Poptastic Confessions

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Monday, June 17, 2013

An Interview with Real McCoy singer Lisa Cork-Twiss

Dear Poptastic Readers,

Exciting news! I have interviewed Lisa Cork-Twiss, formerly of the 90s dance group Real McCoy. She is very kind and gracious. And she is wonderful singer and songwriter. Now, before we get to the interview, I thought it would be good to give you a brief history of the group.



Lisa Cork-Twiss

The group started in 1989 and it was called M.C. Sar and the Real McCoy. The group consisted of O-Jay, Patsy and a rapper named Shampro who sometimes mimed O-Jay's raps. They released the singles "Pump Up The Jam", "It's On You", "Don't Stop", "No Showbo" and "Let's Talk About Love" and the album "Make A Move!" in 1990.





Shampro left the group and O-Jay became the front man. O-Jay and Patsy started working on their next album called "Space Invaders." The songs were great, but the company executives weren't happy with Patsy's vocals. So a session singer by the name of Karin Kassar came in and sang all of the female vocals. 



The Real McCoy 1992–1995: Patsy and O-Jay

The duo were having hits all over Europe with "Another Night", "Automatic Lover (Call For Love)" and "Run Away." And Patsy was miming the vocals of Karin, but the public wasn't aware of this.




Clive Davis at Arista Records took notice of the group and brought them to American but dropped the name "M.C. Sar"  and the group name was shortened to "Real McCoy." Some new songs were recorded, but the female vocals were still done with Karin. New videos were made for "Another Night" and "Run Away", but the latter wasn't released until YouTube came along.


The Real McCoy 1995–1996: Vanessa, O-Jay and Patsy


During the promotion in America, another female singer named Vanessa Mason was added to the group. She had similar vocals to Karin making live performances more credible. Up until then, they had always lip-synched their performances.




More singles and new videos came for "Automatic Lover (Call For Love)", "Love And Devotion", "Come And Get Your Love" and the double A-side with no videos for "Sleeping With An Angel" and "Ooh Boy!" Real McCoy had success in America with the first two singles both going to #3 in the pop charts. And two #1s on the dance charts.




After the promotion for the "Another Night" album, Patsy left the group. She went on to have one solo song called "Money 4 Me." And in 1996, Lisa was brought in to part of the Real McCoy.


 
The Real McCoy 1996–1998: Vanessa, Lisa and O-Jay

Lisa's first performance with the group was at the World Music Awards in Monaco. Sadly, the performance isn't on YouTube. But here are some small photos from that performance.




Real McCoy released new music in 1997 with a fantastic album called "One More Time." This time, Vanessa and Lisa sang all the vocals themselves. And they even helped write the songs! The first single had the same name. And two more singles followed: "I Wanna Come (With You)" and a remake of Shaina Twain's "(If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here."




After the promotion, the group disbanded. In 1998, a remix of their early remake "Pump Up The Jam" was released. And in 1999 a new Real McCoy surfaced with a remake of one of their early songs called "It's On You." The new lineup of Real McCoy featured two new female singers named Gabi and Ginger. A man named Jason was in the video miming to O-Jay's vocals. However, O-Jay did have a cameo in the video. Another single came in 2000 called "Hey Now" ... this time Jason was doing his own vocals. 




In 2006, O-Jay used the Real McCoy name when he joined the Polish group Ich Troje on their song "Follow My Heart."




In 2007, O-Jay released a Real McCoy single with no female vocals. He remade the song "People Are Still Having Sex."




In 2009, O-Jay formed a new version of Real McCoy with himself and two new singers named Debbie and Gemma. Gemma had some fame as a solo artist and as in a group called Kissing Freddie in the UK as she had been on X Factor twice. The new lineup did some live shows. And even debuted a new song called "Two Hearts." But it got no official release, and then it all went silent again.


The Real McCoy 2009: Gemma, O-Jay and Debbie

Real McCoy used to have an official Facebook artist page run by O-Jay, but that is no longer. There is a website, but currently it has no information on it. Hopefully that will change soon!

I've always loved the Real McCoy and "One More Time" is my favourite album by the group. Lisa and Vanessa's vocals are awesome and the melodies are quite nice. So I took a chance and reached out to Lisa for an interview. She seemed to be the person I knew the least about. So I thought interviewing her would be great for fans to hear. Thankfully, she said yes! My questions are in bold. Lisa's answers are in italics. Enjoy!~



***


Before you joined Real McCoy, what was your music path like? How did you get in the business?

I grew up singing in the church as many singers of color in the South. My Mother was a pianist/composer and I come from a musical family. My Uncle Carl Perkins, jazz pianist, was renowned in the 50's West Coast scene and recorded with many greats.

I started my 1st band in High School called, Lisa Cork & The Screws in the 80s, my spiked dog collar phase. I was in and out of a few bands and then joined the Houston, TX based band in 1986 called SoWat where I met Brent Argovitz. SoWat moved to NYC ... well Hoboken, NJ. ; unfortunately we broke up soon afterwards. Which brings me to question 2.


"This pic is me in my band SoWat circa 1987. That's Brent Argovitz 
next to me and my eraser head fro... hehe"

"Me in my SoWat days taken from a fashion blurb in the Houston Chronicle"

"Haha!! Me, on the left, when I used to sing back up for Carl Lewis, yes the runner."

Awesome! "Lisa Cork and the Screws" is hilarious! How did you come to join Real McCoy? Wikipedia says songwriter/producer Brent Argovitz brought you into the group. 
Is that true?

Brent Argovitz later was to become the musical director for such acts as Hathaway and Taylor Dane before becoming involved with The Real McCoy in the same capacity. He also toured with them on drums. He asked if I would like to audition after Patsy was no longer involved. The audition obviously went well, I think based on the fact of how well my voice blended with Vanessa Mason as most of the vocals were in unison. My 1st show with The Real McCoy was at the World Music Awards in Monaco in 1996 which was a whirlwind of an incredible experience considering that 2 weeks prior I was literally working as a waitress in a cocktail bar; so sharing the same televised stage with the likes of Michael Jackson was mind blowing.


"Here's a Real McCoy pic taken in Monaco while we were there
for the World Music Awards in 1996, before I went blond."

Were you aware that the album “Another Night” had all female vocals by session-singer Karin Kasar?

I was not aware of Karin's involvement when I joined The Real McCoy.

Me, either. Do you know why Karin never joined Real McCoy?

I have no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding Karin's experience with The Real McCoy.

I was wondering if you ever met Patsy Petersen?

I was never introduced to Patsy although I did see her once at a club in Berlin.

How did O-Jay and Vanessa welcome you to the group?

O-Jay and Vanessa were both very welcoming and we all got on like a house on fire which was beneficial considering the amount of downtime one is forced to spend together while traveling/touring, recording and promoting an album.



“One More Time” is one of my favourite pop/dance albums. How was it recording the album?

Most of the album was recorded at the Studio/home of the Executive Producer Jurgen Wind in a small village in East Berlin. He also owned a small group of flats there down the road where we were accommodated. The track Love Save Me was recorded in Sweden. The overall experience was very enjoyable and professional with lots of downtime in between takes making comradery essential!


The "One More Time" CD Booklet

I noticed that you co-wrote two of the songs on the album, and they are two of my favourite tracks “The Sky Is The Limit” and “Tonight.”

It was awesome, as a new member that they welcomed my creative input to the writing process and I’m proud of my contribution to the album. I'm happy that you like those songs in particular.

Euro cover for "One More Time"

“One More Time” was the first single. How was it making the video and promoting it?

The video for One More Time was shot in LA in a nightclub. A huge production with lots of very excited extras. There was a real party atmosphere and the energy was incredible.


US cover for "One More Time"

Euro cover for "I Wanna Come (With You)"

“One More Time” and “I Wanna Come (With You)” were different from the Euro to the US versions. Which do you prefer?

My all time favorite version of One More Time is the Bass Bumpers Remix. To be honest, I don't have a preference for I Wanna Come With You.


US cover for "I Wanna Come (With You)"

Nice. I prefer the US versions. Whose idea was it to remake the Shania Twain song “(If You’re Not In It For Love) I’m Outta Here”? Did you ever hear from Shania about what she thought of the remake?

The idea to remake the Shania Twain song was that of our A&R Rep at Arista. I have no knowledge of her response.




I'm sure that she loved it. Why weren’t videos made for “I Wanna Come” and “I’m Outta Here”? And did you like the ones I made from the CD-Rom?

I think the decision was made not to incur more expenses based on lack luster sales...but I'm only guessing. I loved your vids Dave! Thank you for taking the time to do that. Very entertaining!

A video for "I Wanna Come (With You)" edited by Davearama.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuLjYM9O5J8
A video for "If You're Not In It For Love) I'm Outta Here" 
edited by Davearama.

The group disbanded after the promotion for the album. What happened?

See the above answer....

In 1999, another Real McCoy single was released with all new singers. It was a remake of their early song “It’s On You.” Was there ever any talk of you and Vanessa to sing on that?

No...not to my knowledge.

That's probably why the single flopped! In 2009, O-Jay and two new singers named Debbie and Gemma did some shows as the new Real McCoy. Were you and Vanessa not asked back?

No...not to my knowledge.

Do you keep in touch with O-Jay and Vanessa?

I kept in touch with them for a while afterwards and visited them in Berlin.




I always wondered what had happened to you after Real McCoy. I think last year I discovered that you had music on SoundCloud under your new last name Cork-Twiss. You’re solo music is very varied. I really like "Hand Me Down", "Change", "Tonight", "Stone Cold Smiling Faces" and "Black Coffee." Are there any of songs that you are most proud of?

Thank you for your interest Dave. My music on Soundcloud is mostly a plethora of original demos recorded before and after The Real McCoy; with a variety of collaborators and some completely solo undertakings. I have dabbled in a bit of jazz before and after The Real McCoy and a good representation of that is my Soundcloud demo of Black Coffee. I also collaborated with my husband Jeff Twiss in our home studio we called 'Jam Boudoir" on a track called Naked Soul. I am proud of those songs in particular. I also quite fancy all of the tracks that I co-wrote with Brent Argovitz who is still my dear friend until this day. He is currently based in Hawaii and plays drums for an awesome band called Bub n’da Smack Dab among other collaborations.

"I might mention that the jazz act I was in at the 
time was called Feed The Kitty. Here's a promo pic."



Besides listening to your solo music on SoundCloud, is there a place where fans can purchase your solo music?

Not at present but I will keep you posted! I currently live in Austin, TX and am in a band called Deep Eddie. We play mostly classic rock and it is great fun!!!

"Me in my current band, Deep Eddie, not the best shot. We are 
fairly newly formed and do not have any pro promo pics yet."

Would you ever consider re-recording some of the Real McCoy tracks from the album “One More Time”? May I suggest the wonderful “The Sky Is The Limit”?

I would not rule out any musical opportunities. I will sing until the day I die!

Would you ever have a reunion with O-Jay and Vanessa as Real McCoy?

Would I reunion with The Real McCoy?...absolutely! Great memories deserve repeating.

***

Thanks again, Lisa! I’m very excited to give fans a new perspective. 

If you don't have the album "One More Time" by Real McCoy, go out and get it! And if you are in Austin, check out Lisa's band Deep Eddie!

And if O-Jay and Vanessa are reading this ... Get together with Lisa and do it "One More Time!"



Cheers then,
—Davearama

P.S. Also available with Lisa on the cover ...







3 comments:

  1. Nice interview, Dave! Honestly, I never followed Real McCoy that closely and had no idea about their ever-changing lineup. Their early hits (like Run Away and Another Night) remind me of coming out in and going clubbing in my early 20s. I had lots of fun dancing to their tunes.

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  2. Wow...this is a great...you put so much work into it...I'm impressed!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your interview, Dave. I enjoyed reading it. When I find my One More Time album, I'll take another listen to it. (I'm currently ripping my thousands of CDs to my iMac.) I really liked Lisa's version of "Black Coffee," too; it's one of my favorite songs.

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