Three years ago on this day, the death occurred of a man whom I didn’t know a great deal about, but who still had a seismic influence on what I was going to become. His name was Eddie “Eaze” Coleman, and he was a DJ, producer and songwriter. And he was one of the fairest people I’ve ever known.
When I started putting music out under the Amateur At Play alias nearly five years ago, he was one of my very first supporters. He didn’t care about my following, nor anyone else – if he liked my music, he would play it out in the clubs or on one of his two online radio shows each week. He played what he liked and ignored what he didn’t – it was a complete meritocracy.
Coleman also had a sense of what was right and wrong. Few things grated him more than metadata being wrong – this refers to pieces of information that accompany each song, like who wrote it, who produced it, who wrote it and so on. There was many a release where he wasn’t credited correctly – and sometimes, he wasn’t credited at all. When he saw something wasn’t right, he spoke out.
He also had the courage to call people out on things, not least of all me. When he released a song called “What You Need” with Michelle Rivera, I reviewed it in my Six On Saturday column – saying “there’s more potential to be extracted out of this one”.
Shortly afterwards, he contacted me and effectively told me to put my money where my mouth was. He wanted me to remix the track and gave me the clear instruction to “go full dub” – a reference to the dubs I was putting out at the time. The result was this – and I had to push myself hard to get there.
But it was a valuable lesson, one of many he taught me. And although I was aware during 2018 that his health had deteriorated, the announcement of his death on January 2nd 2019 was still a shock. Truth be told, it rocked me to the core for a while – it was only the fact he was always keeping himself busy which got me going again.
He taught me to speak out when I see things I don’t agree with and to call out people who I think have got it wrong. He also taught me to believe in what I was doing and not to be afraid to do things my own way. Which is essentially what Amateur’s House is all about.
I shall remember you over a drink or two tonight, Eddie. Just as well it’s a Bank Holiday in the UK tomorrow…