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Phil Collins hosts benefit for young aspiring artists

As Miami gears up for the second annual Little Dreams Foundation benefit on March 11, we spoke with music legend and LDF co-founder Phil Collins about the inspiration behind the organization and the possibility of a new album.

Five-time Grammy-Award winning musical genius, and full-time Miami resident Phil Collins seems to be on the brink of a major comeback. Though he announced he'd come out of retirement in 2015, the star won't be back in the studio just yet; instead, he's hoping to make the second annual Little Dreams Foundation Benefit Gala: Dreaming on the Beach another smash hit. Organized by co-founder and ex-wife Orianne Collins-Mejjati (though the two have recently gotten back together), this gala will raise proceeds to entirely benefit aspiring young talent who don’t have the financial means to achieve their goals. "She’s the brains, I'm just the poster boy," joked Collins. The soirée will feature a VIP cocktail reception, a silent auction, and a concert with an A-list lineup of performances from the likes of two-time Grammy Award-nominated pop singer Diego Torres, former Foreigner lead artist Lou Gramm, Spanish singing sensation Alvaro Soler, Miami’s own DJ Irie, and Little Dreamer artists—plus, Collins will also take the stage to close out the show.

Before the gala takes place on March 11 at Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater, we chatted with Collins to talk about the inspiration behind the foundation, his plans for a possible comeback, and the one Miami restaurant he loves to frequent.

Why did you decide to launch the Little Dreams Foundation?
PHIL COLLINS: I used to get lots of letters from kids and teenagers who wanted to get into the business, and wanted help with advice or contacts. [Orianne and I] were sitting at home one night and we were just like, "We should do something." So we decided to start the foundation. We called it Little Dreams because it is basically for kids between the ages of eight and 18. I drew the little figure, the logo—it all happened in one evening.

How does it make you feel to know that you are making such a positive impact on the lives of so many children?
PC: I was at the audition this past June and kid after kid came in, and they’ve got a lot of balls. They’re about nine, 10, 11 years old, a few who were a little older, and they come in and they’ve got a tape or a CD or a phone, and they’ve got three minutes to do it. They stand there and they sing—that takes a lot of guts. I’m glad I went to the auditions. It’s nice to get their affection from them [...] It’s nice to know that you’ve made a difference.

Can we expect a comeback anytime soon?
PC: I retired in 2004 to bring up my kids, and then [Orianne and I] separated. So when they moved here, my time was spent moving from Switzerland, to New York, to here, trying to get a balance in life so I could see the kids as much as I used to. Now we’re back together again, so it’s not an issue, but for three or four years, I didn’t want to do anything. I kind of had enough of being me. That’s the only way I can say it. I wanted to write me out of the script. I just wanted to be normal. I used to actually avoid my studio in Switzerland. I just didn’t want to do it, because I knew if I wrote songs, then there would be an album; if there would be an album, I’d be sent around the world to talk about it. And if that happened, I’d probably go on the road, and then suddenly you come back and your kids are driving. I just didn’t want to do that anymore. I’ve now started to think about leaving. If I can write some songs, and they’re good enough, maybe there will be an album. The kids want me to do it. They want to get rid of me, now that I’m living with them!

Do you like living in the Magic City?
PC: I don’t do too much. I’ve eaten at some nice restaurants, but I can’t drive at the moment because I’ve got this foot that won’t behave itself. Really, I enjoy [Miami] because I’m with the kids and Orianne, but if the kids decided to move, I’d move. I’m here because they’re here, and fortunately, it’s a nice place!

What’s your favorite restaurant?
PC: Nobu.

© Oceandrive, by Katie Jackson

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