Sydney’s Greg Gould enlists some top shelf talent to help tip his hat to a golden year of pop music on his new album ‘1998’.
Released today, the record features collaborations with the likes of Cosima De Vito, Inaya Day, Zoë Badwi, Tania Doko, Katie Underwood, Damien Leith… even ‘Home & Away’ actress Lynne McGranger.
They tackle classic tracks like Janet Jackson’s ‘Together Again’, The Verve’s ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’, Madonna’s ‘Frozen’ and even Whitney Houston’s ‘My Love Is Your Love’.
To find out what inspired the new long player, we had a quick natter with Greg on the eve of its release.
Q : Firstly congratulations on the release of your new album. How long in the making has it all been?
A : Thankyou so much! The idea came about late 2017 with intentions to make it a 2018 release. I was born in 1988 and 2018 would have been the 20th anniversary of every song on that record but sadly my stepmum died suddenly of stage four lung cancer mid-production.
So we are now 2020 and it’s being released in her honour with all proceeds going to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer & Wellness Centre.
Q : How are you celebrating release day?
A : My boyfriend and I are celebrating at home with a listening party and my favourite bottle of red. Then my weekly live stream album launch series begins this Sunday LIVE on my Facebook page! :)
Q : How difficult had it been for you to keep all your guest collaborators under wraps?
A : Haha! I’m terrible at keeping secrets like that!! I kept a few up my sleeve to last minute though!! It’s been a long creative period so it was very hard to not shout my excitement from the rooftops.
Q : Of course, everything was no doubt planned to perfection for the release, but you didn’t count on Covid-19 coming to spoil the party. How have the virus and the ensuing shut down affected your plans?
A : Well live performance and press opportunities have been curtailed, sure, but at the same time I really feel this is the prefect “album for the people” at the moment at a time when people have the time to really listen to it.
Music can be very therapeutic and healing and my content generally comes with a lot of visuals so I’m looking forward to sharing them. :)
Q : Tell us about the concept of ‘1998’, where it came from and why it was such a seminal year for you.
A : Billboard Music hails 1998 as the best year in music of the ’90s and I have to agree. I initially looked at 1999 (with synergy to the Prince track) as the title. But alas ’98 just had so many more important and special songs that resonated with me.
Q : Was the album’s creation spurred on in some way by the success of your cover of Env Vogue’s ‘Don’t Let Go (Love)’ with Maxine?
A : Haha YES IT WAS! Absolutely I thought, well that worked…. let’s do more of that!!
Q : Each of the songs on the album originate from 1998. How did you decide on which songs to tackle?
A : That was both a joy and very hard. There are many that I considered that I still think would have been amazing as it really was a wonderful year of great music, but once I had the vocalists chosen it was easy to match up the right song to the artists I was collaborating with.
Q : Which ones didn’t make the cut? And why?
A : Some bangers!! ‘All I Have To Give’ (Backstreet Boys) almost made the cut but I had too many songs and confirmed artists that just suited the ones I eventually chose.
‘From This Moment’ (Shania)… this was chosen but got replaced with Celine Dion. ‘Dont Wanna Miss A Thing’ (Aerosmith) is a great song but I thought it had been done too many times at karaoke bars that I had the misfortune of hearing LOL.
And ‘Ex-Factor’ (Lauryn Hill); it’s one of my favourite songs but just didn’t suit the track listing I have chosen.
Q : Which of the originals means the most to you – and why?
A : ‘How Do I Live’ means the most to me because I’ve been singing it since I was a little boy. Mel Lewin is my best friend and backing vocalist and her Aunty Gail is also my singing teacher of 20 years. It celebrates so many special moments in my life.
Q : And how did you decide on the vocal collaborators who would best help your vision come to life?
A : Most of the artists I knew as friends and have wanted to work with for a long time or have worked with before. But there are a few that I reached out to cold turkey and was honoured that they said yes!!
Q : Who was the first to say yes?
A : Tania Doko! We had already worked on some music together and when this came about I knew I had to find a great song for us. Tania is one of my favourite vocalists and a big inspiration to me growing up listening to her. When she brought her friend and legend Eric into the fold – there track became just magical.
Q : The lead single from the project was a cover of Brandy & Monica’s classic ‘The Boy Is Mine’, albeit with a slight twist. You’ve recorded this one with UK singer Peyton. How did this one come to pass? And what made you choose it as the lead single?
A : I just love the arrangement of this song and the video is very personal to me as it really represent my childhood. Then having Lynne (McGranger) take on that role in the video and so incredibly acted – it just stood out for me. Peyton and I met performing at the Mardi Gras party together for the George Michael tribute in 2017.
Q : Have Brandy & Monica responded to it yet?
A : Not as yet but fingers crossed!!
Q : As you mentioned, it also came with an incredibly powerful music video, featuring Lynne McGranger from Home & Away. Tell us a little about that piece, because I know it’s a cause you’re incredibly passionate about.
A : I was severely bullied in school as was Peyton and we really drew from our own personal experiences. So that’s what you see on screen – all of the things this boy experiences – we went through, as do so many young kids.
We really hope it helps. And from the feedback from parents saying their children watched it and they went to school the next day and apologised to their peers for things they had said and done – my heart!!!!
Q : But it’s not just ‘The Boy Is Mine’ that you’ve created visuals for, is it? You’ve had quite the vision for this album of yours. Can you share some more teasers with us?
A : Hmmm cheeky! All will be revealed over the next couple of weeks but there are some beautiful stories we have told along with some fun and uplifting videos to hopefully put smiles on faces.
Q : You’ve poured not only your heart and soul into this project; you’ve also thrown quite a bit of cash at it too. But further to that, you’re being incredibly generous in donating all profits from the sale of the album to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre; a cause close to your heart.
A : Yes, Olivia is a huge inspiration to so many and I love that it’s Australian and when I was choosing where I wanted this money to go I wanted it to be special in honour of my step-mum Sharon.
They really do amazing work at the ONJ centre and I feel great about supporting them.
Q : And in lieu of live performance at the moment, you’re taking over the socials on Sunday nights for the foreseeable future to perform tracks from the album with some of your collaborators. Tell us all about that.
A : Expect fun, music, laughs, learn a bit more about me and get to know the guests! Week one we have Lynne McGranger, Joanne, Inaya Day and Katie Underwood, so it’s going to be a lot of fun! I may have a red wine, or two in hand! Lol.
Q : Who are your dream collaboration projects down the track? Who do you want to work with next? Or will the next one be an originals package?
A : Vanessa Amorosi and Katie Noonan are top of my list. But my next record I think will be original as I’ve got lots of songs that I’ve written over the years that need a home.
Q : You’ve followed up the ‘The Boy Is Mine’ video with a brand new for ‘Love This This’ (with Inaya Day) to co-incide with the album’s release. Tell us a little about this video.
A: Inaya and I collaborated on the narrative of this video and there were a few things that we thought of that we didn’t want to be too specific about because we wanted this videos narrative in a lot of ways to be interpreted by the viewer.
It’s about a young man who’s mother does not accept his relationship and kicks him out (could be for many reasons and we really wanted to leave that open) but the guy tries to mend the gap as he (of course) loves his mother and it’s not until his wedding day that she finally extends acceptance and the love. It’s really special and I hope people enjoy it.
Greg Gould’s new album ‘1998’ is available at all digital music providers now.
Catch him live streaming from his FACEBOOK page this and every Sunday from 7pm AEST.