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Tim Prottey-Jones: To Do. To Be.

12 Sep

Tim Prottey-Jones is one of those people who can do it all. He is a musician, vocalist, composer, producer and musical theatre performer. He gained nationwide attention when he was chosen for the Top II in the televised live shows of ITV’s Superstar. Tim has appeared in shows like Once, Rent in Concert and Jesus Christ Superstar and can currently be seen in Kinky Boots at the Adelphi Theatre in London. At 23 he achieved a publishing deal and since then has released the albums With Every Line and Surrounded By The Sounds.

His latest work goes by the name To Do. To Be. and features brand new musical theatre writing not only by Tim himself but also by co-writers Tori Allen-Martin, Nick Smithers, Angela Prottey-Jones, Martin Meehan, Darah Carville and best-selling author Ali Harris.

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With guest vocalist like Emma Hatton (Wicked, We will rock you), Declan Bennett (Once), Alistair Brammer (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables), Zrinka Cvitesic (Once), Paul Ayres (Kinky Boots, Ghost, Jersey Boys), Arthur Darvill (Once), Laura Pitt-Pulford (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Sound of Music) and Amy Lennox (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde) amongst others this album features some of the finest voices in musical theatre. Combined with Tim Prottey-Jones‘ ability to combine wonderful melodies with interesting and meaningful lyrics To Do. To Be. is a real triple threat.

Taken from six new musical projects the songs tell stories of love, heartbreak, loss, joy, hope and more – it’s one of those albums that has a song for every mood you might be in on the day you give it a listen. From uptempo numbers like The Song Of Sin (featuring Paul Ayres) to the delicate Regret Me (featuring Ambra Caserotti) there is a bit of everything on this album. It’s a diverse mix of songwriting that proves how very much alive and thriving new British musical theatre is. It’s an album to listen to on a cold winter evening when all you want to do is sit down and have someone tell you a beautiful story. All songs on To Do. To Be. are very much stand alone tracks but the album as a whole has a very distinctive instrumental style. It’s easy to listen to but at the same time it’s one of those albums that will make you listen properly.

It’s hard for me to choose a favourite track on the album but if I had to name my top three songs I’d go for (in no particular order)

Kiss Till You Can’t Kiss Anymore (featuring Declan Bennett) I love how Declan Bennett’s voice compliments the song. He is true storyteller through songs.

The Song Of Sin (featuring Paul Ayres) This is such a great uptempo song. It’s one of those that will make you tap your feet along tot he beat. Plus Paul Ayres voice is absolutely perfect for it.

You (featuring Evelyn Hoskins and Brian Gilligan) Another uptempo song but with more of a rock vibe to it. Add two brilliant voices and you have a winning combination.

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But the great thing about To Do. To Be. is it has something for everyone. If you are a fan of musical theatre this is the album for. If you enjoy rock and pop music this is the album for you. If you love listening to amazing voices this is the album for you. And if you are a fan of Tim Prottey-Jones this is not only the album for you but also the album to prove that your musical taste is absolutely impeccable.

You can purchase To Do. To Be. and Tim’s previous albums on iTunes and Amazon.

For info on the upcoming album launch gigs in London on 18th and 25th September visit http://timprotteyjones.co.uk/launch.

Follow Tim on Twitter @TimProtteyJones or find him on Facebook.

Les Miserables – The Movie Soundtrack… (Update) and the movie

8 Jan

Like so many others I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the Les Miserables movie for months. This upcoming Friday I will finally get to see the finished product – to say I’m excited would be an understatement.

I have given the movie soundtrack a listen in the last few days and thought I’d share my views. Obviously these are based on the songs alone since I haven’t seen the actual movie yet. I’m fully aware that the songs might come across in a different light in context with the film.

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Lets start with Russel Crowe as Javert. I was really sceptical about this casting but after listening to his version of “Stars” I’ve changed my mind. He doesn’t have a power voice like Hadley Fraser or Tam Mutu (to name just two) but I quite like his rather soft version of the song. His Javert seems to be more subtle and less forceful and aggressive than (for example) Hadley Fraser’s Javert.

I totally adore Samantha Barks’ version of “On my own”. However, judging from “I dreamt a dream” Anne Hathaway is the star in this movie. I was tearing up just listening to her sing and I’ll probably be a complete mess watching her on the big screen.

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I generally don’t really like Cosette as a character but Amanda Seyfried does a good job singing the songs. Eddie Redmayne (Marius) is a great singer, no doubt about that. Personally I don’t really like the tone of his voice but that is just my preference. I’m really impressed by Aaron Tveit as Enjolras – such a fantastic voice!

Don’t crucify me for this but I still think Helena Bonham Carter is no singer at all. She’s a good actress and I’m sure her portrayal of Madame Thenardier works in the movie but I just think her voice lacks power. Plus when listening to “Master of the house” to me it sounds like Madame Thenardier is completely drunk which is a bit strange. Sacha Baron Cohen seems to be really funny as Thenardier but his accent irritates me – it sounds too much like “Borat goes Thenardier” to me if that makes any sense.

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Which leaves me with the one and only Hugh Jackman. Now, some of you may know that I adore Mr. Jackman. I flew to New York in 2009 mainly because he was staring in “A Steady Rain” on Broadway and I have sat through quite a few rather bad movies just because of him (Real Steel springs to mind). So as you can imagine I was really looking forward to hearing his take on those epic songs in Les Miserables. I’ve listened to the soundtrack a few times to make up my mind about his singing and I’m still not really sure what to think I have to say. My main “problem” with his voice is that it seems a bit too harsh. I don’t like his “Bring him home” at all I’m sad to say – he starts out way too forcefully and his voice doesn’t really suit the song. I quite like the confrontation and he does well in “One day more” (apart from cutting several notes a bit too short for my liking). One song that really stands out is “Suddenly” which has been written especially for the movie. This one seems to be made for Hugh’s voice and is definitely his singing highlight on the soundtrack.

All in all I have to say I won’t listen to his version of the songs a lot. However, I’m pretty sure it will be a whole different think when I’m actually watching the movie. So I shall reserve final judgement until later this week.

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The soundtrack as a stand alone gets 3 out of 5 stars from me. It’s definitely a must have for any Les Miserables fan and just “I dreamt a dream”, “On my own” and “Suddenly” make it a valuable item in any CD collection. However, when it comes to just listening to the Les Miserables score I would choose the cast recording of the actual stage show over the movie soundtrack any time.

Update – 13th January

So, after watching the Les Miserable movie at the IMAX on Friday I thought I should add my thoughts on it. I’m not going to do a long review but I will say this: This is one of the most glorious movies I have seen in my life. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway are beyond amazing and I really enjoyed Russel Crowe’s more subtle take on Javert. He makes the part his own even though he doesn’t have the most powerful voice.
I still think Hugh Jackman’s voice isn’t right for Bring him home but that didn’t really bother me. His Valjean is raw and pure and he puts so much emotion into his performance – that one not so brilliant song really doesn’t take anything away from an outstanding portrayal.
Samantha Bark’s Eponine is simply wonderful. Actually there isn’t a weak link in the whole film. Even Helena Bonham-Carter (who I still think should give up the singing) fits in perfectly. Her and Sacha Baron Cohen are brilliantly funny and put a bit of a light note on an otherwise pretty sad and dramatic movie.
It was nice to see some familiar faces on the big screen: Hadley Fraser, Fra Fee, Caroline Sheen, Bertie Carvel and Stuart Neal, to name just a few. I will definitely have to watch the movie again focusing more on spotting the “West End Wendies”.
All in all Les Miserables is a through and through amazing movie. Obviously it’s based on the stage version of the story but some bits of the book have been added which works really well. I urge all of you to go and see this movie. But don’t forget to take tissues along!

Tony Vincent – In my head

28 Jul

For me Tony Vincent will always be the ultimate Galileo Figaro. He originated the lead role in the popular musical We will rock you and played the part to rave reviews when it first opened in London in 2002. I will never forget the first time I saw Tony on stage at the Dominion Theatre. He left me completely and utterly speechless! Until that moment I had never seen anyone with such a stage presence and such an incredible voice. I was hooked, simple as that.

The first thing I did when I got back home afterwards was research. Who was that guy with the magic voice and the mesmerising stage presence? Within days I owned his CDs (Love falling down, Tony Vincent and One Deed – all available on cdbaby.com) and had listened to him performing the part of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. I’ve been lucky enough to catch Tony in We will rock you on several occasion but sadly I haven’t seen him on stage anywhere else since then. That doesn’t mean he has been lazy all those years though. He reprised his role as Galileo in We will rock you in Las Vegas, he was St. Jimmy in American Idiot on Broadway and he could be seen in Season 2 of NBC’s The Voice to name just a few highlights.

One quality I admire in Tony is that he always stays true to himself both personally and artistically. He knows exactly what he wants and he won’t change just for the sake of fitting into any kind of mainstream. And his new EP “In my head” shows just that. This EP is Tony Vincent through and through. Lyrics with a real meaning, catchy melodies (with just the slightest Britpop influence) and, of course, that magic voice that captivates you straight away.

The first track “Starting over” was released via SoundCloud earlier this years so supporters of Tony’s work will probably know it already. The three new songs are all just as catchy in their own way. While listening to the EP I couldn’t help but be in awe of how much heart and soul had been put into those songs.

Tony Vincent is a true artist. His music is unique and personal. And while I would love to see him on a theatre stage again (maybe even in London – I can always dream) I am looking forward to hearing more of his own music in the future.

I urge all of you to give “In my head” a listen. This EP is a must have for everyone that appreciates great lyrics and melodies and an absolutely stunning voice. Don’t miss out on this!

You can find Tony Vincent’s “In my head” on iTunes or on http://www.cdbaby.com.

Ramin Karimloo – Ramin

14 Apr

Ramin Karimloo is best known for playing some of the most iconic leading parts in the world of musical theatre: From Chris in Miss Saigon to the Phantom in both The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies to most recently Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. But he is by no means a typical musical theatre performer. With no classic musical training he started his stage career singing in rock bands in his home country Canada.

After working in musical theatre solidly for the last 10 years Ramin is now stepping into new territory. His long awaited debut album “Ramin” was released on April 9th. And just as Ramin is no ordinary musical theatre performer this is not an album you would expect from a musical theatre artist.
Although the album features two well known musical theatre songs with “Music of the night” and “Till I hear you sing” (from The Phantom of the Opera and its sequel Love Never Dies) even those songs come along in a refreshing new arrangement. While they still feature the huge belting notes both songs have a more pop-like feel to them making them more accessible to the non-theatre audience.
The up tempo songs “Show me light” and “Broken home”, both co-written by Ramin, stay in your head and especially the latter has the potential to be a huge mainstream hit. “Coming home”, the first single of the album was written by Ryan Tedder (who is behind Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love) and shows off Ramin’s incredible voice perfectly. Personally I prefer the simply beautiful “Constant Angel”, a song that will end up being stuck in your head for hours.
Ramin manages to make big songs like Muse’s “Guiding Light” and Bryan Adams’ “Everything I do” his own with ease. However, the stand out songs on his album are without a doubt the ones he co-wrote. The enthralling “Inside my world” is one of the most haunting song I have heard in a long time. And with “Eyes of a child” (another co-write) Ramin has added a beautiful and tender ballad to the album. “Song of the human heart” is maybe the most average song on this CD but only because the other songs are all exceptionally strong. This applies to the last song on the album in particular. Ramin’s stunning version of “Cathedrals” is the perfect finish to an all around impressive recoding debut.

Ramin has proven that he is more than just another musical theatre star releasing an album. His record is diverse and catchy and has everything it takes to appeal to the mass market. And whilst I wish him every success I do hope he won’t abandom his passion for theatre and will grace the stage in new and challenging roles in the future.

Get your hands on Ramin’s album here:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ramin/dp/B005Q870PE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334418559&sr=8-1

http://www.myplaydirect.com/ramin

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ramin/id507550015

http://www.dresscircle.co.uk/9600-Product-CD-Ramin%20Karimloo-Ramin-38167

You can catch Ramin on tour in the UK in May. Visit http://raminofficial.com/ for more info.

Jon Boydon – Three Four

14 Dec

Let me start this post by making one thing clear: I’m not a rock chick! This may sound like an odd sentence to start an album review but it’ll make sense once you continue reading.

 

Jon Boydon’s debut album “Three Four” has been long awaited. To quote the man himself, it had been years of threatening to get into the studio and make a recording. While this means a lot of time to carefully chose the songs on the one hand it also means expectations have been built up over the years: We’ve been waiting for this CD for ages, it better be good! No pressure there then. 😉

 

I will admit openly that I really wasn’t sure I was going to like the album when I pressed play and was greeted with some rather heavy rock tunes right at the start. I do enjoy the occasional rock song now and then but (and here I come back to my first statement) I’m not a rock chick.

 

But then this isn’t about me and my music preferences. It’s about Jon and his debut album and I can honestly say: It rocks! And it’s not just “good old rock”. There’s a bit for everyone.

You like your music loud? “Hard to handle” and “Pretty as you please” are your tunes.

You like a catchy tunes that will have you tap your feet along to the beat? You are bound to love “Runaround Sue”.

You like songs that really show off great voices? Go on, listen to “New York state of mind”.

You like a good rock ballad? “She talks to angels” is your song.

 

Personally I prefer Jon’s voice in songs like “New York State of Mind” and “Runaround Sue” but that most likely has to do with me not really being into heavy rock songs.

 

One of my favourite songs on the album has to be “Drops of Jupiter (Tell me)”. I’ve always adored that song – it is so beautifully written. And Jon definitely does the song justice on this album.

 

I’d like to give a special mention to the only self written track on the album: “Fallen Angel”. It has nothing to do with the song a lot of you will know from the hit musical Jersey Boys in which Jon is still playing the part of Tommy DeVito. “Fallen Angel” is a beautiful song – simple as that. It has great lyrics and a really catchy melody. I might be a bit in love with that one already and I’ve only listened to it twice so far.

 

So, what kind of album is “Three Four”? I’d class it as a rock album with a twist. If you like rock music, you should give it a listen. But don’t let the label “rock” put you off in case that’s not your kind of music. There’s more to the album than plain old rock. And it’s definitely been worth the rather long wait. 

 

And by the way, I really do fancy the photo inside the booklet! 😉

 

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Order Jon Boydon’s debut CD “Three Four” here:

Dress Circle

 

Or here:

 

Amazon