Gilbert chooses St Ouen for his latest album cover
THE enigmatic album cover of singer-songwriter and local resident Gilbert O’Sullivan may be a mystery to his legions of fans, but most Islanders will instantly recognise the location.
The cover shows the solitary singer walking along the concrete path which runs along the sea wall near El Tico, in St Ouen’s Bay – in a nod, the singer says, to the Island he has called home for more than three decades.
And the star – who is currently on tour – has hinted that he could play a concert in Jersey at some point.
Speaking about the new album cover, he said: ‘The front cover was chosen because of the image of me striding forward, which in many ways conveys my attitude to music and my career – always looking forward and never looking back. The backdrop of the wall against the blue sky made for a unique and scenic setting.
‘I also liked the idea, for the first time, of using Jersey as my cover, having lived here so happily and creatively for over 35 years. It was a nice gesture to the Island.’
The idea of the cover resulted from a photo session with English photographer Andy Fallon. ‘He was chosen by the label based on his experience of taking strong and iconic photos of the likes of Dave Grohl [Foo Fighters], Bryan Ferry and Morrissey,’ said Mr O’Sullivan. ‘We decided on Jersey because that is where the album was recorded in my home studio. Also the photographer wanted some unique scenic shots, in particular for the cover, so we chose St Ouen’s Bay as the perfect location.’
The photo shoot, which took around two hours and was timed to capture the best lighting, turned out to be a fairly straightforward event for Mr O’Sullivan, but not for the photographer.
‘For me it was easy. But for Andy, he fell over on numerous occasions in rock pools photographing me as I strode along the walkway! With his soaking wet boots and jeans he looked upon it as all in a day’s work. But the results were worth it.’
Mr O’Sullivan is also pleased that the songs on the new album were produced by Ethan Johns, who has worked with the likes of Kings Of Leon, Ryan Adams and Paul McCartney. ‘He was mine and the record company’s top choice as a producer,’ said Mr O’Sullivan. ‘With my songs and Ethan’s production we have made something very special. What’s interesting is that people, on hearing it, compare it to my very first album, Himself, in terms of sound, melody and lyrics. This is why, instead of picking an unusual title for the album as I’ve done on all previous albums, it was decided it should be the simple and self-titled Gilbert O’Sullivan.’
The singer’s latest tour has seen him perform in venues across Australia and the UK.
‘I’m really enjoying the tour so far,’ he said. ‘There’s been a great reaction to songs old and new, and it’s always nice meeting fans up and down the country that have supported me from the beginning.
‘I know quite a few people have been asking about a concert in Jersey. It has to happen and it will happen!’
The album is due to be released on 10 August and is available to pre-order now.