Indeed, Billy didn't record any further material for nine years. In 2002, Jive released a collection of his ballads entitled Let's Get Back Together in Europe. Among the contents were a previously unreleased track recorded in the 80's, and two newly recorded songs — a cover of Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You" and a rendition of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds." The long drought of new material wasn't necessarily intended. "After the Time to Move On album, when Clive went to America, it wasn't the same with the people I had to work with over here. Instead of beating my head against a brick wall, I thought, 'Maybe I'll just spend some time with my family.' Of course, it sort of drifted into nearly 15 years, because, you know, time flies!" Notably, during this hiatus, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from the University of Westminster.
To the relief of many fans the world over, Billy finally ended his absence from the music business in 2007, when he began embarking on a comeback tour — mostly in the U.K., but with a few stops in the U.S. Of the latter, a particularly notable engagement was at B.B. King's in New York on October 27. This writer attended the show, and can vouch for the sheer energy and joy that permeated the club that night. Not to mention, it was my first introduction to the warm personality of Mr. Charles, who was very gracious at our backstage "meet-and-greet."
With the delightful welcome-back response generated from these shows, in 2008, Billy took two more important steps toward making a full-fledged comeback: writing new material and recording it. The first result of this came in the spring, with the song "Chained" being featured on the U.K.-only compilation, Wilberforce 200 (A Change Is Gonna Come) - commemorating the bicentennial anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade.
Continuing to tour while readying a new full-length album, Billy made one very important decision concerning his new musical ventures: he would release his music independently. Billy notes that he decided, "I'm just gonna try things on my own. I had enough experience. At my age, where am I going to go to a record company and say, 'Hi, I'm Billy Ocean. Sign me'? They'd show me the door! But the truth of the matter is, I'm still out there making music, touring, and I still feel I have something to offer."
In February of 2009 , Billy put an end to the 16-year absence of a full-length album with the release of Because I Love You on his own Aqua Music. Previously serving as his publishing company, Aqua now acts as his bonafide record label. "Nothing happens without a reason. I've always wanted to know what it would be like to be in charge of my own label and projects. But you don't know how to do it until one day you get the opportunity." Because I Love You brings together Billy's loves of pop, R&B, and reggae in a cohesive sequence that showcases both his mastery of the ballad and his funk savvy.