Music

Lou Bega on his new single

Lou Bega talks about the unusual collaboration on his new single that comes after a long hiatus

It has been 20 years since Lou Bega released his rendition of the 1949 dance song ‘Mambo No 5’. The peppy number is still doing the rounds. And remember Lou in ‘I’ve Got a Girlfriend’, which the boys loved, and girls tried to hate? The man is back.

The German singer and songwriter presents his new song ‘Scatman & Hatman’; this one too won’t let you sit still. And he isn’t alone; in the song, he is joined by the late American singer Scatman John. It isn’t so much an other-worldly, out-of-body phenomenon as it is a throwback to the 90s. The new single ‘Scatman & Hatman’ is a montage of ‘I’m the Scatman’ and Lou Bega’s latest lyrics.

“The year 2019 marks 20 years since John passed away,” says Lou over phone from Europe. “It is also the 20th anniversary of ‘Mambo No 5’ and I thought it would be a great idea to revisit both.” “Wherever I go I hear families still enjoy ‘Mambo’ — from little kids to their grandmas — and that makes me joyful,” he says in a voice that is as zesty as his songs.

“I visited India on tour when I was 24 and it was one of the greatest encounters I have had. India is so different from all the other places in the world, it was a gift to be able to experience the country and I look forward to another chance to come by,” says the 44-year-old.

Talking about his collaboration with Scatman, he says it was reminiscent of the time he made ‘Mambo’. “It was nothing short of a miracle; it is hard to describe. ‘Mambo’ took all of 20 minutes to write. We were chatting, there was an idea, we wrote it down straight and it was done. The music and choreography took about two weeks,” he says.

“We had a similar experience with ‘Scatman & Hatman’. We had this idea and talked it over with Scatman’s family and the record company. We thought putting this idea into motion would take time, but like ‘Mambo’, it was done in about 20-30 minutes. It just felt right and it all fell into place. It’s crazy, but I just can’t explain it.”

The video exudes a retro feel. “I just wanted to go back to the 90s with it. That was such a colourful time; everything was vibrant and goofy. It was a happier and joyful age; you could even call it naïve,” feels Lou. “Again, it took us about a day to conceptualise the video and we recorded it in four to five hours. It wasn’t a long or stressful process, it was rather fun.”

Lou is elated by the reception ‘Scatman & Hatman’ has received and hopes to launch an album within a year. Why Scatman, when we’ve lost so mny artistes in the past two decades? “It was rather unlikely, which is what people love,” says Lou. “When you’ve created a popular song, you will always be measured by that one song alone. No matter what you bring out, people will always say ‘It’s not as good as Mambo’. I’ve lived that experience in the past 20 years. Eventually, you reach a point where you say, ‘I will do what I am lead to and be joyful in that’. And the doors open automatically. There really is no formula to it.”

Talking about his hiatus, Lou says, “Twenty years went by really fast, like vapour. I was 23 when ‘Mambo’ came out. I thought I had eternity ahead of me and that I would always be young. But you must do your best in the time you’ve been given and trust in God. Our lives are guided; you need to have faith. A time will come when the desires of your heart are fulfilled. All I can say is the years in between have not been a coincidence.”

‘Scatman & Hatman’ is available on 9122 Records across all streaming services.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 9:51:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/lou-bega-on-his-new-single/article28346863.ece

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