Color Me Badd were kicked out of pool in Singapore by Bob Dylan

Mark Calderon (left) with Bryan Abrams (centre) and Kevin Thornton (right), on not minding that the group is called retro. -- PHOTO: COLOR ME BADD
Mark Calderon (left) with Bryan Abrams (centre) and Kevin Thornton (right), on not minding that the group is called retro. -- PHOTO: COLOR ME BADD

Color Me Badd recall incident which happened at a hotel swimming pool in Singapore in 1994

Most overseas artists associate Singapore with two things - good food and clean streets.

But for 1990s American R&B vocal group Color Me Badd, the Lion City brings back a different memory - getting kicked out of a swimming pool by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan.

Mark Calderon, 44, tells Life! over the telephone with a laugh: "We stayed at a hotel with a swimming pool and the pool was next to a room.

"We went swimming and we weren't being loud or anything, but someone from the hotel came up and said, 'Guys, you have to leave because Bob Dylan's room is right there and you're blocking his view'.

"So it would seem that Bob Dylan kicked us out of the pool in Singapore."

His bandmate Bryan Abrams, 45, who is also on the call, pipes up with a chuckle: "Well, if you're going to get kicked out of anything, it might as well be by Bob Dylan."

The two start laughing about the episode, which happened when they performed here in 1994. Dylan was also here that week for a separate show.

However, they could not remember which hotel they stayed at.

Color Me Badd, which include Kevin Thornton, 45, are returning here next week to perform at joint concert Retrolicious, alongside R&B pop group All-4-One and American singer Tommy Page.

They do not mind being called "retro" acts. Calderon says: "Well, we had a lot of hits in the 1990s and we're grown up now with kids of our own. If they're calling us retro, we're cool with it.

"But you know what's good about this? It shows that our music has stood the test of time. Even after 20 years, people still want to hear us sing."

Abrams adds: "We don't mind at all being called retro because we're just so excited about this Singapore show.

"It's been a long time and we're just a group of giggly brothers having a blast talking about it. I feel like we're 20 again."

As a nod to their past, audiences can bet they will be singing their hit song I Wanna Sex You Up when they perform here. In Singapore and other Asian countries, the song was known as the more sanitised I Wanna Love You Up.

The tune, released in 1991 as the first single from their album C.M.B., topped the UK singles chart and the Billboard R&B and dance charts. On the Billboard Hot 100 chart, it peaked at No. 2 for four weeks.

Off the radio charts, it would seem that the song has found another purpose over the years - as a lead-in for the band members to talk about the birds and the bees with their kids.

Calderon, who has two children aged 16 and 19, says in jest: "My kids definitely know the lyrics to the song. That's how I taught my son sex education."

He asks Abrams if he used the same approach with his 19-year-old son and two daughters aged seven and eight.

Abrams replies with a laugh: "My kids have definitely said, 'Oh daddy, I heard the 'S' word in that song'. But no, I'm not ready to have the birds and the bees conversation with my daughters for a long, long time."

As much as the band members relish their old music, they are quick to add that they are ready to start releasing a new album.

Their last studio album, Awakening, was released in 1998.

Says Abrams: "We've always been writing songs over the years and we've been sending each other ideas for songs. Just today, Mark sent me a track.

"It's time to start picking out some of the songs that we've been working on and come up with a concept for a new album. Color Me Badd are definitely still here and we're still writing and singing."

yipwy@sph.com.sg

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