***UPDATE FRIDAY 10th June 2022***
Beverley has just called me to say ‘Salman’ has been given a reprieve and will not be returned to Iran this week.
Beverley also wanted to thank her local MP Alexandra Davies-Jones for her help and support. This isn’t the end… but hopefully the start of the beginning of the end.
Every time I release a new record I’m filled with equal amounts of excitement and dread. For weeks or maybe months you work on writing a song, recording all the various parts. You then work on the artwork to give your baby the best chance to gain some attention and find a place in the world. It really is like presenting one of your children to complete strangers and hoping they like what you created.
This whole process has been different and more difficult because of COVID and lockdown but its amazing how you find new ways of working when you are not able to be in the same room as your band and collaborators. Rather than releasing a whole album in one go I have gone back to the old way of releasing records, one single at a time. That’s all down to the way people now consume music which has changed due to streaming.
As a child growing up in the sixties I would buy singles that I heard on the radio. Actually, I would ask my mum to buy them on her weekly shopping trip to town with my grandmother. I still wonder what the shop assistant thought when my mum, in a very nice outfit with hat, bag and shoes to match, would stand at the counter and ask for the latest T. Rex single Jeepster!!!
Then along came the seventies. By the time I went to comprehensive school you actually judged a person’s musical taste by whether they were an album or singles record buyer.
Now things have all changed again. People stream playlists and download the song they like. I still produce CD albums but to be honest its only economically viable if I’m touring. People who come to concerts like to take something away to remember the event and a CD can be a nice memento even if you can’t find your CD player anymore.
My new single THE BORDER is now available to download, and stream and the accompanying video is on my website courtesy of YouTube. The good news is we have a bit of momentum. The last single has done rather well. ‘SO SAD’ reached No. 15 in the Heritage Charts, it currently stands at No. 11 in the Legacy charts and it’s been played on lots of different radio stations across the country. So will the new one be as well received or will people say its not as good as his last one!
*** UPDATE SUNDAY 12th June- FIRST BBC RADIO 2 PLAY ***
Let me tell you a bit about the new release, I’ll quote myself from The Border press release…
‘I’ve got to the stage in life where I want my songs to say something, to do my bit to help change the world and make it a better place for my own kids…and everyone else’s too while I’m at it. That’s why I wrote the song ‘So Sad’ to draw attention to domestic abuse.’
I think becoming a grandfather has started to change the way I view the world and how I view my music. Paul McCartney once wrote ‘You would have thought the world had had enough of silly love songs’. I’m pretty sure it hasn’t. Goodness knows I’ve written my fair share of them and I still do, but as I started writing this new batch of songs last year I really felt I wanted to write something…more.
At the time I was seeing nightly pictures of desperate people fleeing war zones and in every child’s eyes I saw my own children. It was a chance conversation with an old friend, the broadcaster and singer Beverley Humphreys, or the ‘Lovely Beverley Humphreys’ as I always refer to her, that gave me the story I needed for the song.
The Lovely Beverley Humphreys
If you look at Beverley you can be forgiven for not seeing the radical behind that smile…but a radical she is. She might have been High Sheriff of Mid Glamorgan, been awarded an MBE at the Palace and sung on concert platforms around the world. She might present a regular Sunday evening show on BBC Radio Wales where she encourages her audience to join her and ‘bring their dreams’ but underneath those carefully chosen outfits beats the heart of a lioness.
Beverley is, and always has been, a champion for the underdog. She is currently the ‘Trusted Adult’ for 5 boys who came to this country as unaccompanied children. The boys from Sudan, Eritrea and Iran came with plenty of emotional baggage but little else. They travelled across deserts and mountains, walked and slept in the forest, ran from bandits and crossed the sea in a boat unfit even for Blackpill boating lake.
The good news is that with Beverley as their guide, most are now in full time employment paying taxes and contributing to the land they now call home.
All except one of her boys from Iran.
‘Salman’, not his real name, is now in danger of being returned to the country of his birth to be faced with a life in prison or worse. In a recent phone call Beverley, speaking through her angry tears, said she would not allow one of her boys to be treated this way.
The question is why is she so concerned with the lives and futures of these young men?
For Beverley it really is black and white. Through her strong faith she sees the words as plain as day. A call to, ‘show hospitality to the stranger’, ‘defend the fatherless’ and ‘love the foreigner living amongst you’.
As she told me the story I couldn’t help but understand her motivation…but what can I do, I’m just a singer?
So I thought I would write a song telling their story. As I thought of the journey undertaken by ‘Beverley’s Boys’ it made me think of the Western films of my childhood where cowboys would be forever crisscrossing the border between Texas and Mexico. Before long the song was written and recorded, and the video edited together.
But there was something missing in the instrumental section. I rang Beverley and asked her to record ‘one of her boys’ from Eritrea reading some special verses in Tigrinya to be included in the recording.
I don’t know if the record will change anything for anybody. I don’t know if it will even be played on the radio, but I know its time for me to try to find a different song to sing. If you get a chance to listen to it please spare a thought for Beverley as she fights for the fatherless lads who now look to her for guidance. In my eyes she is a saint. As she says…
‘Wherever people cross water to find freedom we have a God given duty to show love has no borders.’
You can view the new video and find links to download and stream THE BORDER at www.malpope.com