Making music in Silves

Four decades after launching his own successful music career in London, a Silves-based producer wants to help others break into the music industry.

Steve Lima has a record label fuTuRo-Sonic and is currently building what he describes as ‘the best recording studio in the Algarve”. “I’m excited to be going back into a big, well-equipped studio. We’ll be offering the whole package – music and video production.”

Surprisingly, the boy who listened for the bassline in every song didn’t pick up his first guitar until sixteen. Within months, he was auditioning for a local working men’s club band in Camberley. His first gig earned him £25, three times his weekly factory wage.

“That’s when I discovered I could sing. I had no idea.” Two years later, Steve formed the suburban punk band The Members with a friend.Fame was never on Steve’s agenda: he preferred production. Still in his teens – and having written a lot of their early songs – he left The Members and pursued a career that would see him producing some of the biggest names in the music industry.

For the next few years, he learned everything there was to know about the industry, working with talent like Dexy’s Midnight Runners (on Geno), Dana Gillepsie, Shakatak and Corrinne Bailey Rae. In the 1990s, the legendary Bob Dylan helped find Steve and Dana a manager for their Third Man act. Steve has remained with Bob Miller since.

In the early 2000s, he started experimenting with a new music form – the mashup – taking two (or more) separate tracks and ‘mashing’ them together to form a new song. “One I’ve done is putting ‘My World is Empty Without You’ by The Supremes over the backing track for ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ by the Stereophonics.”

Another passion is breathing fresh life into classic Motown hits. Steve’s remix of ‘My World is Empty Without You’ attracted over two million views on YouTube. When his remixed ‘Love Child’ appeared online, one of the songwriters Pam Sawyer contacted him to say she loved what he’d done. His remix work attracted the attention of US blogger and television personality RuPaul and the story was subsequently picked up by Entertainment Weekly. “That’s how my Motown remixes became known worldwide and why I keep doing them.”

Working on the posthumous demo recordings of Eva Cassidy is a career highlight. As well as manipulating vocals on the original recordings, Steve played the guitar, bass guitar, drums and electric organ on Cassidy’s Somewhere album. It reached number four in the UK charts and his talents won him a gold disk.

Circa 1989 publicity shot for Third Man which was a collaboration with Blues legend Dana Gillespie
Recording the demo for Don’t Push at the BBC which was recorded by The Members for their first album

“It was such an honour,” he says. “It was a little strange being in the studio because I could hear her talking between takes. I talked back to her and I felt she was blessing me to continue her work.”

Steve’s love affair with Portugal dates back to 1982. “I was working with John Le Mesurier’s stepson David Malin, who was like a brother to me. John and Joan were incredibly kind and they took me in,” Steve recalls. “John was one of the most remarkable men I’ve ever met. Sergeant Wilson was John; he wasn’t acting much in that role.”

John and Joan invited Steve – who was on the road in Marbella – to join them at the Bouliqueme home of fellow Dad’s Army actor Clive Dunn. While there, Steve met his wife.

The allure of the music industry remained strong, however, and in 1989, Steve left for Jersey where he had a recording studio. He has produced music since, embracing technical advances but preferring studio recording whenever possible.

“Music production was a really sociable job. Now I can do 90% of work alone on my Macintosh system. In one way it’s great, because I can work with people wherever they happen to be, but my job is getting the most out of people and it can be hard doing that online.”

Distance wasn’t a problem when he linked up with talented Lagos-based singer Althea Brown to record ‘Over and Over’ a song Steve wrote with “a big fat bass in the vein of the early Motown era”. The track is getting international airplay and will be available on 7” vinyl, another nod towards the Motown era.

Music runs through Steve’s veins and, having spent his life producing others, he is now performing again. “My childhood dreams came true,” he says. “But it’s only since I returned to the Algarve that I’ve become a singer. Thank you Portugal.”

Steve is available for bookings for his solo show.

(Main photo: Performing September 2020. Credit: Jackson H Photography)

Youtube: fuTuRo-Sonic

Steve Lima has teamed up with former Boney M singer Althea Browne to record one of his songs “Over and Over”. Have a look at the video:


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