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O'neal is in town tonight

PUBLISHED: 17:00 20 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:35 03 March 2010

ALEXANDER O'Neal is incredibly soft spoken.

On stage he may belt out the numbers but off-stage he speaks in a laid back whisper.

It's little surprise though.

By Jo Macdonald

ALEXANDER O'Neal is incredibly soft spoken.

On stage he may belt out the numbers but off-stage he speaks in a laid back whisper.

It's little surprise though. For the past two months the American star has been singing his heart out on stages up and down the country.

So he chooses to use his days off resting his voice so that no audience will be treated to a lack lustre performance.

He happily admits that his voice has yet to fail him and that the tour is going along nicely.

"It's going very well and I'm very excited," he said.

"I've been doing five or six nights a week with only a day or a day and a half a week off.

"I use that time for sleeping, resting, lounging. And it's been a real good opportunity to have some family over.

"My wife was here and my son came over from Las Vegas. It broke up the monotony of my routine."

Family is something which Alexander holds dear and it is with them he spent his two-year break away from the glare of the music industry.

He is happily married (for the third time) with eight children.

"I've been a husband and a father for the past two years. My life is no different than anybody else's," he explained, although one might beg to differ – after all there aren't many people who can boast to selling 11 million albums, selling out six nights at Wembley and being known across the world.

"I get up in the morning and take care of my family. That's what I'm living for.

He admits that his career in music has led to a lifestyle that doesn't allow him as much time with his wife and children as he would hope, but that was a choice he had to make.

Finding the work is not something Alexander could honestly claim to have found hard and he has achieved what the majority of music stars never do – longevity.

From his first musical experiences singing in a high school group called The Soul Morticians, to singing in bands in Minneapolis, to joining the band Flyte Tyme, with his future producers Jam & Lewis, soul music has always been in his blood.

Depending on which version of events is to be believed, however, Alexander was destined to be the solo star he is today.

Flyte Tyme became back-up band, The Time, to Prince. One tale suggests said the star thought Alexander 'too black' while another points to Alexander becoming sick of the star's attitude.

Whatever Alexander left the band and in the mid-eighties embarked on a career of his own which would take him to the top of the ladder of success.

And for now he's still having fun and music fans are still lapping up every bit of what he does.

Up and down the UK people have been flocking to enjoy a night with the man who burst on to the British music scene with hits like Saturday Love, Innocent, Fake and Criticize

"I have to play the old songs," Alexander said. "That's why a lot of people come to my shows.

But a trip to see Alexander in concert will not be without an introduction to his latest material.

He recently released Saga of a Married Man and is fiercely proud of the album.

"It's a really solid, positive album," he said. "There's a lot of reflection on marriage and relationships.

"I hope the fans will love it."

Alexander O'Neal performs at Ipswich Regent tonight at 8pm. Tickets are still available priced £16.50 and £14.50 and can be bought at the Central Box Office, Princes Street, Ipswich, or by calling 01473 433100.


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