Singer, songwriter and entertainer Howard Baker hails from South Tyneside in the North East of England. Currently writing for his 15th studio album, he hopes to exceed the achievements of his previous record ‘The Paris Files’ (2015) which was recorded over two years with Eric Mutard in Paris, France. The single from the album, Raining in Paris, reached number 1 in the Reverb Nation blues chart in France and the UK, alongside receiving airplay in the US. The album itself charted in the 20s in Europe.
“I am very proud of ‘The Paris Files’”, he said cheerfully, “I worked with some magnificent friends and musicians in the Grotto studio in Paris and the resulting record speaks to their talent. Part of what encourages me to continue to write songs is knowing I’ll be returning to Paris to work with them again.”
Howard spent two years working between the North East England and Paris to record ‘The Paris Files’. After working for years as a solo singer, in 2014 he made the decision to return to playing with a band and formed The Howard Baker Band. “I wanted to call it something else,” he said, “but the band insisted we use my name. I wanted to go back out with a band rather than sing solo so that it wasn’t all about me, but they convinced me it made sense to build on the success of the album.”
A natural performer, Howard learned his craft as a singer on shore leave from the Merchant Navy. By teh age of 21 he was the youngest purser in the company with 30 men in his command, but on breaks from the sea he sang in bars around the world with his crew mates. “The crew would follow me and Tommy, a Liverpudlian from the ship, and we would sing around swimming pools when we were on leave in Japan or wherever. It got me thinking it was my thing. When I came back home in 1970 I decided to give singing a shot. Music has been my work ever since.”
Over his career in music, Howard fronted bands like Warbeck, BB Faith and Riff Raff. He toured Europe, Australia and the US, and supported some of the greatest rock bands in the world including Whitesnake, Free, The Small Faces and Black Sabbath. “In 1985 Warbeck was signed to the same record company as Whitesnake, so we got the gig supporting them when they had their first big hit,” he says. “It was a great gig, though the deal didn’t work out as well for us.”
In fact, Howard hasn’t had the best of experiences with the industry, “I’ve been offered nearly 20 indie deals over the years but they didn’t offer me anything I couldn’t do for myself. I’ve signed two major deals during my career, recorded albums and had the deals fall through, losing all the music and the hard work. I thought having a major label behind me would give me that extra edge in the business, but both times I was back to square one. Maybe ‘The Paris Files’ would have done better with a deal behind it, but I think I’ve done pretty well with it on my own, even if I do say so myself.”
Howard is still thinking of the future, writing material for a new album and working hard to promote the Howard Baker Band. “We play every weekend in pubs and clubs, and every gig is different which I love. I built my solo shows to be flexible and am absolutely blessed to be in a band who can offer the same adaptability to our audiences. We’re professional, but we also have great fun and people see that when they come to see us. I’m really looking forward to seeing where the band can go.”