1. Keep on being my own man I wrote this song to make a blues statement about being a man of Sub Saharan African heritage, living in the Western World. It had to be unmistakeably African in ambience and also had to highlight issues that matter to people of African descent everywhere, such as dignity and integrity.
2. Strong willed I’ve always been interested in the interconnectedness of musical genres. In this case I wrote a song that would suit both a classic crooner and a lovers rock singer. I was also interested in evoking the elegance of song lyrics in popular music before the Beatles/Dylan era.
3. Beautiful Thing I like the fact that many songs from Non-Western music traditions are used to uplift, inspire and educate listeners without making excuses for doing so. This song is an anthem about reaching out for the finer things of life .....in a spiritual way.
4. Don’t play games with me In my mind’s eye, there are always loose limbed African female dancers moving when I perform this song. I’m trying to make sense of my connection to other people of African descent here.
5. A taste of pepper A song about cultural misunderstandings.
6. Leaving for the last time About a traumatic personal childhood experience.
7. These things are sent to test us This song started out as a homage to great highlife musicians such as E.T. Mensah and Rex Lawson. It always had a Caribbean dimension to it, which came to the fore much later. Many of the sources of irritation mentioned in the song were real for me when it was written.
8. Doing my black thing The title was inspired by a statement made by Harry Belafonte many moons ago. After spending a considerable amount of time in a setting where I felt my heritage was somehow undervalued, I was inspired to write this song.
9. Long lost love This song came from the Copacabana beach in my mind. I visited the real Copacabana beach in Rio much later... and found it very different from what I’d imagined. I think I prefer the one in this song.
10. Trying to make ends meet This song takes me to a freezing winter’s night in Harold Wood train station. I was there after doing a job I disliked. At a later date, I tried to justify being there at all, through creating this.
11. Doing my black thing (remix); Noel Inyang, the album’s producer, worked his magic on this version.ore about you.