Coco Jr. was born as Marc Dierickx, and made his first fame as
a resident DJ of the Ghent-based venue "Cirque central". On the label
Colour Records (Marc Van Beveren & Co) he recorded a few singles, but these
didn't make a lasting impression on anyone. His breakthrough came when he stepped
up to the microphone of the colourful and merry popband The
Dinky Toys, who accumulated success after success in the Belgian charts
between 1991 and 1995.
Gradually Kid Coco, as he wanted to be called in those
days, introduced his passion for reggae music within the hodpodge of cheerful
Dinky Toys sounds, which led to a cover of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds"
on the Dinky Toy's second album "Colour Blind". It as in this direction
that the singer would head for, once the adventure of the Dinky Toys had ended.
Immediately after the split Coco Jr. - as he started to
name himself from then on - assembled the reggae cover-band Vibes Alive with a
number of musicians, with whom he did a number of gigs at the summer festivals.
In 1997 he got the chance however to make a solo-album, and for
this he took a chance on trying to work together with "Sly" Dunbar and
Robbie Shakespeare, the lengendary Jamaican "riddim twins". They started
working on the tapes of Coco in their Mixing Lab Studio (once the place where
Grace Jones recorded her Nightclubbin album), where also the other member of "the
Taxi Gang" lended a hand (Lloyd Gitsy Williams, Robbie Lyn, Pam Hall, Brian
& Tony Gold). In Schelle Coco Jr. continued working on this material with
guitar-player Thierry Van Durme, and keyboard-players Hans Francken & Yannick
Fonderie (who had earlier earned their status by working for Soulsister,
Vaya Con Dios, Zap Mama
and Maurane). The result of all this work became the
CD "Acting Like Glass".
As the bio says "Out of this wonderful union of man and machine (ProTools,
the advanced digital recording system used by Coco Jr), of European thinking and
Jamaican vibes, of pop and roots, a unique album has been born. 'Acting like Glass'
is not dancehall, not reggae, neither is it pop or soul. Coco Jr explores the
boundaries of these beats and rhythms, creating a colourful musical universe ...
'Acting Like Glass' is truly a magnificent album, combining elegant variation
with seamless not-quite-reggae: the perfect pop music for the millennium."
It has to be pointed out that despite very catchy thunes such
as "Acting like glass" and"(We're on a) long long road"
there was not a great deal of success that ensued, certainly not if compared to
the hitparade-climbing stuff of The Dinky Toys. A year later Coco Jr. found himself
without a record deal, but he didn't feel exactly depressed about that: "I
am involved in a lot of projects nowadays, but without the urge of leading the
charts again. Not having a record company is quite a pleasant feeling actually.
I'm 34 now, and I have always felt a the idea of safety - being tied up to the
same firm until you're 40 - terrifying. I prefer the freedom."
In 1999 Coco Jr. had a surprise hit with a melody he wrote for
a KBC-commercial. Although he initially only had the intention of composing the
song and singing in a demo of it, the feel-good factor of the song was so high
they even decided to put it out as a single, which led to the first appearance
in the Flemish charts with "Mensen".In the summer he went on the road
with "Cocojr. & The All Stars", a mixed lot of musicians with whom
he played perfect covers of black soul-, funk-, disco-, r&b & dance-classics.
In this year, Coco also became somewhat of a media-celebrity by his presence in
panels from Nonkel Pop (musicquiz), De Drie Wijzen (fun) and Biebabeloeba (covers).
In 2000 he sung - together with his spouse Geena Lisa (who started
out as a backing singer of The Dinky Toys once, but has become more famous then
her husband as a "La la la"-girl and tv-presenter) and composed the
official tune of the Belgian participants in Sidney 2000 ("Sidney here we
come"), but this song's success was about equal to the achiements of the
Belgians in Austrilia (not exactly good). In this year, he also produced the album
of reggae newcomer Rohan Lee, and sung a duet with Salomé for the soundtrack
of the motion picture Team Spirit.
In 2001, Coco Jr went on the road again with Vibes Alive
(formed out of the Dutch band "The Vibe" (formerly The Recipe), with
vocalists Chantal Kashala, Nina Babet and Wah'tanga Rema), and released a summery
single with the song "House of the rising sun",
as his record firm would have it "immediately puts the point across that
even the most often played song still can sound catchy, sexy and fres and makes
your hips move. Because of this forceful groove, sultry atmosphere and a touching
portion of soul, this "house of the rising sun" suddenly sports a floor
where things go on that are just this little bit more kinky than everybody thought."
Buy CD's of this artist
- Acting Like Glass (Virgin, 1998) Singles :
- Acting Like Glass (Virgin, 1997)
- Where (Virgin, 1997)
- Long Long Road (Virgin, 1998)
- No Tomorrow (Virgin, 1998)
- Mensen (1999)
- Coco Jr All Stars "One" (1999)
- Coco Jr & Geena Lisa "Sidney here we come" (2000)
- Coco Jr & Vibes Alive "The House of the Rising Sun" (2001)
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