The Lowdown - Kid Creole

Born in the Bronx, August Darnell adopted the name Kid Creole in 1980. Exposed in his childhood to the melting pot of sounds in New York, Kid’s music is as influenced by Latin, disco, calypso, rock’n’roll, R&B, jazz and funk as it is by The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and Cab Calloway.

By Harry Owen

February 14 2023

What does summer mean to you?

Summer used to be my favourite time of year, but it has lost its power since I moved to Hawaii. Why? Because in Hawaii, summer is all year long! When I lived in New York City, the arrival of summer meant shorts and sandals and row-boating and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park.

What are you most looking forward to when coming to London to perform at Boisdale?

I’m looking forward to it primarily because it will be an opportunity to see all my erstwhile London comrades who have more money than sense. Remember my song, “Welcome To The Lifeboat Party”? Well, this show is guaranteed to be the party of the year! We haven’t played London in a very long time, so every Creolian in that wondrously over-crowded metropolis should come join the Proverbial Conga Line of Life.

You’ve collaborated with plenty of big names over the years. Which ones have made an impression?

My greatest collaboration so far has been with Barry Manilow. And now, some magical trivia for you: Barry initially wanted to do the duet with Gloria Estefan, but she declined the opportunity. I was his second choice. Imagine that, second choice to Gloria! Anyway, pride did not get in my way.

Which track do you most enjoy performing live?

My songs are my babies. They are all treated equally. I have no favourites. But we are going to do some songs at Boisdale that we haven’t done live for ages…

Kid Creole aka August Darnell
Kid Creole aka August Darnell

What do you think is the future of music in this digital age?

The future of music looks very healthy indeed. Once upon a time, the cassette and the CD threatened to kill the music business, after vinyl proved to be too scratchalific. The rebellion failed. The music business will always survive.

How do you like to spend your time when you’re not performing or recording?

I prefer to be surrounded by as many family members as possible. I have nine children, so it is often difficult to get them all together at once. But I try.

You published your first book last year. Tell us about the series and the concept behind it.

Call Me Mister Lyrical is a series of books dedicated to the words for every song I have ever written. There will be at least 24 volumes. The concept came about when my wife, Eva, read aloud to me what was printed online as the lyric for “Stool Pigeon”. They got it wrong. I decided, then and there, to set the record straight for posterity.

What inspires you to keep making music?

I used to write 10 songs a week. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I write 10 songs a year. Other things in life have become more important than music, I dare say. But I still believe in the power of music to inspire me and to inspire others.