Rhett May has had a colourful past, born in 1950 and raised in Calcutta, India he was exposed to the sounds, colours and smells of the East at a very early age. These prolific memories and experiences shaped Rhett’s musical direction and unable to contain the wealth of music he had absorbed and the natural talent he had, Rhett soon started his own band.
20 years later he moved to Australia, and spent a number of years collaborating with James Payne. Their work together was so inspiring that it caught the attentions of George Harrison and Apple Records. After his success as a solo act Rhett May switched fields and actually hibernated in the corporate world for around 30 years! However, like a fine wine, Rhett May emerged from the business world better with age both personally and musically.
The immersions in the Indian culture when he was young lead him to discover all types of Canatic and Hindustani music. On any given day he could pick up a sitar or tabla and melt away into his own world of melodies and percussion. A World away from the hustle and bustle of the cacophony of Calcutta’s urbanization, poverty, pollution and traffic congestion.
One particularly strong memory from his childhood that shaped his direction was hearing his parents playing their records. One of Rhett’s favourites was “A White Sport Coat (And a Pink Carnation) by Marty Robbins. Another was “The Ink Spots” with their beautiful harmonies, voices and ability to blend eastern and western sounds with a tabla.
Rhett began the first band named “The Woolly Bully’s” at the tender age of 15 with school friends Preston Bortello and James Payne. Not long after they had their first taste of fame, when in 1966 they won the Battle of the Bands. They were a huge hit and performed at some of the hottest venues of the time including Trincas, The Park Hotel and the Mocambo’s.
With their humble beginnings, they did not realise that this band was actually set to evolve into something new and big in the future. The Woolly Bully’s ultimately became the Flint Stones, one of India’s most successful pop bands. They opened for likes of Freddie Mercury, Queen and Brian May. Much of the success can be attributed to their hit single “Be Mine (Happy By My Side)” and they soon graced the cover of many music magazines.
Even though Rhett was away in the corporate world the creative juices did not stop flowing. He says, “The passion stirred and started bubbling…” This passion bubbled over in the end and Rhett was drawn back to doing what he loves most, making music. With the assistance of his childhood friend and fellow musician James Payne, his latest EP “Calcutta Boy” heralds are birth of his career.
The album begins with “Little White Powder Under Your Nose”. This first song is a time machine and the rocking seventies soon come to mind. The lyrics are equally as impressive as the music itself and the melody is arresting. This one takes hold with perfect irony for a song about anti-addiction. Rhett’s talent for weaving both music and lyrics with melodies is found throughout the album. The result is a hypnotic, emotive journey through layers of conscious and subconscious sound scapes.
Rhett May is a Blue Pie Records USA artist and is published by Blue Pie Publishing USA (ASCAP) for selected titles.