MUSICIAN Eddy Grant started his career in the 1960s with The Equals, who scored hits such as Baby Come Back. Solo hits followed in the 1980s, including Electric Avenue. He now hosts a show on internet radio station United DJs.
What was the first property you bought?
It was a three-bedroom, semi-detached house in Kenton in north-west London. It was 1968 — I’d got married and wanted to buy a house. I’d already had a hit record, the manager of the record company told me to talk to the bank manager and it all went ahead. It cost me £7,250. It didn’t need any work done to it. I bought it from one of my father’s friends. I had a look and liked it very much and he left most of the stuff in there — so it was all ready made. It was a very easy move and I stayed there for six years.
Did you buy a flash ‘pop star’ house?
I don’t see myself as a pop star, I’m a musician. My background was quite simple. I had my wife and we were having children so we bought a house. It wasn’t flashy. Flashy things are transient and generally are not of as much value as they’re purported to be. Almost everyone I know in the music industry went through some stage like that, though — the business can overcome how you’ve been brought up. My father ran a second-hand furniture shop. It’s a reality check. He said, ‘Son, people from Highgate come to my shop, buy this stuff real cheap, they have millions of pounds, they take the stuff up the road, paint it white and everyone says “Oh, darling, how lovely,” so bear that in mind’ — and I did. My car’s a Mercedes but I’ve had it for 30 years.
Did your dad help furnish your first home?
He was in that business. You’d call him a developer today but in those days you just said he was buying and selling. He had a second-hand furniture shop but he also had a business partner who helped finance buying houses and then my father would do the work in them.
Where are you now?
In Barbados. I’ve been here for 30 years. When I came here all I wanted was a barn to put equipment in and to build a recording studio. Ultimately, though, I bought a decrepit plantation house. It’s taken a long time to get it into some semblance of order. But I got my equipment in and I was able to make records. It didn’t cost much — but then I found out it was one of the most important properties in Barbados. It was the site of the 1816 rebellion, Bussa’s rebellion — he became the first national hero of Barbados.
What’s it like?
It sits on a good piece of land. I’ve worked really hard to make it nice and maintain the grounds. It was built in the 1700s — it needs a lot of work and maintenance but I appreciate it. I’ve got people banging on the roof today dealing with the bees. But the bees have been living here for hundreds of years, too.
What do you love most about it?
Its history. I’m so honoured to live here. One day the property will return to the country, so to speak. It’s a special place. Sting and Mick Jagger have been here and they’ve experienced the place and they say it’s magical — it really is.
Do you miss the UK?
Yes, I went to school in England, I have mates there, I know how people’s minds work there. I miss walking down the street in London. I ride around the streets on my bike in Barbados, but I used to walk all over London. I used to live in Stamford Hill and I’d walk to the West End even though I could just jump on the 73 bus. I liked looking at the old architecture, walking down streets I hadn’t been down before.
■ Eddy hosts a show on internet radio station United DJs each Saturday night, united dj.com
All about… Kenton
KENTON is in north-west London in the borough of Harrow. As with many other parts of suburban London, its population grew with the expansion of the Underground network between the world wars. Famous faces who have lived nearby include Pam St Clement from EastEnders, fitness guru Mr Motivator and actress Sophie Okonedo.
Last year most property sales in Kenton involved semi-detached properties which sold for on average £603,253. Terraced properties sold for an average price of £538,658, while flats fetched £261,998. During the last year, sold prices were five per cent up on the previous year and 17 per cent up on 2015, when the average price was £472,638. rightmove.co.uk