Phil Collins, Richard Marx, Tim Howar Nurture Future Phenoms

Home / Phil Collins, Richard Marx, Tim Howar Nurture Future Phenoms

MIAMI, FL — If you’re not sure whether the proverbial apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, take a look at Nic Collins, who at 18 just wrapped up the 97-stop “Not Dead Yet” world tour with his famous dad, global pop superstar Phil Collins.

“The best moment was probably either playing Hyde Park in London — that was 75,000 people which was really great — or sharing on this leg, we did the Garden — Madison Square Garden.

“It was for me a dream come true, and to share that with my dad was something really special for me,” confided Nic Collins, whose powerful drumming style is reminiscent of his dad’s — though Peter Gabriel famously referred to Phil Collins’ “wonderful, one-handed drum solo” because Collins was reportedly uncomfortable doing traditional drum solos when the two superstars played together in Genesis.

Over the weekend, father and son appeared together again, this time to help other young phenoms get their start, not only in the music business, but also in the world of sports and art — a 19-year passion of Phil and Orianne Collins. Together, they founded the Little Dreams Foundation in 2000 to help young people find their dreams in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and more recently in the Miami area where the family calls home.

They were joined by Richard Marx, Tim Howar, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield and famed artist Romero Britto, to raise money for the charity, which is dedicated to finding the next generation of phenoms and nurturing their talent.

Lots Of Letters

“We picked Miami because that’s where we live,” Phil Collins told Patch. “We started it in Switzerland and started it because there was a period in time, 15 years ago, maybe, where I was getting a lot of letters from kids that wanted to break into the business and wanted my help as to tell them where to go, what to do.”

For a global superstar, you might think such advice would flow naturally, but not so, says Collins, who is still as much the showman as he was during the 1980s, though he now walks with a cane.

His foundation helps talented young people by providing the tools and contacts they need to succeed.

“I only have certain contacts because I’ve been pretty much with the same people all my career,” acknowledged Collins, who was reportedly comfortable enough on stage to stop an orchestra during a performance of “Davy Crockett” at age 5 because the orchestra played the wrong key.

Little Dreams

He and Orianne created the foundation in a single night.

“We gave it some thought, and thought it would be nice to create a foundation that we can do in that one night,” Collins told Patch. “I can picture it. It became Little Dreams. I did the logo and suddenly it was born.”

As a professional jewelry designer, Orianne Collins has taken on many of the day-to-day responsibilities of running the foundation.

“Tonight we’re going to showcase some of our kids from Switzerland, from United Kingdom and from the United States,” she said ahead of the weekend gala.

Phil Collins said his foundation conducts auditions once a year to find the most deserving young people who are also disadvantaged and between the ages of 6-17. All of the candidates must have a passion for music, art or sports.

“You are constantly surprised about how much talent there is,” he said. “It goes beyond singing in the shower. There’s a lot of kids with talent, but on the family budget it’s way down low — things people can afford, and things they can’t afford, which is vocal tuition and stuff like that.”

‘Magical’ Genesis Reunion?

Tim Howar, a member of the English super group Mike & The Mechanics, which was created by Genesis alum Mike Rutherford, told Patch not to be surprised to see a Genesis reunion now that the “Not Dead Yet” tour has wrapped up.

“If I had to put my money on it, I would put a tenner somewhere on that it’s going to happen,” predicted Howar, who is coming off a London run in the starring role of “The Phantom Of The Opera.”

Genesis last got together in 2014 for a BBC documentary, but next time might be a tour with Nic Collins taking over the drums.

Phil Collins, whose recent tour was named after his 2016 book by the same name, remains close to his Genesis band mates.

“I just think that they’re fantastic friends. When we were opening for Phil in the summer, Mike got on stage and did a couple of numbers with them,” Howar said of Mike Rutherford and his Mike & The Mechanics performances with Collins.

Over the years, Howar said, Genesis band members have been successful in many different projects, which left little free time.

“They’ve all had the fame, the success, but the thing that really matters is their family,” he said. “That includes that little band that started it all.”

He said Rutherford and Collins still have an undeniable chemistry that was apparent in the “Not Dead Yet” tour.

“They both light up when they play. I’ve been playing with Mike for the last 10 years. He’s a great friend,” Howar explained. “It’s always been about a family thing. But when you get that original family together it’s magical.”

Howar’s weekend appearance at the historic Moore Building in Miami’s Design District comes as he transitions from Phantom to a concert series with European orchestras.

“I finish that in December and then I go to the studio to record two albums — one, kind of a Broadway-themed album that I’m writing part of, and doing that with two other gentlemen from the West End — big actors there — and then a solo project.”

He’s not sure what’s next for Mike & The Mechanics.

“We’ll see what happens with the Mechanics based on whether Mike Rutherford wants to get back in the studio,” he confided. “It’s always a surprise to us.”

Richard Marx Back On Top

Richard Marx, who performed at Collins’ gala, recently marked a new chapter in his own decades-long music career with yet another hit. He plans an early 2020 release of his first new album of original songs in six years.

“I just had a top-15 single, believe it or not — an old man like me,” he told Patch. “The new album comes out Feb. 7. It’s called ‘Limitless’ on BMG. I’m really psyched about it. I’m touring all next year.”

This weekend also marked his second performance at the Little Dreams gala. The first was five years ago, which coincidentally was the foundation’s first Miami gala.

“I was also excited because Phil was planning to perform that night but then he really wasn’t feeling well,” recalled Marx of his first performance at the gala. “I ended up performing ‘In the Air Tonight’ with his son, Nic, playing drums which was really a pretty special night.

“Even though we were all bummed that Phil didn’t perform, there was something about Nic playing drums that was so in the spirit of the foundation itself.’

Former boxing heavyweight and cruiserweight champion of the world Evander “The Real Deal” Holifield said he supports the work of the foundation because of his own experience as a young boy who wanted to pursue a dream in sports.

“I was that kid,” he asserted. “I was told at 8 years old I could be the heavyweight champion of the world if I listened, follow regs and don’t quit.”

Nic Collins, who also has his own band, Fifty Eight Hundred, said he is mostly a self-taught drummer. His dad never pushed him to take up the instrument.

“Obviously, he’s the reason I played drums, but it was never forced upon me,” the younger Collins recalled in the Patch interview.

“I think … as I’ve gotten older, I have gravitated towards wanting his opinion a bit more just as a drummer and not so much as a father-son thing.”

Watch Nic Collins performing in London’s Hyde Park with his father:

Nic Collins said touring with his father gave him a different perspective.

“It just became a really cool thing where it was work and then afterwards it was like, look what we just kind of got to share as father and son.”

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