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Cretu highlights 'stealing' acts
Michael Cretu
Enigma had a UK number one with Sadeness
Michael Cretu - the man behind Enigma, one of the biggest-selling acts of all time - has said he is resigned to artists stealing his ideas.

Cretu, whose latest album with Enigma, Voyager, has just been released, is one of Europe's most successful music producers - he was the man behind Boney M's cover of Brown Girl In The Ring, one of the best-selling records of all time.

As the inspiration behind Enigma, he was the first person to mix choral singing into a modern pop record - on the 1991 UK number one hit Sadeness. This technique was quickly picked up and now often used.

"They [artists] steal from everywhere," Cretu told BBC World Service's The Music Biz programme.

"You see after the first album it was monks - then everybody had monks.

"The next album was with ethnic vocals, everybody had ethnc vocals.

"But at the end, it's a compliment, because if I didn't invent something nobody will copy it, so it's evidence of what I did, that it was something new."

'Universal understanding'

After the Beatles, Enigma have the biggest-selling back catalogue in the world.

Their debut album MCMXC A.D. - from which Sadeness was taken - went to number one in 24 different countries and stayed on the US billboard charts for 282 weeks.

Boney M
Cretu's break into music was producing - and playing keyboards - for Boney M
Sadeness was in fact mildly controversial on its release in the US, as it linked religious chanting with breathless, sexual sounds.

Since that early 1990s peak, Enigma have become less of a presence in the UK and US charts - but remain massive throughout mainland Europe.

"Enigma is really my true music, what I really want to do," Cretu said.

"It's a mix from everything. It's classical music, it's pop music, it's rock, it's everything.

"So it's my understanding of music which is a universal understanding.

"I'm not seperating as much as people do. I'm not thinking in catagories."

Cretu said he enjoyed the Enigma project so much because he was in control of so much of it - as composer, arranger, singer, pianist, and sound engineer.

Song stories

He argued that he would struggle to explain the sound he was looking for to someone else, so it was better to simply do it himself.

"There are seven different jobs that I'm doing, but I'm doing it such a long time that I can make a difference between them," he said.

"I got used to it, and it's for me nothing special.

"This gives me the ability to make a record by myself, without any help from outside, which is from time to time very important - especially with muisc like Enigma, where there is such a combination of weird emotions that even I couldn't find a word to explain."

He said that only the guitar is performed by someone else, a good friend of his - "everything else is done by myself".

This level of control also had the advantage of allowing him to be flexible in the creation of his songs.

"Each song has its own story," Cretu explained.

"It can be that I get a new instrument and I like the sound, and I start to play and play and play and suddenly something starts.

"You have the feeling - 'ah, that's not bad at all.'

"It can be a drum loop, it can be an idea that I have."

He added that Enigma's 1994 hit, Return To Innocence, had been written on the basis of the title words only.

"I had only this title in my head, I had no music for it," he said.

"So then I started to work around the lyrics. So there's no law."

Whatever happened to Boney M?
29 Jan 02  |  Entertainment


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