms grow out of a corpse and sometimes there’s a smell! I think both things … as a studio we get less today than we got 20 years ago per hour , that’s not a good business model ….but at the same time there are all these exciting opportunities and my own passion and hope is that the fundamental revolution in the economic model is the fact that in the old days you had to convince someone you were going to sell 100,000 copies to get into a studio – that’s gone; people can make records in their bedrooms people can survive with 100 fans if they’re passionate enough and willing to pay. So if the economic model really catches fire, which it will do, then all sorts of new forms of music will exist that were not commercially viable…there should be a renaissance of creativity.”

Speaking about the bands and brands furor, Gabriel said that advertising could represent “Free music for an audience that had grown up expecting music for free” as long as that advertising was well targeted.

Gabriel applauded Radiohead’s initiative in letting fans choose the price they wanted to pay and thought that the download could co-exist with and indeed complement the physical product: “I went for the full £40 package and I think there’s going to be a lot more of that- where you can get access to the stuff free, check it out and then get extra added material digitally where you pay something, but not very much and if you want a physical product that’s the deluxe package… and all those models can co-exist and keep the music business alive.”

RIGHTS: At the press conference Gabriel expanded on what was clearly his great passion: the ELDERS and WITNESS programs and saw the mobile phone and associated technology as a positive force in the fight for human rights. In reply to the question how was he able to switch from the arena of technology to the African and human rights world Gabriel responded “I think they connect very easily….this young African woman was asked by a journalist what is going to transform Africa and get it out of the mess and she pulled out her mobile phone and she said ‘This!’ The journalist said to her, I don’t believe in one technological fix changing the world and she said ‘You don’t believe in the wheel, you don’t believe in fire, this is going to have more impact than those.’ and I think she’s right”

In essence Gabriel saw the mobile phone as essential in transforming the developing world. It gave, he said, nurses the opportunity to report instantly and therefore they could combat disease more effectively. Furthermore, “Mobile phones could be used as a bank: people leave their country and can send money back to their village in the form of a phone call…this century’s financial system is going to be built on the mobile phone and the unit of communication as the currency.”

Peter Gabriel is a many-layered man, he has helped countless artists to spread their spirit through publishing their music and has allowed us to share in musical experiences which, but for his efforts, we may never have been exposed to.

He continues to fight for the rights of the artist and the rights of the developing world.

Gabriel urged the press to help make their readers aware of his human rights programs and we at Hollywood Today invite you to go to the effort by clicking onto the website

By Veronica RamsdenFriday, February 1st, 2008

1 commentaire:

josh a dit…

Hey there. From The Elders' Every Human Has Rights campaign team:

We're really excited to see that you provided a link to our site. However, The Elders website address is actually

Thanks so much for that, and check it out!