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Music

Musical chameleon Jan Delay takes a stab at rock

Hip-hop, reggae, funk and soul were yesterday for Jan Delay - now it's time for rock. One of Germany's most successful pop artists is known for reinventing himself without losing his signature touch.

Having thrown in the towel with club sounds, Jan Delay has found his latest incarnation. "Reggae and funk are dead, now it's time for rock," the Hamburg-born musician said of his fourth album release, "Hammer & Michel."

"It was a matter of honor for me not to do the same thing again," said the 37-year-old.

In the 90s Delay grew popular with the hip-hop band Beginner (then called Absolute Beginner). A reggae album followed, along with the funk and soul albums "Mercedes Dance" (2006) and "Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Soul" (2009), both of which hit number one in the charts.

Delay says his parents' Ramones record gave him an early introduction to rock. "I always played it because of the comic cover and would get totally into it," said the singer, who was born Jan Eissfeldt and played drums in a school band at the time.

"Hammer & Michel" has plenty of hard guitar riffs, and he filmed the video for his song "Wacken" on location in the heavy metal mecca. "The video shoot was unbelievable. I've never been at a festival with so many nice and pleasant people," said the musical chameleon.

However, the new album still bears Delay's signature style - his nasally rap vocals and a funky sound.

What did the star's idol - German rock legend Udo Lindenberg - have to say about his new direction?

"He said it was cool. He shaped my taste, and so it's pretty much clear that my taste and his will be about the same. Unfortunately, he doesn't understand my lyrics, but he's not the only one there," Delay said.

jb / gsw (dpa)

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