My musical journey began aged 8, I started learning classical piano and went on the road with my father Al Timothy, tenor-saxophonist and composer of Shirley Bassey's 1st hit, "Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me". During the summer holidays I accompanied him as he toured the UK performing in nightclubs, working men’s clubs and holiday camps, taking in his cabaret shows and the other acts, and by the age of 11 I started to fill in between acts and accompany him on the piano. Still carrying on my classical study, by 17 I had worked through all the grades and a handful of diplomas.
A year or so later I went to one of George Clinton’s Parliament & Funkadelic concerts – I was blown away by the seemingly spontaneous stagecraft of the musicians and the way that they interacted with the audience. Their style and musical expression made a lasting impression on me... and it was at this point that I knew I wanted to be a musician.
Soon after I started jamming with a funk band, which kick started my musical career – I was playing with people of my own age and playing music that excited me! Whilst rehearsing at Motorhead's West London studio I got my hands on a synthesiser for the first time, the possibilities seemed endless, I was in sonic heaven!
I later joined The Yeow Band, which released a number of jazz funk records, and ended up supporting the popular 80’s band Shakatak on their UK tour. After that I ended up playing with many artists that came through the Brent Black Music Coop in Willesden whilst also teaching keyboard lessons there too. Many players passed though there including; Andrew Roachford, guitarist Ronny Jordan, and The Last Poets to name a few.
During this time I got my break with South African music legend Hugh Masekela – his percussionist Francis Fuster had heard me practising at home and knocked on the door to see if I’d be keen to do some shows, obviously it was an offer I couldn’t refuse, so within a day I was heading up to Pebble Mill Studios to do a live TV show with Hugh. The spontaneity of it all meant that I had to learn the tunes on the coach on the way up and during camera rehearsals! I got through on a wing and a prayer and started touring with Hugh Masekela and a few weeks later we were at Montreux Jazz Festival with Michael Brecker guesting on stage! It was a dream come true and a very fulfilling period of my career, playing with his all African backing band Kalahari and playing many anti-apartheid shows including the huge Artists Against Apartheid gig at Clapham Common, and also backing Peter Gabriel and Jerry Dammers. Through producer Stewart Levine a good friend of Hugh, I started working on the London studio session scene and made my mark as a co-writer on Hugh's “Tomorrow” album having a hand in writing the song "Bring Him Back Home" which became an anthem for the movement to free Nelson Mandela, and later for his world tour. We eventually parted ways when he joined Paul Simon to do the huge "Graceland" album and tour.
Soon after I worked on Boy George’s first solo album “Sold” which was produced by Levine. Whilst doing a showcase for a friend at the BBMC I was approached by CBS A&R man Lincoln Elias who offered me an audition for Terrence Trent D’Arby! This was perfect timing – as I’d been watching his stylish new soul-act on TV days before and was pretty convinced he was going to be huge! I got the gig and spent 4 years travelling the globe with TTD - a hi-light for me was performing at the 30th Grammy Awards at Radio City NYC with Prince, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock, U2 and many other artistes who had inspired me so much in the past... we also played Live At the Apollo in Harlem presented by Bill Cosby – needless to say I was in musician’s heaven having the time of my life! I also played, scored, and co wrote on TTD's notorious 2nd album, “Neither Fish Nor Flesh”, and it was shortly after the release of this album that the tour and band fell apart in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was gutted in some respects - but also relieved as well because it spelled and end to the crazy lifestyle I was living. It took me 3 months to get back from Brazil as I loved it there so much, I'd also gained some experiences which would give me a different perspective on life.
On returning to London I was pretty burnt out with the music business, despite that I continuing to tour with The Chimes. But something that would change my life forever was stirring within. I felt my soul yearning to have its say, a call from spirit if you like. My material and physical needs had been met, but there was a desire for more meaning. A chance encounter - or perhaps a moment of synchronicity led me to the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University. I started to learn meditation which led to mystical experiences, which from that point on, had a profound effect on my life. Weeks later came a call from Boy George inviting me to go on tour. I accepted and toured with him for 3 years, part monk, part musician. It was an interesting test ground for the new consciousness I was experimenting with, helped by the fact that George was also experimenting with Krishna Consciousness at the same time.
The next call was from an old girlfriend, who was working with West Management. She introduced me to a band called Massive Attack who were in need of someone to perform on their first appearance on MTV. At this point they’d never done live shows, so I took on the role as Musical Director to put the performances together. I played with them from ’94 and performed on their most successful album “Mezzanine”. During some down time I was able to take on another MD role with Finley Quaye to promote his debut album “Maverick A Strike”.
I finished touring with Massive Attack in ’99 – and at the same time Mushroom, aka Andrew Vowles also left the band. We’d been toying with the idea of collaborating on an album for some time, so at this point we decided to make it a reality. I felt I had toured enough over the years and wanted to hone my production and writing skills. Little did I know what a huge undertaking this album would turn out to be...
In 2001 Mushroom went to LA to work on the lyrical side of the album and during that time a young film director Lenny de Vries contacted me to ask if I would compose the music for her first film: “Chasing God”. It was the first time I'd created music independently and it felt great! Flying to Melbourne for the premiere was a highlight – the film was screened at the state of the art ACMI cinema and being able to hear the music and watch the film with a sold out house on a great sound system was an amazing experience!
After a few more years working with Mushroom in 2010 I co-wrote and performed with Lucinda Drayton, Russell Stone and a very talented group of musicians on “The Gathering, Startled by the Familiar”. This was a unique and experimental project which took place in a barn in Cornwall. Each recording session started with meditation which was followed by musical improvisation – it was a wonderful chance to experiment with silence and sound. In 2011 we performed across the UK to promote it.
I continue to work with Mushroom, travelling to the US on many occasions to engineer, program and help write and arrange. The nature of the work recently means I have a fair amount of downtime. This gave me the opportunity I needed to create my own album: “Inside Out”.
In 2013 I really wanted to play live again so when the opportunity came up to play keyboards for the Dexys I jumped at it, so I'll be touring with them for most of 2013 to promote their new album "One Day I'm Going To Soar", we'll play 9 shows at the Duke of York theatre in the West End of London, various festivals, and a US tour.