Tevin Campbell ready for South African tour
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
Thirty-seven year old American singer Tevin Campbell wants you to know he is no longer the baby-faced kid who wanted a break from the music scene.
Campbell, set to perform in South Africa next month, said he was “very excited” to be coming to the country for the second time.
“I don’t think people know me. They remember me. The Tevin that you see in your image, that was the kid. There are a lot of things that people don’t know. There are a lot of things that I have to say that people don’t know,” he said.
Campbell was a musical success in the 1990s, when social media was unheard of and boy bands were starting up. His hits I’m Ready and Can We Talk catapulted him to global stardom.
Campbell was 12 years old when he first recorded songs with music great Quincy Jones. By 22 he exited the music scene and landed a six-year acting role on the theatre show Hairspray.
“It was my decision to stop making music. I wanted to get away for a while. I got a call for an audition for a play and really wanted to do a good job of that because people were doubtful,” said Campbell.
He performed in Hairspray on New York’s famed Broadway theatre strip and then traveled to perform in Australia for two years.
He recalled: “Australia was fun. People looked at me and joked, ‘Obama! Where’s Michelle?’”
His time away from the music scene led people to “wonder what happened to me”.
“One of my friends said he heard I was driving taxies in New York. I kind of just disappeared. But I had to live my life and grow up. It took a long time for me to do that. People don’t comprehend the pressure of starting your career at such a young age,” said Campbell.
He recently headed back to the recording studio after more than a decade.
“I just wanted to figure out what I wanted to do. I am working on some new music now. It’s a whole new thing. It’s like I started over. I am blessed. I can still sing,” said Campbell.
He added: “Right now the music and getting this album done is my main priority. It’s a concept album. I’m talking to a lot of different record companies. I’m deciding whether I could do it independently or with a record label.”
Campbell said he planned to launch his album by October or November. He said he planned to perform some new songs at his upcoming tour next month but would mostly stick to his classics.
“I’ll be stoned on stage if I didn’t sing the classics. I’m going to sing my little heart out. I always get a little emotional when I sing the old songs. It’s going to be fun.”
Campbell’s show dates are July 24 at Boardwalk Casino in Port Elizabeth; July 27 at Grand Arena GrandWest in Cape Town; and July 28 at Carnival City in Johannesburg.