Sound Check: Stedman Pearson–British Invasion

As part of one of Britain’s biggest groups in black music history, siblings Stedman, Lorraine, Deniece, Doris, and Delroy Pearson became known as the UK’s answer to the Jackson 5.

The siblings make up the pop/R&B group Five Star, and they had a string of hits in the 1980s such as “System Addict,” “All Fall Down,” and “Let Me Be The One” that crossed the pond and landed on the U.S. pop charts.

After a hiatus from the music industry, the eldest sibling, Stedman Pearson, is setting out to make his own solo star shine bright. With the release of his latest single “Love U More,” Stedman is showcasing not only his vocal ability, but his songwriting skills.  He says, “I wrote the song for someone that I adore greatly to just say thank you and I love you more than you will ever know.” His new album Eliminate is expected to be released later this year.

Soultrain.com caught up with the British singer to discuss being compared to music royalty and his journey as a solo artist.

Soul Train:  Stedman, what have you been up to over the years?

Stedman Pearson: (laughs) Well,  I was actually living in the States. I was in Oregon, I had bought a house out there and I just wanted to settle down. I was actually in construction at the time, I wanted to do something that made me feel good about myself, so I helped to build my house there. They thought I wasn’t cut out for that (laughs) but I wanted to prove my way. I had actually studied architectural drawing so I wanted to build the house from the ground up. Then I got into a bit of designing, and soon after I found myself back in England. I was only coming to visit for a couple of weeks, and have been here for 11 years. I actually got into writing, so I went through several managers until I found the right one.

Soul Train: Will you ever come back to the States to live?

Stedman Pearson: Well, I love England since I’m from here, but let me tell you, there is one thing about America that I love: the passion that people have for life, no matter what it is. People have a great deal of passion out there. I love the American dream.

Soul Train: What has been the highlight of your music career with the group Five Star?

Stedman Pearson: Well as a group–for me personally–achieving so much here, being the hottest black group in British history, and having a number one album. I think outselling Michael Jackson’s Thriller album here is a highlight, and the fact that both Michael and Janet Jackson loved us. Also, being loved by her Majesty, the Queen. She absolutely loved Five Star, she told us that we were a credit to the nation. Those are some of the highlights, and performing with my siblings was just the best time ever.

Soul Train: How did it feel constantly being compared to the Jackson family, or the Jackson 5 to be more specific?

Stedman Pearson:  It’s an honor to be compared to the Jackson Five, you know with both families being black in the music industry, but we did get that a lot. The thing is with the Jackson Five, it was all guys, with Five Star, you had 3 girls, and 2 guys that’s why we found it a little funny as well to be compared to them.

 Soul Train: Which Jackson did you identify most with?

Stedman Pearson:  To be perfectly honest, I would have to say I relate to Michael a lot. Michael and I have had the same upbringing in many respects, very close to our mums and not really close to our dads, unfortunately. There are things that I would do that I think Michael would do and there are things that I would see Michael doing that I could see myself doing, not in a way that it was on purpose. I really wish we had gotten the chance to meet each other to sit and talk. A lot of people tend to compare me to Michael and I take that as a high compliment. A lot of people think that I am trying to be Michael because of the way that I look, the way that I talk, the way that I dress, and that’s not it, I’m just being myself. There will always be a comparison, always.

Soul Train: Will there be a Five Star reunion?

Stedman Pearson: I can’t really say.  We are performing at some gigs, but I don’t know if we will get back in the studio to do another album. Right now, I couldn’t actually say.

Soul Train: Why did you decide to pursue a solo career?

Stedman Pearson: I’ve always wanted to do that for the longest time. I just had to find the right people. I wanted to write, but I didn’t know how to write, so I had to learn. I started writing from my experiences, and I think that’s what I was afraid of a few years back, writing about that. You grow and you mature and you find your way, so I decided now would be the right time to actively pursue it and I found the right manager that is able to teach me about the music industry the way it is now.

Soul Train: The song “Love U More,” did you write that? What inspired it?

Stedman Pearson: I did write that song. It was written about someone that I simply adore to this very day and will always be in my life. She’s very dear to my soul. I wrote it from the heart to say thank you and that I love you more than you’ll ever know. It was originally a ballad, and a colleague of mine took it and gave it to one of his boys to remix it and they changed it to this dance track, so I fell in love with it even more.

Soul Train: When will the album be released?

Stedman Pearson: The album, which is called Eliminate, will be released between September and October. We have a distribution deal with Universal so it will be worldwide. There’s a lot on the album; I’m working with a group called Flavor Patrol. I think people will be pleasantly surprised. There’s a mixture of R&B, hip hop, pop, and even some opera on the album. I even have a song on there that I wrote about Michael Jackson.

Soul Train: How was your experience performing on Soul Train in America and in the UK?

Stedman Pearson: It was amazing. Here in the UK we were constantly on the show. In America, Don Cornelius couldn’t believe that we were all siblings and that we all look alike and were talented. He said we were making him nervous because we were all so beautiful to look at (laughs). I remember when we were rehearsing for the show, people were just standing there staring at us and we thought, ‘Oh no, they don’t like us!’ (laughs) As soon as we performed, the applause that we got was just phenomenal, and so after that every time we came to America, Don would be on the phone wanting to book us for the show. It was just so amazing to be on Soul Train with the legendary Don Cornelius.  It was surreal. It was like a dream. I thank God for Soul Train.

Follow Stedman Pearson on Twitter @StedmanPearson.

-Shameika Rene’

Shameika Rene’ is a journalist of all trades. She can usually be found producing television news and writing for various websites such as Charlotte Vibe, Creative Loafing, or her own site, www.themofochronicles.com. She’s also a special guest contributor on The Social Hour on Urban Soul Radio. Follow her on Twitter @mofochronicles.

 

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