Sunday 15 December 2013

X Factor UK 2013

It is hard to judge what impact the tv show X factor (and other reality shows) may have had on the music biz today. Some contestants have gone on to highly successful careers after the show – notably boy band One Direction, Olly Murs, Darius, Leona Lewis and from Britain’s Got Talent Susan Boyle.  Oddly most of the most successful graduates of reality tv shows were the runner ups. I am not sure what that tells us about the voting public or of the music biz??  

I notice this year that judge Louis Walsh has used words such as – hard working and musical about the contestants. I assume to give the impression this is not about a quick fix superstardom at all – but rather an opportunity for those who have already put in hard graft. After all I am certain The Spice Girls and Westlife were also put together bands only behind the scenes back then. 

There are few live music shows in tv and with so much recording going on and I am sure the live style of these shows is here to stay.  

Talent singing contests went on in ancient Greece, so I’d say the format is here to stay – while it does need to evolve and change, I like my books serious and my tv light and slightly trashy! Mind you I do enjoy those American Tv DVD drama series such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire and more.   

The winner 2013 Sam Bailey has been given a support slot on Beyonce's tour. All about the live gigs these days. Nicholas MacDonald, only 17 and from Scotland, was the runner up. this year.

And PS - I enjoyed Elton John and Gary Barlow on their pianos as they sang a world exclusive song Face to Face ,... but what happened to Kate Perry's singing, it was totally off tune!

My Favourite Musicals

I went to see The Lion King musical  by Elton John & Tim Rice) recently, which was very good and great effects and all.  I was asked what my favourite ever musical is. I answered Westside Story (composed by Leonard Bernstein) which I do love for its energy and songs. But later I thought my top musical may be Cabaret (composed by John Kander)  I saw the film of the Cabaret musical in 1972.

I grew up playing musicals on piano – from The Mikado, South Pacific to the Sound of Music – which I loved to sing.  Most of these musicals were composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. 
Gilbert and Sullivan wrote some of the best musicals which were great fun to play and which I saw on stage several times. 
In more recent times the biggest stage musicals have been composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and I saw The Phantom of the Opera in Edinburgh’s playhouse which was a top rate musical with wonderful songs.  

Leonard Bernstein was an American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim. According to The New York Times, he was "one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history."
Richard Rodgers was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. His compositions have had a significant impact on popular music down to the present day, and have an enduring broad appeal. Rodgers was the first person to win the top show business awards in television, recording, movies and Broadway—an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony – an EGOT.
Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the theatrical partnership of the librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and the composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). The two men collaborated on fourteen comic operas between 1871 and 1896, of which H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado are among the best known.  Gilbert, who wrote the words, created fanciful "topsy-turvy" worlds for these operas where each absurdity is taken to its logical conclusion—fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offence, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, and pirates turn out to be noblemen who have gone wrong. Sullivan, six years Gilbert's junior, composed the music, contributing memorable melodies that could convey both humour and pathos. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber, is a British composer and impresario of musical theatre.  Several of his musicals have run for more than a decade both in the West End and on Broadway. He has composed 13 musicals and he has won 7 Tony Awards, 3 Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, 14 Ivor Novello Awards, 7 Olivier Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006. Several of his songs have been widely recorded and were hits outside of their parent musicals, notably "The Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from Jesus Christ Superstar, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" and "You Must Love Me" from Evita, "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and "Memory" from Cats

Sunday 24 November 2013

KT Tunstall O2 Academy

KT Tunstall, Scottish singer songwriter played a gig at the O2 Academy Glasgow 21st November 2013 as part of her UK Tour for her fifth studio album Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon.

The new album is a step on for KT and she spoke of touring with folk royalties the Carthy family and learning so much from them. The diverse folk roots influence can be heard in a more mature and sophisticated sound and songs.  She has also been over working in  the States which gives this album a more cross over feel with both Scots and American influences. Tunstall has won a Brit and an Ivor Novello Award.  

A Year now since Emeli at Royal Albert hall

It is now exactly a year since Emeli’s Royal Albert hall gig - it was one of the best days for me and totally unforgettable. Emeli shone on the stage for her big moment and I am sure a night she will never forget. I remember so well her entrance down the hall steps - and the vivid realization that she had made it as an artist

I first saw Emeli at the Oran Mor Glasgow jn December 2007. Emeli was at medical school with my daughter then and she told me of her big voice. The event was an ep launch with a backing band and she also took to piano to play a Nina Simone song. We thought then that she had a strong voice but needed better songs. I took photos at the gig that were used in her promotions for gigs and press over several years. Emeli worked hard at her degree and writing in London and meanwhile had several chart hit collaborations. 
I have met and spoken with her manager. I first heard her wonderful album songs at the Oran Mor Glasgow again in 2011.
I was pleased to meet Emeli at her King Tuts gig in 2011. 

In November 2012 I took photos at her Royal Albert hall London concert. Wonderful memories...