Billy Ocean will headline Soul Party at this year's Castle Concerts

Britain’s biggest black recording star Billy Ocean will headline the Soul Party at this year’s Rochester Castle Concerts, alongside 80s powerhouse singer Alexander O’Neal.

His instant feel good sound has earned him more than 30 million record sales worldwide, and this summer Billy is looking forward to seeing Medway audiences bopping to massive 70s and 80s hits like When the Going Gets Tough The Tough Get Going, Caribbean Queen, Love Really Hurts Without You and Suddenly.

“Getting up on stage with my band and entertaining the audience is what I love to do” he said, “So that is what gets me back up each time. I love to see the crowd sing along to songs that I wrote all those years ago – it shows that a good song will last no matter how old it is”.

Born in Trinidad and raised in London, Billy started out singing in clubs before his first airplay on Radio1 quickly turned him into a trans-Atlantic star. Towards the end of the 80s and at the height of his fame he took a 15-year break to spend time with his family, before bouncing back with a major national tour and a Lifetime Achievement honour at the MOBO awards in 2010.

“I had been in the business a long time and never really had a break. I had a family at home that I wanted to spend time with and live my life again as me. When I decided to come back it was the right time and it was like stepping into a comfortable pair of trousers, it felt just right”.
“Getting the award at the MOBOs was unexpected but wonderful and I really appreciate that they gave it to me. It always feels good to be recognised for what I do but it is not the reason that I do it.”

While this is his first appearance at the Castle Concerts, Billy enjoyed a rapturous reception when he performed at The Central Theatre in Chatham in 2008. “I always love coming back to Medway to perform and I remember how good the crowd were last time,” he said. “It will also be good to see Alexander O’Neal on stage, as he is a very talented singer”. And this time around Billy is intrigued to be performing against the beautiful backdrop of Rochester Castle. “I’ve never been round it before but it will be good to pay it a visit if I have the chance.”

The Soul Party takes place on Friday 20 July and tickets cost £30.
This year’s Castle Concerts line up also includes;

Jools Holland with his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra and special guests including Ruby Turner and Roland Gift from the Fine Young Cannibals – Wednesday 18 July. Tickets £35

Pop phenomenon Steps – Thursday, 19 July. Tickets £35

The Castle Proms with The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra – Saturday, 21 July. Tickets £30

Concert tickets are available in person at The Central Theatre Box Office, The Brook Theatre Box Office and Medway Visitor Information Centre, by phone on 01634 338338 or online at

The Castle Concerts are organised by Medway Council. Join the Castle Concerts Facebook page or Twitter feed for the latest news.