For New 'Angels' Set
|BY SHAWNEE SMITH|
YORK - Musical misfit Tricky isn't the bad boy people portray him
"I grew up in the ghetto environment," says the British-bred artist. "And when me and my friends walked into town, you could tell by the way we dressed that we didn't have money. When people in the shops who have money look at you [funny], it kind of gives you a chip on your shoulder. It seems like a tough-guy thing, but it's really a defense mechanism. Surviving in the giletto is hard."
At the same time, he says, few people in the media have taken the time to get to know him. "They always try to analyze what's going on in my head," he says. "To them I'm just some strange black kid."
It's hard to say what those critics will think of his latest set, "Angels With Dirty Faces," when it streets internationally June 2. The release by 4th & B'way (U.K.) and Island Records (U.S.) was influenced by Tricky's current residency in the U.S., where he's lived for three years.
"I wasn't inspired in
|London," he says. "I
know English culture, and I wouldn't have been inspired enough to do ["Angels"].
I am a totally different person in New York. It helps keep my feet on the
ground, because there are so many successful people here. It's not a big
deal. As a black guy in England who's successful, I get noticed a lot.
But here I'm not even considered successful. I get treated like an average
person. [In England] I was stressed hard to live up to what people think."Named
after a 1938 James Gagney movie and recorded in New Orleans, "Angels" includes
12 courageously funky trip-hop tracks in its U.S. version; the U.K. release
may contain a few extra songs. It also features "a lot of well-known musicians,"
Tricky says. Two that he hand-picked for the project are long time collaborator
Martine and Polly Jean Harvey.
"I like things that sound strange," says Tricky about his choices. "So I wrote a song as a black woman from a broken home and let PJ Harvey sing it. Martine has always [been]
|singing my lyrics, and
I [still] think it sounds strange to hear my words come out of her mouth."
Martine is featured on the album track "Mary McGready."
"Broken Homes," featuring Harvey, is slated to be the first single from the set. The track's international radio and video release is set for May 11.
"We have a lead single with two of the most innovative and critically acclaimed artists of the last decade," says Andy Tribe, marketing manager at Island (U.K.), who expects the interest surrounding the single to effectively set up the album.
In the U.S., the single will be backed with "Money Greedy."
"It's a double A-side," says Jill Thinlinson, associate director of marketing at Island (U.S.). "They are two songs, that, as far as Tricky is concerned, go completely together and should not exist without each other."
The videos for both were shot the week of April 15 in NewYork and are interrelated. "It's like part one and part two of a story," says Tomlinson.
| The single
will be serviced to alternative and college radio in the U.S. and alternative
radio in the U.K. Island (U.S.) will also service radio with a hip-hop
remix of "Broken."
Tomlinson says the label's black music artist development reps and black college reps will also be working Tricky's singles at predominantly black colleges.
"We are definitely trying to cross over; but not into the hip-hop market," she says. "Tricky has taken steps [in that market] on his own. He's hoping to do anything he can to involve that community."
"Tricky has made a record that can take him back to the level of 'Maxinquaye,' "says Steve Matthews, head of international at Island (U.K).
"Maxinquaye," the artist's acclaimed 1995 debut album, sold 800,000 units worldwide, according to Matthews. Tricky's second set, 1996's "Pre-Millennium Tension," sold 450,000 worldwide. He also released a five-song EP, "Tricky Presents: Nearly
|God," in the U.S. on
Payday Records between the two sets.
At retail, Island (U.S.) will be concentrating on independent outlets, "where the core Tricky fan shops," says Wayne Chernin, the label's VP of sales and field marketing.
The label also will rely on the major chains that stocked "Pre-Millennium Tension."
"We consider Tricky a very important artist for the future," says Tom Overby, senior buyer for the Best Buy chain. "[He] ties together a lot of different styles of music. He could be the type of catalyst of the whole new trend. He will definitely be one of our focus artists this summer."
Tricky's international promotional tour began in late March. According to Matthews, he visited all the European territories and conducted international interviews in London. He has already appeared on the cover of London's Time Out magazine and in the London Sunday Times, and he'll be on the August cover of Musician
|magazine in the States.
Island (U.S.) is also looking to book several late-night TV performances.
Tricky's U.S. promo tour will run the week of May 1-7. The U.S. tour for the artist, who is booked by Marty Diamond at Little Big Man, is slated to begin July 8 or 9 and go through Labor Day, with international dates scheduled for the fall.
Tricky will also be featured with U.S. labelmate Pulp on a nationally syndicated half-hour TV special that is being produced by his label in association with EntourVideo. The show which is scheduled to air in the U.S. in June, will feature old Tricky videos, as well as ones for "Broken Homes" and "Money Greedy."
Tricky is managed by Danny Heaps of I.D. Entertainment; his songs are published through Songs of PolyGram Inc./BMI.
Assistance in preparing this article was provided by Dominic Pride in London.