The legendary drummer and singer Phil Collins is one of the few artists in history who were able to be very, very successful as part of a band and as a solo act. The musician first achieved fame as the drummer for Genesis, a few years later also becoming their vocalist after Peter Gabriel left. He took another important step in his career when he decided to release his first solo albums in the 80s, which took them to a whole new superstardom level. He is one of the few artists who have sold more than 100 million records worldwide as part of a group and as a solo musician.
In the music business since the 60s, Collins toured, recorded and met some of the most brilliant artists from different generations over the decades. So he had the opportunity to be in touch with some of the most talented musicians of all time and that helped him to recognize right away someone who really has unique musical talents. In interviews he talked about a lot of new artists that appeared in the last decades and he even mentioned a singer that in his opinion is the most important one from the recent years.
One of the most important new singers according to Phil Collins
Since the early 60s, Phil Collins practically worked all the time, as a member of groups like Flaming Youth, Brand X and Genesis. He also had an acting career appearing for example in shows like “Miami Vice” and was a occupied producer especially in the 80s, working with names like Philip Bailey and Eric Clapton.
He always kept reinventing himself during his career and decided to retire in 2011, not long after the release of the album “Going Back” (2010). It didn’t take long until he decided to get back to the stage in 2015, which led to a global solo tour and then a reunion with Genesis.
During those first years outside retirement, Collins was frequently asked about the current state of music and about possible collaborations with young artists. In an interview with Consequence in 2016, he was asked about the British female singer Adele and he said she was one of the most important singers from recent years.
The musician was asked why their collaboration didn’t happen and if she had “chickened out”. He praised her and explained the situation. “That’s what she said. I don’t think she chickened out because it was me. I think she chickened out because she had kind of wound the thing up before she was ready to go. We met in London at her request, and she played me a piece of music.”
Phil Collins continued:
“I liked it, and she said, “Well, finish it please.” I took it back to New York and started to work on it. Then she became a little bit difficult to get a hold of. She said to me later, “I’m in a different place.”
“She wasn’t ready to do the record. But that piece of music still exists, and someone suggested to me that it could happen in the future. I hadn’t really thought of it, but if she wants to work together in the future, I’m fine with it. She’s great. I think she’s one of the most important artists in recent years. She is such a strong person, and her musical identity is so strong. She’s there for good, you know?” Phil Collins said.
Adele was born in 1988 in London, England, when Genesis and Phil Collins were massive groups and already had released most of their most successful music. She started her musical career in 2006 and had released only four albums. All their titles have only numbers, which are? “18” (2008), “21” (2011), “25” (2015) and “30” (2021).
Since the beginning of her career she won many awards and became one of the best-selling artists of the 21st century. She has sold an estimated amount of more than 31 million records worldwide.
He didn’t knew who Adele was the first time she got in touch to write together
Curiously, Phil Collins had no idea who Adele was when she got in touch with his manager to see if he would be interested in writing some music together. The drummer and singer recalled that story in an interview with Dan Rather in 2016 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage).
“Adele got in touch with my manager, who has been managing me for 40 years, a person I trust very much. He said, ‘do you wanna work with Adele? Because she requested maybe writing with you.’ It’s hard to believe, but I didn’t knew who she was because for a few years I lived under a Rock. I drank too much and I kind of out of the business.”
“You know, she just happened when I wasn’t listening. So I did my homework, I kind of did a crash course on Adele. We met in London and she sat down in my hotel room and said ‘I’d like to write with you’. I said ‘I’d love to work with you’. We sat down, I’ve made her a cup of tea. I didn’t really know her, she didn’t really know me.”
“She just knew me through my music, but we had a discussion. She said ‘I’ve got a bit of music here’. It was a bit like ‘You show me yours and I’ll show you mine’. She had a bit of music and she played it to me and she said ‘What you think?’. I said: ‘Well, it’s nice, I like it. I probably need to hear it again”. She said: “I’d like you to finish it’.”
Phil Collins continued:
“So I said, ‘Ok. E-mail to me and I will work on’. So she did and I got the piece of music. I had a little studio in New York for a while. I went into the studio and started playing and trying to work on it. Because it was a strong selection of bits. It was three really strong bits. I tried to add to it. In the meantime I was trying to get hold of her, get some feedback. She was very difficult at that point to get hold of. Which I heard happens to a few people with her. But in the end I emailed her, because I didn’t had her phone number. I just had an e-mail adress.”
“I’ve said ‘Are you waiting for me or I am waiting for you? Because it’s kind of quiet around here’. She said: ‘You know what, I’m going through some changes…” She had had a baby, she was moving, so she said: ‘I think we better forget about it for now’. Because I was worried I had failed the audition, you know. Because she was young and happening and I didn’t know if I wasn’t kind of what she expected, you know riddled with insecurities. But you know, she recently came out and said it was a little too early for her. Which is nice, because I know is still a lovefest,” Phil Collins said.
In the same conversation the musician said that he understands what she went through in her career. Because when an artist makes a very successful debut album, the second one would be a huge mountain to climb and the third one even worse. So there is a lot of pressure in that scenario.