Rising British musician The Child of LOV, whose manager is Albany native Trey Reames, is building buzz in America in advance of his debut album this spring.
AMSTERDAM — The story of The Child of LOV, the latest London-based musician starting to hear the “can’t-miss” tag as he generates a growing buzz in the States, is a twisting, turning, global tale that winds its way from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands to the Southern U.S. and intersects with the careers of Blur/Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn and, to a lesser degree, the CeeLo Green/Danger Mouse combo Gnarls Barkley, whose hit “Crazy” was ever-present six years ago.
The common thread in all this international intrigue is a couple of guys from ... Albany, Georgia?
The Child of LOV, a hip-hop/R&B/funk/soul enigma whose songs “Heal,” which was released late last year, and “Give Me,” just out, offer hints of Gorillaz, OutKast and CeeLo’s Goodie Mob, and a dose of Danger Mouse’s eclecticism that mirror the influences of Trey Reames and Jason Taylor, two Albany-based music lovers who are helping shape TCOL’s budding career.
Reames’ and Taylor’s Southern roots were instrumental in the decision to record videos for “Heal” (http://youtu.be/OiBM8KZVHyl) and “Give Me” (http://youtu.be/OVpIlkg3suQ) in Albany and Plains/Americus, respectively.
“(The Child of LOV) wanted his videos to reflect the realness of the American South,” said Taylor, who works locally as an independent auto appraiser and directed both videos. “Trey (Reames) is managing his career from Amsterdam and is working to build the buzz here in America leading up to the release of (TCOL’s) album in the spring.”
Reames, who like Taylor is an Albany High School graduate, said in a telephone interview he’s taking the grassroots route in establishing The Child of LOV in America.
“I think his music will appeal more to an urban audience, but it has an appeal that reaches beyond any one particular genre,” Reames said. “From young to old, black to white, and everywhere in between there is an audience for his music.
“His career is going amazingly in England and Europe, and we’re looking at America as the final frontier. We want the buzz to get to a fever pitch here, and that will help generate excitement in America. When we get to a certain point, that’s when we’ll make the big push there.”
Both Reames and Taylor left Albany for north Georgia’s Athens after graduating Albany High, and their shared passion for music led them to promote shows in and around Athens and Atlanta. Reames was introduced to CeeLo Green shortly after the breakout star left Goodie Mob, and Reames promoted the singer’s first solo performance.
That relationship would eventually lead to the formation of Gnarls Barkley.
“We did several shows with OutKast, Goodie Mob, Bubba Sparxxx, Slim Calhoun and some of the old-school stuff with Two Live Crew in Georgia before I went on vacation to England,” Reames said. “While I was there I managed Danger Mouse (producer Brian Burton, the genius who has worked with Albarn’s Gorillaz, MF Doom and the Black Keys, among others), who was looking to do some work with established artists.
“My only real contact was with CeeLo, so I put the two of them together. That worked out well.”
Reames later left the music business for a period after moving to Amsterdam with a girl, but that relationship didn’t last.
“She left, and I didn’t know what the hell to do,” he said.
What Reames did was turn back to his first love: music. He started producing shows and eventually was introduced to The Child of LOV. Reames got the eclectic artist together with Albarn, and their work together led to a contract with the independent Domino Records imprint Double Six Records.
Reames called on his old friend Taylor with ideas for videos to complement TCOL’s first two songs, and Taylor teamed up with the Los Angeles-based production crew Focus Creeps to put together videos for “Heal” and “Give Me.” The former involves a group of children at various sites around Albany. Most recognizable among the locations are the old Wal-Mart building on Radium Springs Road and the oak-draped streets in the Rawson Circle neighborhood.
The latter video was shot at clubs in Plains and Americus.
“What we’re trying to do with The Child of LOV in America is build interest locally and branch out,” Taylor said. “We think there will be a lot of interest in the two videos in our region because of the location of the shoots. Once people see them, I think the music is going to appeal to a lot of people. We’re using this grassroots approach to spoonfeed the public.”
While Taylor works to generate local interest in The Child of LOV’s music, Reames, through his 3rdegree Ltd., is doing the same overseas. Influential BBC 6 just added TCOL to its playlist, joining radio stations in Germany and Australia among the first wave to jump on the artist’s bandwagon.
“This has turned into a really amazing thing for all of us,” Reames said. “To even be in this position ... It’s something I never imagined. I’m a basketball coach, but now I’ve got this amazing artist signed and (his career) is completely my show.
“We’ve gotten this far through dreams and hard work. Now we’re ready to take it as far as it will go.”