Byron Bay Bluesfest

Clarence Bekker

 

2001: Clarence Bekker decides to leave behind the successful Eurodance singer CB Milton and begins a new stage of his multifaceted artistic life.
After several of his singles hit the European charts, the singer of "It's A Loving Thing" and "Send Me an Angel " buys a one-way ticket to Barcelona. At this point Clarence already knows how far he can go with his voice; now he looks for himself and to find it, he wanders, accompanied by his guitar, through the Catalan streets and squares.

Then he toured Europe with 08001, one of the representative bands of the cultural blend of Barcelona, with more than 40 musicians from all over the world. In 2008, he launches with DJ Taito Tikaro several dance recordings." Shine On Me", with lyrics and vocals by Clarence, becomes a world hit and receives in Madrid the Best Dance Track of the Year Award.

In the tiny streets of El Raval neighbourhood Clarence meets producer Mark Johnson, who records at that time musicians all over the globe for Stand by Me around the world. The song, which now reaches more than 100 million views on YouTube, led to the creation of the Playing for Change band, with Clarence as one of the lead vocalists.

In 2009, the first album of Playing for Change Songs Around the World goes to the Top 10 of the Billboard pop lists of the United States. The first tour of the band conquered audiences from all over the world; Clarence shares the stage with legends like Toots Hibbert. The band performs at the Glastonbury Festival, where headlined Bruce Springsteen, and at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, seconds after the presentation of the documentary Peace Through Music. Alongside the Playing for Change band, Clarence has participated in about 300 concerts in more than 25 countries.

In 2012, Clarence released Old Soul, an album produced by Mark Johnson and Reggie McBride, who also performed as a bassist for Stevie Wonder and collaborated with personalities such as Michael Jackson and Aretha Franklin. The album pursues the soul-root sound of Sam Cook, Otis Reddin or Bill Wither. The record "Hold On" is not the Clarence's one that entered on the European charts in 1995, but an interpretation of Sam and Dave 's classic "Hold On, I'm Comin."

CB Milton
Born in Suriname in 1968, Clarence relocated to the Netherlands with his family at the age of six. Since then he developed a deep love for music while singing over the radio the records of James Brown, making him a self-taught musician. At the age of 18, Clarence joins the band The Swinging Soul Machine as lead singer. He is the youngest musician in the group's history. Three years later he began his solo career with Belgian producers Phil Wilde, Peter Bauwens and Jean Paul de Coster, the spiritual father of 2 Unlimited.

Ever since kick-starting his musical career, it is undeniable in Clarence the influence of legends of vocal jazz, funk and dance music that made him love the music: James Brown, Billy Holiday, Prince, Michel Jackson, and Whitney Houston. "Through the power of their music, they demonstrated that they can reach an audience of many colours", Clarence says.

In 1993, CB Milton's single "Send Me an Angel" topped the charts of the Netherlands. It was the first of several songs that conquered Britain and the Benelux countries, such as "It's a Loving Thing" (1994) and "Hold On (If You Believe in Love)" (1994).

Till the highest ground
This 2017, Clarence launches its own band accompanied by ex-guitar player of 08001, Francisco Guisado "Rubio", Charly Moreno on the bass and Carlos López on the drums. The cover versions give way to songs Clarence wrote and composed himself on the first album of the group, to be released this year, which brings together the rhythms and styles that have marked the singer's sensitivity. The result expresses the maturity of a musician who has moved from soul to dance music, funk and reggae and returned to them with the passion of pursuing "its highest ground".

The only thing that remains stable in Clarence through more than 30 years of artistic life is his particular voice, dark, deep and vibrant, able to channel a universe of emotions. On the stage, he is an orchestrator of happiness: he touches the sensations of the audience until the orgasm and merges with it as part of the experience of music.

No day is the same in Clarence Bekker's life: you can find him in rehearsals, recordings, concerts in any city in the world, and even in the streets of Barcelona, ??where he escapes from time to time with his guitar to drink from the energy of the city and return it to the passers-by in the form of music.

Clarence Bekker plays Bluesfest on Sun 1 & Mon 2 April



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