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Boney M - The interview

by Zeljko Vujkovic 

Boney M
Photo Daniel Mesa


Thanx Sheyla for this interview. Usually I am starting mine interviews asking artists to introduce themself in a few words. So please, who is Sheyla Bonnick?

Firstly I am what the Germans call an 'aboriginal' and if you check the net that's what you will always see.

I am not fond of self-promotion but a multi-faceted sort of person. Meaning I have many interests and hobbies therefore don't get bored for too long cos I just turn to one of my hobbies if I am.

Hobbies include: music, psychology, astrology, cooking, reading, writing, sports, animals, people, languages and cultures, dressmaking, styling, knitting, TV, natural beauty and alternate medicines, etc. interests are the same plus some others which I won't bore you with.

Although I love music sometimes I tire of it because of the personal politics. I would love to do something else sometimes but the music does take up too much time. However I am taking courses in psychology and beauty therapist. I am a peaceful person and wallow in harmony and absolutely hate all injustices and fixed mindedness. Trust that will do for now.

Could you also introduce other members of Boney M.?

The other members of my band are: Frankee Charell - a very talanted an attractive girl of mixed race origin; Mrs Jacqueline Bryan - my cousin and Markanthony a brilliant dancer and of course my husband from Iceland called Ingi who does the tour management and sound engineering.


Sheyla, band Boney M. is most known Disco band in the world. After many many years you are still very much active what is great and can you tell me what is your official name today?

Official name is still Boney M and featuring whoever leads, however the most official and recognised Boney M band is Liz Mitchells but there is Maizie Williams Boney M (I was with that one for 9 years until recently); Bobby Farrell's Boney M and a few more tribute versions.

There's even a three girl concept based in France doing ok. The remaining member Marcia Barret is unfortunately not well at the moment but has a very good album to be purchased online apparently. Last time I spoke to her was 1 year ago and she sounded very optimistic about everything and good luck to her - a nice lady.

Interest for Boney M is still very huge and you are very often on a various side of the world. In your opinion, how you explain such a great popularity still? We are all witness that many bands from the 90's are not exist any more and not to mention those from the 70's but Boney M. is something totally different. The secret is...???

The secret is I believe the simplicity of the songs and the fact that every sone tells a different story, mostly from various dountries of the world. The producer and founder, Frank Farian is a genius of ideas, hence the success, although most of the hits were not original but covered (not many people know that!) but he had incrdible vision of other peoples' songs and twisted and turned them around to create the magic. e.g. Brown girl was an old Jamaican nursery rhyme that our parents use to sing. Ma Baker was believe it or not a Turkish song turned around, etc, but I can go into everything right now due to time and space, however I will tell you more another time. the difference between the 90's etc is that they are too much effort to enjoy and the simple tunes of 70's make for happiness and fun.


Except you are playing some of your old songs, do you have some new songs you are producing perhaps? If so, who is your producer and can you tell me more about this side of your work?

We've noticed that everybody wants to hear all the old tunes so we supply their request.

Threre are lots of remixes. Our show is more theatrical as the tunes dictate that, so there's lots of sound affects and drama in our show. Nobody as permission to make new songs under the name Boney M. Frank has protected the name that way. We are thinking about slightly changing the name and releasing some tunes under our (me and Hubby) production. We have MANY on files, time will tell.


I will include your official biography you sent me to this interview so fans will be able to read about you in a chronological way but could you tell me something more about your "first contact“ with Frank Farian?

Much obliged - I need the publicity as my competition are not very nice to me - too much ego in this job!! I first met Frank with Maizie and Kaija Wolfe in his studio. He was a very pleasant man at the time but power and ego take over unfortunately and change people.

I've always respected him and got on with him very well but I can't say for today.

I did meet him shortly after his huge success and he was interested in producing my solo career but didnt quite work out, reasons which I may go into someother time.

Could you share with us which Boney M. song is your favorite one? If you are able to pick up among many many songs ? I personally have many, the best one is Young Free And Single, then Living Like A Moviestar... not to mention Rivers Of Babylon, Malaika.. it's all classical and everlasting hits. (to be honest I am not sure are those songs performed by you).

None of those songs were performed by me. Nearly all were performed only by Liz and Marcia on chorus. Was just the way things turned out. But at the end of the day it is the songs that sell. Of course Lizs voice well suited that sound but that doesnt mean that nobody else can sing them. That is a bone of contention too with Liz, I must add!! For me Marcia had the most soulful voice and shes a good actress with the most stage presence in my opinion.

My favourite tracks to perform and listen to is Rasputin, Ma Baker as they were more originally produced and dramatic. Actually Boney M songs are not as simple as they sound when you have to play them or learn them as Frank had a very strange sense of arrangement and structure, so we tend to rearrange them when we have to perform them live. I also like Marcias tracks on some albums like Never change lovers in the middle of the night, and Hey Joe and other ballads from Liz.


I would like to ask you to tell me something about Claudja Barry. How you met her? Relationship between you two and other members of Boney M. for example and more....?

Claudja and I started the same time but we didnt really get along actually. I suppose it was the typical teenage rivalry. Didnt stay in touch but a mutual contact did and I heard she was doing quite well in New York. Good luck to her. She was talanted too so deserves it.


How long you stayed in Boney M. before your first split? Have you missed Boney M. after that?

I stayed around 6 months and didnt miss it straight away because too many unpleasant things were happening but afterwards I did miss the success and money. However some things are not meant to be. I'm much happier now.


What you were doing in that time? And have you had at least occasionaly contacts with Frank, Mazie...?

I was with Maizie for 9 years as mentioned before until recently and hope to meet Frank next year in his Boney M musical.


And today Boney M. still entertain people around the world who enjoying a lot. What is your plan for near future? Next concert will be in...?

My future plan is to continue doing my own Boney M until I'm bored and at the same time work with others. It may interest you to know that we are setting up a school for career development in the Arts in Spain sometime next year so if you know anyone interested please let me know. I will fill you in with all details soon. I love helping people to realise their dream and am very good at it. I suppose its because I've never had any real help or support except for the wrong reasons and I see a lot of surpressed talents who have no help or resources and we have the tools to make this happen so why not. Of course it won't be free but very competitve prices. Our next concert is in Belgrad 12th November.


Recently you and other members of Boney M. had photo session at Paul Ridley's Kodak Express Camden London photo studio. What was the reason for that? Thanx to their staff, especially to my friend Tanya Ridley I am able to ask you few questions and have fantastic exclusive photos of Boney M (provided for me Daniel Mesa)

That photo session was only to update. Your friend and her hubby are really decent people and Daniel of course and I will always pass trade their way.


Do you have anything to say and what is important and I haven't asked you?

Thank you so much for your interest and hope to see you or speak soon. Our website will soon be up and running and you can learn all you want to know and see what we are up to not only with the group but with other artist and future projects.Take care


Thank you very much for your time Sheyla. All the best.

My BIG thanx goes to my dear friends Tanya Ridley and Paul Ridley and to Daniel Mesa.


© October 2005 Zeljko Vujkovic - All rights reserved
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