LONDON — Veteran actor-comedian Eddie Murphy is on a different chart these days, with his latest single rising to the top of the most downloaded reggae songs on iTunes.
Released Jan. 27, “Oh Jah Jah” was inspired by recent news events, Murphy said.
“I was watching CNN about two or three months ago and all this craziness was going on with the terrorism and chopping off people’s heads and then St. Louis, Ferguson. A bunch of police brutality going on (at the) same time and I had that progression, but I didn’t have any lyrics, but I had that groove. I’d been playing that progression for about a month and then I was watching the news and it all came together one day,” he said.
Murphy recently spoke to The Associated Press about his music, film and comedy.
Q: If you were to release a reggae album, would you put it out as Eddie Murphy or would you think of a reggae name?
A: I’ve got 25 years of stuff on the shelf. I could go right now and pick six, seven, eight reggae songs and put out a reggae album. I could go back there and pick seven or eight country songs and do a country album, or I could do a regular dance/R&B album.
I’ve had people say, “You should put a record out because it’s a good song and if they didn’t know it was you, they’d like it under a different name,” but, hey, these are my tracks and I’m not hiding behind any of it. It is what it is.
Q: Will there be an upcoming album or any collaborations?
A: I have collaborations with all kinds of different artists over the years. Stuff with B.B. King, I’ve recorded with Paul McCartney, Snoop, I’ve recorded with a bunch of different interesting artists. Raphael Saadiq. As far as future collaborations, that all has to come together organically.
As far as an album coming out, if one of these tracks jumps off, if one of them connects with the people digging it and I get some momentum going, I’ll put an album but I’m not planning an album until I’m sure people want to hear something.
Otherwise it’ll stay on the shelf for years and years. A hundred years from now, they dig through everything and I’m totally fine with them finding hours and hours and hours of collaborations and they’ll say, “We didn’t even know Eddie Murphy.” I’m totally fine with that.
Q: What about any upcoming film projects?
A: About two weeks ago I just finished a movie, it’s not a comedy though. It’s called “Cook” and it’s got a really strong director, the guy that directed “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Tender Mercies,” a guy named Bruce Beresford, a really strong director from Australia. We just finished it two weeks ago.
Q: Any plans on returning to stand-up comedy?
A: When I was doing stand-up it was a hundred comedians, now it’s a hundred thousand of them. So if I got onstage again, I’d have to be doing something that makes me different from all these other hundred thousand comics.
My fantasy when I think about live performances is playing with a really strong band playing a half-hour or 40 minutes of music and having the curtains go down then doing an hour of stand-up comedy.
I’d have a really fly show if I could pull that one off.