UGO EHIOGU - SOMEBODY ELSE
What connects Tottenham Hotspur, Dirty Hit Records and The 1975?
If you said Ugo Ehiogu, you're a better, more informed man than me.
I woke up to the terribly sad news that former England, Middlesborough and Aston Villa defender Ugo Ehiogu had died following a cardiac arrest at Tottenham Hotspur's training ground on Thursday afternoon. It's shocking because he was so young (44), seemingly healthy, and that he leaves behind such a young family.
What was shocking to me in a far less significant, meaningful way, however, was the news that Mr. Ehiogu was also the co-founder of record label Dirty Hit Records, along with Jamie Oborne. Upon further research, I found an interview between the former football player and Sky Sports shortly after the launch of Dirty Hit, where he spoke about his relationship with music generally, and The X-Factor, particularly.
"With such programmes like X Factor, it is not always won by the person with the best voice.They are looking for marketable people as opposed to people with actual, real singing potential. That does play a part, for sure. There is loads of room for all kinds of acts and bands who make it through hard work and gigging to 200/300 people. There isn't a lot of that coming through, or there certainly isn't in the press and to that extent it doesn't get glamorised as much as X Factor winners or contestants."
Dirty Hit arguably have enjoyed even more success than Ehiogu would have ever expected, following his talk of gigging to 200/300 people. Their greatest triumph came with The 1975, whose album 'I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It' topped the UK albums chart just last year. They also won the Best British Group Award at the 2017 BRITs.
So while such a young death is sad, shocking, and everything else in between, some comfort lies in the knowledge that Ugo Ehiogu lived to see such success in both of his most passionate interests. While scanning the internet, I also found this quote from him:
"My love of football is massive, but my love of music is amazing. "You have people eating out of your hands when you're singing, you have people singing the lines of your song."
Ugo never had that hit record where he was the one singing, but he certainly had people eating out of his hands, whether it was after his overhead kick goal for Rangers, or his thumping header against Aston Villa for Middlesborough.
People did sing the lines of your song, Ugo. When that improbable overhead kick went in for Rangers, against their biggest rivals Celtic, the chant of your name, sung by 30,000 people for the remainder of the game could be heard great distances away.
You were your supporters very own rock star, and we were all your biggest fans.