Grammy-winning songwriter / musician / producer Stuart Matthewman AKA COTTONBELLY is a vital part of SADE. The multi-instrumentalist can be heard on sax, guitar, keyboards, and programming. He has appeared on all of Sade's albums: Diamond Life, Promise, Stronger Than Pride, Love Deluxe, and Best of Sade, all of which went triple platinum in the U.S. and have totaled sales over 40 million albums worldwide. All five albums were digitally remastered and reissued in November 2000 to coincide with the release of Sade's first album of the 21st century, Lovers Rock. Their other releases are the EP Remix Deluxe, a 1994 concert DVD and a 'best of' DVD. He has also written and produced songs for Maxwell, his own band Sweetback, the movie score Twin Falls Idaho and music for the soundtrack Jackpot.
Born August 18, 1960, in Hull, North Yorkshire, England, Matthewman started playing clarinet as a child. During his teens, he picked up sax and began playing guitar in various club and new wave bands (He did a short stint with an ELVIS tribute band!). His influences have included: Jr. Walker, King Curtis, Art Pepper, Ernie Isley, Steve Jones, Wah Wah Watson, Issac Hayes, Bill Withers, Lee Perry, Tony Iommi and Gustav Mahler.
In 1982, Matthewman relocated to London. Joining Latin funk band Pride, he met singer/songwriter Sade Adu. They began writing songs together. Teaming with bandmate Paul S. Denman and keyboardist Andrew Hale, they formed the band Sade. Signing with Epic Records U.K. division in 1984 and working with producer Robin Millar and engineer/producer Mike Pela, Sade's debut Diamond Life began a long string of hits. During Sade's 'Love Deluxe' US tour he met up and coming LA based film makers Mike and Mark Polish. In 1994 Matthewman composed the music for their award winning short movie 'Bajo Del Perro'.
In 1995, Matthewman met singer MAXWELL through Sade percussionist Karl Vanden Bossche. Matthewman wrote and produced 'Welcome,' 'Lonely's the Only,' and 'Whenever Wherever Whatever' and played sax and guitar on Maxwell's multi-platinum 1996 Columbia debut album 'Urban Hang Suite'. Matthewman also worked with the singer on his follow-up album Embrya and his latest CD 'NOW'. They also wrote the song 'Seguranca,' a track for the 1996 Verve various artists CD Red Hot + Rio. He also wrote the music for a short film written by Nelson George called 'To Be A Black Man' which starred Samuel L. Jackson.
Around this time Matthewman started releasing 12'' records using the alias COTTONBELLY. Through this he was asked to do remixes including a new dub mix of Gregory Issacs' classic cut 'Night Nurse' A few of these still turn up on various dub compilation CDs.
A full length COTTONBELLY CD 'X Amounts Of Niceness' was released with a limited edition of only 500.
Later that year, with Sade bandmates Andrew Hale and Paul S. Denman, Matthewman recorded the self-titled debut of Sweetback. The CD was a mix of ambient dub, trip-hop, soul and acid jazz. The charting single 'You Will Rise' had lead vocals by one-time Groove Theory vocalist Amel Larrieux and became a steppers favorite. The CD also featured Maxwell on the track Softly Softly, long time Sade sideman Leroy Osbourne on the Bill Withers song Hope She'll be happier and Philly rapper Bahamadia on Au Natural.
They also released a remake of the Boz Scaggs classic 'Low Down' with Leroy Osbourne.
In 1998 Matthewman met Harlem based singer songwriter OLU. Together they produced 3 tracks for his first CD 'Soul Catcher' released on G Street records. In 1999 he recorded the CD 'Delirium' with the British born singer songwriter SANTESSA. This mellow trippy collection of songs was released in 2000 on the label Disco Volante. A version of the CD was released in Japan with 3 extra tracks.
On October 31, 2000, Boulder, C0 - based What Are Records issued the Matthewman-composed soundtrack to the 1999 independent movie hit 'Twin Falls Idaho'. The album is a wonderfully eccentric affair and was recorded with members of the New York Philharmonic. The CD also featured COTTONBELLY tracks 'Edge Test1', 'Mystery Dub' and the track 'Don't Grow' with Mark Anthony Thompson (Chocolate Genius).
In 2000 Sade released the new CD 'Lovers Rock' They toured the USA in the summer of 2001. During this time he wrote songs and score for the movie 'Jackpot' written and directed by the Polish Brothers(The sound track was released on MILAN records) and did various remixes including Janet Jackson's 'Son Of A Gun'.
Sade released the new live DVD ëLovers Liveí Directed by Sophie Muller. It includes extra documentary features Directed and edited by the Polish Brothers. From this DVD a Live CD was released also called ëLovers Liveí Sade picked up another Grammy,for best pop album in 2002.
Sweetback will start recording a new CD in the fall of 2002.
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