Music legend Phil Collins, now 66 years old, remembers a world that was far simpler for musicians.
"Life was a little bit different when I was 5 years old," Collins says. "Back then, in 1956, if you had a drum kit and you learned how to play, you had a chance. There was no MTV."
After that, he built one of the most successful musical careers of the 20th Century, mostly with the band Genesis, which has sold more than 100 million albums in the past 50 years and pioneered a style of rock 'n' roll that has influenced scores of musicians. He's also forged an impressive solo career.
After declaring his retirement five years ago and experiencing health issues that nearly prevented him from drumming ever again, Collins began his Not Dead Yet Tour this summer. He shed the negative attention on his work of previous years and has seen a positive critical reevaluation since then. But the whims of critics didn't stop him. They energized him. "It all added up to: Why don't we just go out and do it again?" he says.
"One of the things was my son Nicholas being able to play drums with me," Collins says of his reasons for returning to the stage. "I think, as I was reminded by my oldest daughter, it's dangerous to take away something from your life that's been such a big part of your life."
The music icon moved to Miami two years ago. "It's a bit hot for me," the Brit laughs. "My kids live here, and Orianne lives here," he says of his wife. "When we decided to get back together, that's where they lived, so that's where I came."
He hasn't been able to drive or explore Miami much because of a foot injury. Then he rests his hands on a cane, and the man of myth actually seems at peace. "People are very nice here. It's easy."
As for what's next, Collins says, "We're gonna keep on doing shows, taking some time off, doing [shows], taking some time off... That's the plan at the moment."
Onstage at the Faena Theater recently, he sat quietly as Orianne spoke about the Little Dreams Foundation, which they founded in 2000 to fulfill the dreams of young talents with no financial means. The foundation aims to benefits kids in sports, music, and arts. She described the December 9 benefit gala that will present the talents of the organization's sponsored children, alongside headliners KT Tunstall, Laura Pausini, and Collins himself.