Unplugged: Please give us a brief bio about yourself so our readers who may not know you can get a feel for who you are.
Upton: I’m Barry Upton, a self-confessed ‘pop tart’ (or musical prostitute) who has had many hit records internationally (including a few #1’s) as a songwriter/arranger/producer/performer, having been a professional commercial entertainer for over 44 years.
A former member of the multi-hit Eurovision Song Contest winning band Brotherhood Of Man, I later became a successful U.K. DJ and music producer, finally creating a worldwide pop sensation called STEPS who became a million sellers.
For the last ten years, I have been managing producer and presenter for Pattaya People Media Group on radio and TV.
Unplugged: How did you get your start in the music industry?
Upton: I met Brotherhood Of Man in a recording studio in London (I was creating something new in the next studio). They took a shine to me and I replaced an outgoing member.
Their manager, highly successful writer/producer Tony Hiller, took me under his wing and taught me all I know. We had quite a few hits together.
Unplugged: What instruments do you currently play? Are there any you plan to pick up still?
Upton: Guitar, keyboards and a computer are all I’ve ever needed to play. Anything else required I get a session player in.
(I might have a go at the Peruvian Nose Flute if time allows.)
Unplugged: I’ve always wanted to ask an artist this, do you listen to your own songs, or only if they come on the radio?
Upton: It’s very important to listen to your own music especially alongside contemporary stuff to make comparisons either at home or, indeed, on the radio. You must love what you do and be proud of your creations.
Unplugged: Who are your inspirations in music or life in general?
Upton: The Beatles, John Fogerty, Daryl Hall, plus almost every genre of music and, most definitely, 60s culture.
Unplugged: If you had to pick 3 tracks that you have performed, what would your favourites be?
All You Need Is Love – The Beatles
Rocking All Over The World – John Fogerty/Status Quo
Smooth – Santana
Unplugged: When was your first trip to Pattaya?
Upton: Early 2008 after an intense period of recording for an album deadline. Fell in love with the numerous ways to unwind here and, indeed, the weather.
I soon realised my motto for Pattaya … ’never a dull moment’.
Unplugged: Many people have left Thailand in fear of the Coronavirus. What made you choose to ride it out here?
Upton: This is my home. I have a fab pad here and a wonderful life. Isolating is no problem because, as a creative person, I will never be bored and have my studio at home.
Unplugged: Any new Coronavirus hit singles coming out?
Upton: I am in the middle of writing new songs for a forthcoming album, but I think the Corona parodies have been done to death. I prefer to look positively forward to when it’s all over and I can transport myself, via music, back to the 60s (see what I did there?).
Unplugged: Are you doing anything creative to pass the time at home?
Upton: Absolutely. Apart from the songwriting, I’ve, at last, finished my book ‘Confessions Of A Pop Tart’ with many stories from my life and music biz escapades. Also, I’ve been sorting out lots of old photos which have been laying around in boxes bringing back great memories of my wonderfully colourful entertainment career.
Unplugged: Any future concert plans after this all blows over? Or not sure yet?
Upton: I had, anyway, targeted March this year to curtail the overload of shows I’ve been performing recently (timing eh?), but when it’s in your blood, it’s hard to say no.
I’ve already achieved so much more than I could have ever dreamed of so anything else I do in the future is only a bonus.
Unplugged: Where is the best place for people to follow you or to get to connect with you and your music?
Upton: YouTube (many promo videos).
My recent albums ‘Peace, Luv & Hotpantz’ plus ‘Fab Baz Pop’ can be downloaded from Amazon.com, iTunes or any well-know music sites.
Let’s run through a few quick answer questions now that we got the long stuff out of the way.
Unplugged: Favorite Drink?
Upton: Pimms & Lemonade or Hoegarden beer
Unplugged: Beer Bars or Gogo Bars?
Upton: Gogo Bars (Beer Bars bore me)
Unplugged: Favourite Radio Station?
Locally ‘96FM’ – internationally ‘United DJs’
Unplugged: Favorite venue for performances?
Upton: Used to be ‘The Blues Factory’ – now ‘Hooters’
Unplugged: Soi 6? LK Metro? or Walking Street?
Upton: LK Metro
Unplugged: Are you a fan of Thai food?
Upton: Yes (Aroi)
Barry, we appreciate you taking the time to hang out with us for a few minutes. Stay safe, be healthy and we’ll definitely get together once all of the madness is over for a follow-up interview!