Advertise with The Big Takeover
The Big Takeover Issue #94
MORE Interviews >>
Subscribe to The Big Takeover


Shop our Big Takeover store for back issues, t-shirts & CDs

Follow us on Instagram

Follow The Big Takeover

Interview: Belouis Some

26 April 2024

When Belouis Some gets on a Zoom video chat from his London home, he’s in an upbeat mood because within hours, he’ll be flying to North America, where he’ll tour for the first time since 1988. The Alarm and Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel are also in the lineup for this tour, which kicks off on May 1 in New Orleans and runs through early July. Some is likely to receive a warm welcome in the States, where listeners will likely remember his song “Round, Round” on the soundtrack for the beloved 1986 film Pretty in Pink. During the 1980s, he also had international hits with “Some People” and “Imagination,” proving that there was a wide audience for his brand of emotive, danceable pop rock. The next decade was more difficult for him, as other musical styles such as grunge suddenly dominated the scene. Some felt sidelined – so he walked away from the music business entirely. Here, he tells The Big Takeover about his ups and downs, and what’s it’s been like to resurrect his career now.

How did you come to be on this tour lineup?

BELOUIS SOME: I dropped out of the music industry for a long time, and then about five or six years ago, a guy rang me up and said, “I want to do a small slot on summer festivals in the UK.” I said yes, so I did it. And of course, it’s like a drug, once you ask someone to go back and do something again. And the audience really liked it and they knew the stuff. I’ve got two young kids, and they were like, “Why aren’t you doing this all the time?” I mean, my kids didn’t even know I was a singer. Of course then COVID came and destroyed everything. So now, things are settling down, and [The Alarm frontman] Mike Peters invited me on the tour, so it’s great. I think it’s an interesting tour: you’ve got The Alarm, you’ve got Gene Loves Jezebel, you’ve got me, and we’re all completely different. I think it’s good value; I think you’re going to get your money’s worth from this ticket. I’m really happy because I’ve got a fantastic band of American musicians. You need a good band if you’re going to be a solo artist. I’m looking forward to it so much.

What can people expect when they come to one of these shows?

BELOUIS SOME: From me, you’re going to get 35 minutes of mainly songs that were all released as singles in one place or another. Full on – there’s no let up. This time, the songs are sounding the way that they sounded when they were originally recorded. When you haven’t played them for thirty years, they all sound fresh – they sound like new songs to me. I’m really happy to be playing them.

What did you do when you stopped being in the music business for a while?

BELOUIS SOME: Well, you know, it was forced upon me. The world didn’t want me. It was the ’90s, and I wasn’t big enough to survive the end of the ’80s. You were so bracketed as an ’80s act – and I wasn’t, really. I was making more rock albums towards the end of the ’80s. But I was bracketed. I made an album that was released in 1993 (Living Your Life), which I think sounds great, that never did anything. So I thought, “I can’t go through this again. It’s really painful.” Also, you don’t make any money. And record companies didn’t want to know [me]; I was toxic. So I thought, “I’m out.” So I got the money together and opened a bar/restaurant/nightclub – and hated every minute of it. I was desperate for it to close. Suddenly you go from going out every night, to having to go out every night. That was hell. Then I did a film company in the 2000s and did some film production stuff. And then my wife and I opened a nursery business about ten years ago.

Wow, that’s a radical shift.

BELOUIS SOME: When you have kids, you realize that kids, death, and doctors are what everyone needs forever. So I thought, “Right, this time, I’m going to do something that people always need.” So we’ve got a nursery business.

What’s it like to suddenly shift back to your music career after that?

BELOUIS SOME: It wasn’t hard. The hard thing is not having a record company, a tour manager, all the people that I had in the old days. So I’ve had to do all my bits. But people have been amazing. And Mike Peters from The Alarm is the best. He’s really helped me a lot. So it’s been great.

What do you think it is about your music that has made it stand the test of time?

BELOUIS SOME: I’m so grateful. You never write a song thinking it’s a throwaway. I mean, I wrote my songs believing that they were great and they were going to last forever. Now, some were rubbish. But you’re striving all the time to try and write something that will survive. I don’t think they’re that dated, my songs. I think the emotion in them is the same now. I don’t really write about things; I write about people. In the beginning, you’re always a bit nervous to write what you’re really feeling – but until you write what you’re feeling, you’ve got nothing. So I started being quite open about my emotions. There’s usually one or two lines in each of the songs that you can pick up on, I think.

A lot of people in the U.S. know you because of your song on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. How did you come to be on that?

BELOUIS SOME: I guess [Pretty in Pink director] John Hughes had probably seen “Imagination.” He rang me in the studio. I was in the studio doing B-sides or demos or something. He actually called, and he said, “This is what I want.” I think “Round, Round” was the only song that was written especially for the soundtrack. I think all the other songs were already out, or maybe rerecorded for the soundtrack. It was really hard to do, by the way. He obviously gave me a brief and told me what it was about. It was really hard. It sounds much better now live, to me, than it does on the record. I found a whole load of tracks of the actual recordings [of the song]. Bernard Edwards, he produced it, and obviously someone had mixed out some great guitar – really raw. And the drums are going crazy and there’s brass and all sorts of stuff. I think they mixed it all out and made it all nice and sanitized. But it doesn’t sound like that now.

So if we come to your show, we will hear it played in that more raw style?


Last year, you released a tech house version of “Imagination.” Do you have anything else in the works, in terms of more music being released?

BELOUIS SOME: I have an album of demos that I think sound amazing, but let’s see how this [tour] goes. It’s very emotionally tiring and exhausting to go away and record an album and to persuade people to put the money up and to do all that. And I’ve got a family now. I need to know if someone wants to hear it. So if this goes well, yeah. Obviously, I’ve got the bug, so of course I want to do it. I’ll get out there and I’ll start pushing for someone to help me record the album.

Anything else you’d like people to know?

BELOUIS SOME: I’m really excited about [the tour starting] next week. I’ve waited a long time to be back onstage in the States. Back onstage anywhere, to be quite honest with you. With a real band, sounding great. So I’m very excited!


More in interviews