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Phil Collins Returns with <i>Testify</i> - 2002-11-21

Phil Collins is recognized as one of the most successful pop and adult contemporary singers of the 1980s and beyond. During the past 20 years, he's sold more than 100 million records worldwide and has won seven Grammy Awards. After a six-year absence, Phil Collins is back with a new album called Testify.

As the drummer in the rock band Genesis, Phil Collins was one of the pioneers of the progressive rock movement of the late 1960s and '70s. Assuming the role of lead singer, he took the band in a more melodic pop direction, and went on to have a multi-million-selling solo career.

Phil contributed to the 1999 soundtrack of the Disney film Tarzan, which won him an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award for the song Be In My Heart.

Phil balanced his solo career with Genesis, until the band finally called it quits in 1996. Now living in Switzerland, Phil admits he's found some peace after decades of constant touring and recording, and the emotional trauma of two well-publicized divorces. Phil proudly states that his new album was inspired by a 1999 marriage, his third, and by becoming a father again last year. The title track of Testify is a love song to his wife, Orianne. Phil Collins created Testify over a two-year period, recording in France and Los Angeles. Computer technology played a large role in the project. "Working with new toys and new tools, the songs pretty much wrote themselves and only occasionally needed nudging along," he said.

Most of the songs on Testify have a happy, optimistic message.

After more than 30 years as a performer, he observed that "sometimes you come out as an elder statesman. It happened to Elton John. It happened to Eric Clapton. And maybe my time is just around the corner."

Phil Collins has kept his positive attitude through a health crisis that all musicians dread. After a viral infection two years ago, he suffered a 50 percent hearing loss in one ear. He's had to give up regular touring, but promises he'll be playing occasional shows.

Phil was just presented with the Spirit of Life Award from the famous City of Hope Medical Center, which acknowledged his fund-raising activities for the research center and treatment facility.

Phil Collins hasn't exactly retired to a life of leisure at his home in Switzerland. In November he performed outdoors at New York City's Rockefeller Plaza as part of an early-morning television program. He's just licensed two of his songs to the auto company Toyota for use in an upcoming television commercial. Phil also is currently working on a musical theater version of Tarzan, and is writing the score for the film sequel.