SOCIAL STUDIES: An Interview with Loose Ends Vocalist Jane Eugene
John Richards @jrichards202 | 3/21/2013, 12:39 p.m.
My only concern/complaint about Unsung, TV One's outstanding music documentary series about underappreciated artists, will, at some point, run out of artists to feature: Johnny Gill, yes but do we really consider Isaac Hayes "Unsung"? He has Golden Globe, Grammy, NAACP and SAG awards. Instead of chasing Stephanie Mills, the producers of Unsung should check out Jane Eugene and Loose Ends.
Formed in London in 1980 by keyboard player and writer Steve Nichol, Loose Ends is one of the most influential and underrated R&B groups. The trio, known for their smooth brand of R&B, has several hits including No.1 songs "Hanging On A String (Contemplating)", "Slow Down" and fan favorites "Stay A Little While, Child" and "You Can't Stop The Rain".
The Washington Informer sat down with vocalist Jane Eugene to discuss the history of the band, some of their early contributors and what lead to the break up and reunion of one of R&B's most "Unsung" groups.
Washington Informer: When I was doing research for this interview I read that you were discovered at a college fashion show. What were you doing before you were discovered at that fashion show?
Jane Eugene: Well I wasn't "discovered", I went to the London College of Fashion.
Washington Informer: Okay.
Jane Eugene: Right, that's where I went to college after high school.
Washington Informer: When you were in high school and growing up, were you performing? Were you singing? Or were you mainly into fashion?
Jane Eugene: I was in a steel band, with Russ Henderson, at Elmwood Junior School. You know, I had some musical talent with regard to...I could do timing. Some people don't have natural timing, or they can't hear timing. Jazz was a little harder for me because you got that weird timing in jazz. I remember the first time Carl (McIntosh) played, was it Miles (Davis) to me? I was like 'what is this?'
The Washington Informer: [Laughs]
Jane Eugene: Right? I've just been listening to commercial pop music so you can imagine it sounded like pots and pans to me when I first heard it, but I'm so grateful that I heard it when I was young, because now I can understand the signatures of it and how brilliant it is.
The Washington Informer: I can remember going on long road trips with my Uncle and he would play Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, (John) Coltrane and I was even younger, 10, 11 years old...
Jane Eugene: Oh, didn't it drive you crazy?
The Washington Informer: Yeah. But, you know, [Laughs] once you actually listen to it, you're like, okay, 'I get it.'
Jane Eugene: Yeah.
The Washington Informer: So how did you end up in Loose Ends?
Jane Eugene: I went to a party, had the weekend with my friend, Debbie, at the time. Steve (Nichol) started chatting her up right? He wanted to go out with her. And he said he just left the Royal College of Music. And he was given it some. You know what I mean?