Phil Collins returns to the airwaves this week with his new single, "Can't Stop Loving You," from Testify, his first solo record since 1996's Dance Into the Light. Collins crafted the album, due in stores November 12th, over a two-year period at his home in Switzerland, and recorded it in a France and Los Angeles.
"I'm very happy about what I've done," he says. "But I've got to let it go into the outside world now and see how it sinks or swims . . . The songs, they kind of grew on their own, [with] a little bit of nurturing, a little bit of watering over the last couple of years. They're pretty optimistic. That's kind of where I am in my life. I'm very happy. At one point I was thinking, 'Why do I need to put these songs out? Why make a record? I know they're good, Why let myself open to abuse and criticism?' And this little thing came up on my shoulder and said, 'Because that's what you do.' So I figured, 'OK.'"
Most of the album's twelve tracks are derived from demos Collins made in his bedroom studio and finished off with the help of producers Rob Cavallo and James Sanger, engineer Allen Sides, guitarist Tim Pierce, and bassist Paul Bushnell.
Collins will not do any extended touring behind Testify, because during the album's recording sessions he developed Sudden Deafness in his left ear. "I will be playing live whenever I feel like it," he says, "but I gotta be there for my family now." Collins and his wife Orianne have a one-year-old son Nicholas.
He is not ruling out a future Genesis reunion, however. "I've talked to Tony [Banks] and Mike [Rutherford] about [how] we should never rule out doing something together again, either as Genesis or as three writers writing together," Collins says. "But I think to me the most interesting possibility is the original five of us [Collins, Banks, Rutherford, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett] getting back together again. But I think depending on who you talk to, you get varying amounts of enthusiasm. Peter, who I've read has said it's taken twenty-five years to get rid of the 'ex-Genesis singer' stigma, he probably doesn't want to go back into it. And I kind of think that's a little off-centered thinking, because you do it as a one off. I don't see it as career threatening, and I think maybe he does because he's created something for himself which he doesn't really want to dent."
Collins' next project will be his second animated feature film soundtrack for Disney. After the success of 1999's Tarzan, for which he won an Academy Award, Collins has been drafted to co-author the music for upcoming movie, tentatively titled "Brother Bear."
For now, he hopes to Testify will open a glorious new stage of his career. "There's a certain thing you go through, it's like some kind of Stargate or warp where you are established, then you become a dinosaur then you go through this mist, then you come out as an older statesmen, this un-knockable," he says. "It happened to Elton John, it happened to Eric Clapton, and maybe my time is just around the corner."
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