Mick Hucknall has spoken to Music Week about the new Simply Red album, Blue Eyed Soul, which is heading for the UK Top 5.
The band's first LP of new material in four years and their 12th overall, the BMG-released album is No.5 in the midweeks, with 7,027 sales to date, according to the Official Charts Company.
Recorded in London at British Grove Studios, all 10 tracks were written by Hucknall and lead single, Thinking Of You, dropped in August.
"I just wanted to make what I thought was like an R&B record," said the singer. "The first single was the first song I put together for the project and once I started that I thought, 'I want to stick with the theme of soul and funk as a genre'.
"Once I got on a roll the songs came pretty thick and fast – one every other day. I started working on lyrics and singing melodies into my phone. And once I'd gotten a complete lyric and melody, I emailed them to our producer Andy Wright and we started work."
I've done the best I can in a genre of music that I love
Hucknall is keeping an open mind as to how Blue Eyed Soul will be greeted by the public.
"You never know with a record," he said. "Even from 1985, on our first release [Picture Book], I had no idea it was going to be successful. It's not a perfect science [but] I've done the best I can in a genre of music that I love.
"I've been listening to soul music and R&B, funk, whatever you want to call it, since being eight or nine years old and it's just always been there in my life."
Simply Red have four UK No.1 albums to their name along with one chart-topping single, 1995's Fairground.
"A No.1 single had always evaded us," reflected Hucknall. "It's a thrill because we always thought of ourselves as an albums band: Picture Book was in the Top 50 for two and a half years and we'd always sold more albums than singles.
"To have a No.1 single was just another kind of medal on the chest. I also liked the fact that it was an unusual-sounding track. I'd spent some time in Brazil and heard local bands playing these incredible drums. I just said to myself, 'I want that sound in one of my songs' and slowly came up with the idea for Fairground."