Interview with Award-Winning British-Canadian Producer, Singer/Songwriter, Composer & Sound Engineer Chris Birkett

Interview with Award-Winning British-Canadian Producer, Singer/Songwriter, Composer & Sound Engineer Chris Birkett

Interview with Award-Winning British-Canadian Producer, Singer/Songwriter, Composer & Sound Engineer Chris Birkett

Today on What On What's Good with Jovin Tardif, I am here with Chris Birkett.  Birkett is an Award-Winning British-Canadian Producer, Singer/Songwriter, Composer & Sound Engineer.  Chris has collaborated with A-listers including Talking Heads, Dexys Midnight Runners, Alison Moyet, The Pogues, Bob Geldof, Quincy Jones, Mel Brooks, and Steve Earle.  He also produced Sinéad O’Connor’s #1 hit, “Nothing Compares 2 U”.  His latest single is called “2022”.   In our #cinqque5tion interview, we discuss behind-the-scenes stories with mega-talents from the music industry, all the different instruments he plays, creating songs, possible future collaborations, music coming out in 2022, and much more.

1. Do you have any fun behind-the-scenes stories working with mega-talents Steve Earle, Alison Moyet, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sinead O’Connor, The Talking Heads, Dexys Midnight Runners, Bob Geldof, and Quincy Jones?

I was working with a band called The Bible in London and Steve Earle was invited to participate in the production.

Steve and I got on really well and he invited me to work on his upcoming album 'Copperhead Road. He came into Eden studios, where I was working, and told me he had a new song that he had written on his mandolin. He played it to me and asked my opinion. It was the song 'Copperhead Road, I was one of the first people to hear it before it was recorded. A short time after we went to Livingston Studios and recorded the song 'Johnny Come Lately' with The Pogues.

Alison Moyet had just started her solo career after leaving Yazoo. I was asked to record her new single, 'That Ole' Devil Called Love' The track took only 1 and 1/4 days to record and mix, and was a number one hit in the UK. It was supposed to be a B-side but when CBS heard it they flipped it to the A-side.

I met Buffy Sainte Marie in the office of Ensign records in 1992. We got on really well but Buffy was concerned about the Jet Lagg as she lived in Hawaii and I was in London.

So, we came up with a plan. She sent her keyboard Midi files for the new album from her home studio in Hawaii to me in London via modem with the pre-web server- Compuserve.

I downloaded the files and mirrored her keyboard setup. We were the first known people to start an album virtually. Bill Board Mag did an article on this unique event.

I met Sinead O'Connor via Nigel Grange, CEO of Ensign records. I had mixed 2 singles from her debut album 'The Lion and the Cobra. Sinead and the label asked me to co-produce her next album 'I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got' containing the mega-hit single 'Nothing Compares 2 U'.

The interesting thing about that record was that it was a “One Take" vocal. The album only took 6 weeks to make.

Sinead hated compressors. I would come into the studio in the morning and she would leave a sign on the recording console saying "No F'ing Compressors.  

I recorded and mixed the first Dexy's Midnight Runners hit called Geno. A tribute to Geno Washington.

I'm happy that I didn't continue working for them as I heard that they "kidnapped" the tapes for the following album and held EMI to ransom. My collab partner Pete Wingfield told me they broke into the studio and beat up the engineer, So I was lucky it wasn't me.

I recorded and mixed the Bob Geldof song 'Pale White Girls' at my studio in Bordeaux, South West France. My 16-year-old daughter May Birkett, sang background vocals on this record

Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton picked my song 'Kiss Of Life' for the title track of Siedha Garrets debut album. I had known Rod since the 70's when I was touring in the soul band called ‘Montana Red Dog’. He was in the band ‘Johnny Wilders Chicago Heat Wave’, later to become Heat Wave with their hit single Boogie Nights. That's how Rod got to work with Quincy and Michael Jackson.

2. Can you tell us about all the instruments you play and when you learned them?

My first instrument was a homemade guitar. I was 8 years old and had a strong passion to play. I rummaged around in the garbage for some wood and nailed together my first instrument. The guitar is my main instrument but I play Bass, Drums, Keys, and percussion on most of the records I make.

3. How do you come up with ideas for songs?

Most of my songs come through me at around 4am. I can hear a song while I’m dreaming and I have to wake myself up and go and record it. I don’t want to wake up my wife so I creep into my home studio, grab a guitar, and record a voice memo on my phone. If I don’t do this then someone else gets the song. By the time I wake up, it’s gone. I believe that songs are gifts from another dimension.

4. Is there, anyone, in the future that you would like to collaborate with in 2022 or beyond?  Please describe.

I’ve always wanted to work with Stevie Wonder, Darryl Hall, Jean Luc Ponty, Tower Of Power, Yes and Gentle Giant.  I’m currently doing a lot of work with Indigenous artists at the moment mainly Inuits, for a label out of Ottawa called ‘Hitmakerz.

5. What others songs or projects can we expect from you in 20-2-2?

I have 18 new songs for the next Chris Birkett album.

Also an album I wrote while working with Buffy in Hawaii called ’Songs from a Hawaii hotel room’

I have almost finished the follow-up album with my Band The Free Spirits, titled “Heartbeat’

A project called The Happy Campers featuring songs about social issues done with a sense of humor. First single coming out this summer is called ‘Icky Cottage Blues’.

What On What's Good


  1. Good interview. Thanks for inviting me


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