Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

    

"Call Me Adam" chats with...

 

 

Entries in Music (148)

Monday
Dec162013

Philip Chaffin: Somethin' Real Special: The Songs of Dorothy Fields Interview

Philip Chaffin, Photo Credit: Leslie Van SteltenPhilip Chaffin is a performer and co-founder of PS Classics, a record label dedicated to celebrating the heritage of Broadway and the popular songbook. Philip has just released his fourth solo recording, Somethin' Real Special: The Songs of Dorothy Fields, the first ever all male recording of Dorothy Fields' songs. 

For more on Philip and PS Classics be sure to visit http://www.philipchaffin.com and http://www.psclassics.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter! 

1. Who or what inspired you to become a performer? I grew up in the Deep South -- Louisiana and Mississippi -- and when I was a small kid, I used to dream about going to Hollywood and being on The Carol Burnett Show, or The Lawrence Welk Show, or Heehaw. That was a Southern's boy's dream! I should mention I come from a large family: I have five brothers and sisters, and they're really outgoing, and as a result, I didn't speak much until I was in high school. I sort of lived in their shadow. So when my high school announced that it was doing West Side Story, and I told my family that I wanted to audition, they all laughed, because they'd never heard me speak much, let alone sing. But I auditioned, and won the role of "Tony," and from that point on, I was hooked.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? Well, I guessed I've missed my shot at being on The Lawrence Welk Show and Heehaw. Do you think there's a chance I could still work with Carol Burnett?  When she did Putting It Together on Broadway in 1999, I think that playing "The Younger Man," the John Barrowman role, would have been my dream job.

CD designed by Derek Bishop3. You just released your new CD Somethin' Real Special: The Songs of Dorothy Fields, which is the first ever male solo recording of her lyrics. What made you want make this album? What do you identify most with about Dorothy's songs? I'd spoken with my husband Tommy Krasker, who runs PS Classics with me and has produced all my albums, about my doing an album devoted to the work of one songwriter, and we worked on it for a few years -- we tried Jerome Kern and we tried Johnny Mercer, but we couldn't find the right fit. But then Tommy, who's a huge Dorothy Fields fan (he has a huge collection of her songs: over 300), suggested her work, and it felt so right. There was such range to the material, because of course her career spanned almost fifty years, but also, I think, because she was a playwright as well as a lyricist, there's always something to "play" in her songs, and that really appealed to the actor in me. You know, in a lot of songs of the '20s and '30s, they're a lot of fun to sing, but there's nothing to sink your teeth into.  Dorothy Fields' lyrics have so much personality: she really wrote for the actor as well as the singer.

4. What, if any, barriers do you feel you might help break with this album? Well, as you said, I'm the first male singer to devote an album to Dorothy Fields' work. So maybe more men will start doing her songs.  You know, Stephen Sondheim, who loves Dorothy Fields' lyrics, wrote something in one of his books, noting that because when she started writing, musicals weren't "integrated," the lyricists pretty much wrote in their own voice. Which is what she did, so the early songs especially have a slightly female or feminine or earthy or urbane tone to them. Maybe that's scared away some male singers before, but now here we are in 2013, I don't think we worry about stuff like that anymore. A great song is a great song.

5. What do you hope listeners come away with after hearing this album? Well, I hope folks will come away with an appreciation of her work, but I also don't pretend this is a compendium of her whole catalog; I mean, she wrote hundreds and hundreds of songs, and these are just my favorite seventeen. Mostly, I hope the listener will come away with the real sense of joy that we had in putting the album together. I have never had a better time doing an album.

Philip Chaffin, Photo Credit: Leslie Van Stelten6. What was the best part about putting this album together? Working with the orchestrators and musicians. We knew we wanted a lot of orchestrators involved, and we went to a lot of our favorites -- many of whom are always busy scoring Broadway musicals, like Jonathan Tunick and Doug Besterman -- and they all said yes. They loved the idea of the album, and they loved the songs. So suddenly you have these Tony Award-winning arrangers taking your ideas, and doing their thing, and making them ten times better than you ever dreamed. And then the orchestra was amazing. 23 players, and we handpicked them, so it was being in a room with these great arrangers and incredible musicians. I was hearing the charts for the first time just minutes before we recorded them; I think you can hear the sense of excitement and wonder in my performances.

7. In addition to performing, you are the co-founder of PS Classics. What made you want to start your own record label? What do you enjoy most about running the label? It's funny, Tommy and I never wanted to start a record label. We did my first CD back in 2000, and then we reached out to our accountant, because we needed to know what we had to do to sell it. And he said, you need to form a company. And we formed PS Classics, and suddenly -- because Tommy has been producing music theatre albums since 1989 -- all these artists started coming to us and saying, "I hear you have a new label devoted to show music," and they came to us with ideas for albums, or albums that were half-completed. It was right around the time that a lot of the major labels were getting rid of their music theatre divisions, so we just happened to be in the right place at the right time. And although occasionally I'm sad if I have to turn down an acting job because we're right in the middle of a big cast album and I can't get away, mostly I've been able to juggle the acting career and running the record label, and I love doing both. It's wonderful to see a Broadway show you love, and then get the opportunity to preserve it on disc.

CD designed by Derek BishopCD designed by Derek Bishop8. You have received two Grammy nominations for producing the CDs of Follies and Sondheim on Sondheim. What did these nominations mean to you? As I said, Tommy's the record producer in the family, but anytime we're doing an album, he'll call me into his office all the time and ask me to listen to something, and he'll say, "Are the strings too loud," or "Is the acting too over-the-top," or "Does that note bother you?" So I started producing albums with him sort of behind the scenes. But on Follies and Sondheim on Sondheim, they were big productions, and two-disc sets, and Tommy said, "Can you do these with me," and I was there every step of the way, from recording to editing to mixing, and I realized how much I'd picked up from him over the years. I found I was good at it. So getting Grammy nominations for those two discs was just icing on the cake!

9. Whose album or cast recording would you like to have on PS Classics? I'd love to have a Bernadette Peters solo album on our label. I think I actually first saw her when she was a guest on The Carol Burnett Show, and I thought she was amazing. And then I bought one of her solo albums, and I played it and played it until it wouldn't play anymore. We worked with her on Follies, and she was not only so talented, of course, but so gracious. I would love us to put out a Bernadette Peters solo disc. Will she be reading this?

10. What have you learned about yourself from being a performer and running a record label? I've learned I can be tough when I need to be. When I moved to New York in 1997, I think I was in many ways still that shy boy from Louisiana. I would cower in front of casting directors -- they scared me! But when you run a label, you learn how to be strong, you learn when to say no, you learn to stand up for yourself. That's really helped me as a performer, both when auditioning and also when I land a role and I'm in rehearsals.

11. What's the best advice you've ever received? "Breathe. Just breathe." An acting coach told me that years ago. I was running PS Classics, and performing in a show, and there was so much to do, I wasn't enjoying any of it. I wasn't taking the time to enjoy it. She encouraged me to slow down, breathe and really enjoy the opportunities I've been given.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

12. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? Can I be like Superman and break the time barrier, or whatever it's called? I'd love to go back to the 1930's or 1940's, and be one of those singers who sings with a big band.

13. Favorite way to stay in shape? I run several times a week. We live near a park, and I love running through it. For some reason, I can never get in to running at the gym, but give me some scenery, and I'm there! Again, I think that probably goes back to my Southern roots, and growing up on a farm.

14. Boxers or Briefs? Boxer Briefs.

Philip Chaffin, Photo Credit: Leslie Van SteltenMore on Philip:

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana –moved to New York in 1997, and within two weeks, was cast in his first concert (the Encores! revival of Sweet Adeline, in which he sang the solo "Pretty Jenny Lee") and his first Broadway musical, Alan Menken and Tim Rice’s King David. He continued to appear regularly in and around New York, then in 2000 founded the label PS Classics with his partner, album producer Tommy Krasker.

When his first solo disc, the big-band album Where Do I Go From You?, debuted that year, All Music Guide greeted the new artist as a "a singer with a highly engaging voice who clearly loves what he is doing. His mellifluous-toned tenor fits this music like a formfitting suede glove, and he does so seemingly without any effort at all, like honey running off the tongue." Show Business hailed his "flexible and soaring instrument. He is as comfortable swinging the beat as he is singing a ballad, and he has a clean, unpretentious sound that is both refreshing and sexy." His second album, Warm Spring Night, which celebrated a century of Broadway love songs, was released in 2005. Chaffin’s third album, When the Wind Blows South, was named one of Playbill.com’s "year’s best" in 2008. He is featured on recordings of Nonesuch Records’ Pardon My English, New World Records’ Tell Me More, and several PS Classics discs, including Sweet Little DevilSweet Bye and Bye and The Maury Yeston Songbook. Since 2000, Chaffin has divided his time between performing and running PS Classics; he has received two Grammy Awards nominations, for co-producing the Broadway cast recordings of Sondheim on Sondheim and Follies.

More on PS Classics:

PS Classics, founded in 2000 by Tommy Krasker and Philip Chaffin, has received eight Grammy Award nominations (for its cast albums of AssassinsNine: The MusicalGrey GardensCompany, A Little Night MusicSondheim on Sondheim, Follies and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess). The label’s rich and varied catalog includes award-winning cast recordings; solo albums by such artists as Victoria Clark, Maureen McGovern, Kate Baldwin, Jessica Molaskey, Steven Pasquale and Liz Callaway; and restorations of long-lost musicals, including Sweet Bye and Bye and Strike Up the Band.

Tuesday
Dec102013

Anthony Nunziata: The Lord's Prayer Interview

Photo Credit: Logan MackJust in time for the holidays, recording artist and concert performer, Anthony Nunziata (of Will and Anthony Nunziata), has just released his debut solo recording, "The Lord's Prayer." Anthony and I took a moment to sit down and discuss this milestone in his career. "The Lord's Prayer" is available on Amazon and iTunes!

For more on Anthony be sure to visit http://www.anthonynunziata.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube!

1. You just released your debut solo recording, the holiday single, "The Lord's Prayer," with new arrangements by Mr. Tedd​ Firth. What made you want to record this song? I've always loved the song. It has one of the most gorgeous melodies. I sang the song at a friend's wedding two years ago in Raleigh, North Carolina​​, and I was just waiting for the right moment, around this time of year, to record and do a music video.

2. How did you and and Tedd come together? What was the best part about working together? Tedd Firth and I first began working together four years ago. Tedd is a musical genius. He really is. When we are working on new arrangements in a rehearsal room, it’s easy. It’s fun. It’s organic. He really gets my sensibilities. I look at my collaboration with Tedd as creating ‘one voice’ between my voice and his arrangement.

3. Accompanying the single is a video, available at YouTube.com, which was filmed in Central Park. How did you come up with the concept of walking around the park for the video? As a native New Yorker, Central Park feels like "home" to me. The Park is my favorite place in the City. It provides a quiet respite, a place to reflect, a place to enjoy the beautiful atmosphere, the ponds, the hidden trails, the gardens, the running paths…for a song that is all about prayerful contemplation, I couldn’t think of a better location than Central Park.

4. What do you hope audiences enjoy most about this fresh take on this classic holiday song? My hope is that it touches people in some way.

5. What does this moment in time, you releasing your debut solo recording, mean to you? I’m thrilled. I worked with a great team of people for all of this to happen in the matter of three weeks. Tedd Firth arranging the song and playing on the recording. Jim Czak and Bill Moss at NOLA Recording Studios in NYC. Justin Kaplan who co-directed/co-wrote the video and was director of photography. Logan Mack who was the video shooter and editor. And countless other friends and colleagues for their guidance. The response so far has been wonderful. I’ve been humbled by the personal messages I’ve been receiving from people I know to people from across the world in the Philippines. The power of Youtube is something else!

6. Why was now the right time to do this? In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the Holidays, my hope is that this song will bring some peace and calm to others.

7. Since "The Lord's Prayer," is kicking off the holiday season, what are some of your favorite holiday traditions? I spend Christmas Eve with my Mom’s side of the family and Christmas Day with my Dad’s side of the family. I’m blessed to have loving and supportive parents, and amazing siblings in my brother and younger sister. Christmas time is a special time of year for my family and me, and I’m thrilled to contribute this song to the Holiday season.

Anthony Nunziata, Photo Credit: Stephen SorokoffMore on Anthony: 

Born in Staten Island, Anthony spent the beginning part of his childhood in Brooklyn and was raised north of Manhattan in Pelham Manor. Music was always playing in his house. His parents played cassette tapes and CDs of timeless standards, Broadway songs and Italian arias as well as the sounds of The Beatles, Billy Joel, Motown, Gospel and sacred music. 

His passion is to bring a fresh take to these classic songs and, in turn, make a personal connection with audiences. He's thrilled to have the opportunity to spread the power of music and comedy as connectors – to bring people together to support, love and inspire one another. "My mission is to entertain and inspire – to celebrate our joys and endure our losses through the power of song and laughter."

Thursday
Dec052013

Carl Topilow: Cleveland Pops New Year's Eve 2013 Concert Interview

Carl Topilow and trademark red clarinetCo-founder of The Cleveland Pops, Carl Topilow is renowned worldwide for his versatility, whether he's holding a conductor's baton or his trademark red clarinet. This New Year's Eve (December 31, 2013), The Cleveland Pops join forces with Will and Anthony Nunziata to bring you their show "Broadway Nights," featuring some of Broadway's biggest hits with new original orchestrations. This is going to be one celebration you won't want to miss! The Cleveland Pops New Year's concert will play Severance Hall (11001 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106). Click here for tickets!

For more on Carl and The Cleveland Pops be sure to visit http://www.carltopilow.com and http://www.clevelandpops.com. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter!

Carl Topilow Conducting1. Who or what inspired you to become a conductor/musician? I started playing clarinet when I was nine years old. I really loved it and here I am today. Nobody in my family went into music as a profession and I wasn't expected to either, but it sort of became inevitable because this is what I really wanted to do.

2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I'd love to work with Yo-Yo Ma, Hugh Jackman, and Andrea Boccelli.

3. You co-founded The Cleveland Pops with your wife Shirley. What made you want to take this venture together? Shirley had seen me do these Pops programs and thought I was pretty good at it. The Cleveland Orchestra, which is a world-renowned ensemble, does just a few Pops concerts, so we saw this as an opportunity to fill a void in our community. We've had a lot of support from our board, staff, and community. We've been very fortunate that it has been so successful.

4. What has it been like to see this dream become what it is today? It's a very special environment to have your own orchestra. Everyone's attitude is good, they love playing for the Pops, and Severance Hall is a great venue to host a concert. It's a nice feeling knowing that everybody there is there because they want to be.

5. On December 31, 2013, The Cleveland Pops will be presenting their New Year's Eve concert. What excites you about this upcoming concert? The fact that we are still here is very exciting. It's always a festive evening. I definitely feel it's THE place to be on New Year's Eve. We provide the opportunity to hear a concert in a festive hall, followed by free coffee and dessert while dancing to two bands in two different locations, with a balloon drop at midnight. There is no other celebration like it!

Will and Anthony Nunziata6. Will and Anthony Nunziata are going to be your featured guests as this year's concert. What are you looking forward to most about performing with them? Will and Anthony are terrific performers and wonderful fellas. They have a lot of new arrangements written especially for this evening. We are also doing some selections I've worked on with them in the past, but this concert is their own show, with lots of new material. It's going to be a lot of fun!

7. Since the concert takes place on New Year's Eve, what has been a highlight for you this past year and what are you looking forward to in 2014 with The Cleveland Pops? This past year we had an outstanding season. Our Armed Forces concert was very successful, last year's New Year's Eve concert was terrific, this past February we had Janis Martin, an amazing violinist, pianist singer, and acrobat, we had a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers show, and jazz trumpet player Byron Stripling. One last highlight of this past season was the introduction of our Cleveland Pops Chorus, who is performing on several concerts this season as well.

This year is very exciting with A Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch, our St. Patricks Celebration with Broadway's "Phantom" Ciaran Sheehan, To Reach The Unreachable Stars, a special tribute to the 25 NASA Astronauts from Ohio, and then ending the season with the 14th Annual Salute To Our Armed Forces. We kicked off our season with Ballroom With A Twist, featuring popular contestants from Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, and American Idol which was a big success!

8. In addition to conducting, you are also known for your clarinet playing. What do you get from playing the clarinet that you don't get from conducting? It's really exciting to play with a 55/60 piece orchestra. The clarinet is a very versatile instrument, so I get to play a variety of music such as Hollywood music, Klezmer music, Popular tunes, Swing, and Broadway.

Carl Topilow with his trademark red clarinet9. What can you tell us about your famous red clarinet? Well, it's inspired from the movie The Red Violin. After seeing that movie, I thought, why not a red clarinet? And so there is. Now, additionally, I have a green, white, and blue clarinet. I often mix-n-match pieces of the clarinet to make a red, white, and blue clarinet, an Italian clarinet, which is red, white, and green, a Chanukah clarinet, a Christmas Clarinet, a St. Patrick's Day clarinet, and a Superman clarinet. It's all fun stuff and has become a bit of trademark for myself.

10. You've been the Pops conductor to other orchestra's around the country. What do you enjoy most about conducting these other symphonies? It's always great to be a guest conductor. I get to go in and see a different part of the country. I've been fortunate between my summer festival and teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Music, to conduct these other symphonies because I always run into people I know which is a lot of fun. I get a chance to interact with different musicians and different halls, so it's always a lot fun.

11. Speaking of teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Music, what do you enjoy most about teaching the next generation? When I first got into the profession, I discovered that I really enjoyed conducting college/graduate school-aged students. I worked with a lot of motivated and talented people. I got to rehearse in a different way, I got to teach, which is different than when I conduct a professional orchestra. Whenever I get a note from someone saying how much my teaching meant to them, it really means a lot to me. It's a very rewarding feeling I get inside.

BONUS QUESTIONS:

Carl Topilow conducting12. What's the best advice you've ever received? Learn how to deal with people and how to participate in healthy compromise. Learn how to find out what's on other people's minds and try to relate to what they are going through. Encourage people and find ways to rally people around to make them feel a sense of team. I like to appeal to people's pride in what they are doing rather than fear tactics. I think it's much more effective to encourage and praise musicians rather than berate them.

13. What have you learned about yourself from being a conductor and musician? I've learned to be organized and play to my strengths, understand my weaknesses, and find out the best way to communicate with people. 

14. If you could have any super power, which one would you choose? It would be nice to have a photographic memory and a perfect ear. 

15. Is there something you'd like to share about yourself that most people don't know? I have a lot of interests in life, more than just music. I read a lot, a lot of historical fiction. I speak Italian reasonably. I'm functional in Spanish, French, and German. I like spectator sports, and I've run three marathons.

Carl TopilowMore on Carl:

He is a multi-talented virtuoso who equally at home in classical and popular music both as conductor and instrumentalist. Carl's pops performances blend light classical, swing, jazz, Broadway, Dixieland, and Klezmer music, usually finding occasion to include a number on his array of brightly colored clarinets. His unique approach to pops programming includes extensive audience involvement and true showmanship.

Following his long time dream of conducting his own pops orchestra, Carl founded the Cleveland Pops Orchestra. The orchestra, currently in its 17th season, plays to large audiences in Severance Hall and in several other venues throughout Northeast Ohio. The Cleveland Pops Orchestra's diverse, innovative and electrifying programs have been critically acclaimed. The orchestra has two CDs, Music to Grow On, an exciting collection of music for children and adults of all ages, and Live at the Pops, a stirring compilation of music taken from live performances, as well as several sampler CDs used for promotions.

Carl is also Conductor and Director of the Orchestral Program at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He is currently in his 33rd year as conductor of the CIM Orchestras, and is also head of the Masters program in orchestral conducting. Graduates of this program can be found as maestros with several leading orchestras.

Carl Topilow SingingCarl recently completed his 36th season as Music Director and Conductor of the National Repertory Orchestra, a summer music festival based in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. He has assisted in the training of talented young musicians and conductors for positions in symphonic orchestras in the United States and abroad.

In 2008, Carl was appointed Music Director and Conductor of the The Firelands Symphony Orchestra, based in Sandusky, OH, performing 5 masterworks and 1 outdoor pops concert each season. During Topilow's tenure with the orchestra, the number of subscriptions has increased from 56 to 505.

Carl has also served as Principal Pops Conductor for the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra in Ft. Myers, Florida, as well as for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.

As a guest conductor, Carl has appeared around the world with 110 orchestras, in 36 states in the USA, as well as orchestras in Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and Venezuela.

In addition to his busy conducting schedule, Carl avidly pursues his passion for performing as clarinetist. He often performs with his brother Arthur, a pianist, and the duo can be heard on three CDs, Come in from the Cold, A View from the Top, and Music of America.

Carl Topilow performing in Breckenrige, COCarl is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, with a degree in clarinet performance and a masters degree in music education. He has held conducting fellowships with the National Orchestral Association with Leon Barzin and the Aspen Music Festival with under Jorge Mester. Carl began his professional career as Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor of the Denver Symphony Orchestra.

Carl's wife Shirley is President and CEO of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and Director of the Morgenstern Dance Studio. Daughter Emily is a student at Beachwood High School, and studies the violin through the Cleveland Institute of Music Preparatory Department. Daughter Jenny, a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Carnegie Mellon University, is a violinist with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

Friday
Nov222013

Nicki French Audio Interview: Total Eclipse of the Heart + Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Nicki French as the "Wicked Queen" in Palace Theatre Newark's production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwafs"In my newest audio interview, "Call Me Adam," chats with award winning international recording artist Nicki French, one of Britain's top female singing exports with more than five million sales of her smash hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" since its release in January 1995. In recent years, Nicki has turned her attention back to acting and is currently starring as the "Wicked Queen" in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from December 5-31 at Palace Theatre Newark (United Kingdom). Click here for tickets!

For more on Nicki be sure to visit http://www.nickifrench.com!

Part 1: Nicki French on starring as the "Wicked Queen" in the Palace Theatre Newark's production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Part 2: Nicki French on her recording career including her smash hit dance version of "Total Eclipse of The Heart"

Part 3: Nicki French on life!

Nicki French, Photo Credit: Energise RecordsMore on Nicki:

Nicki was born in Carlisle, Cumbria. The first "gig" came at the age of seven, when Nicki was chosen to sing a solo - the first verse of 'O Little Town of Bethlehem’ at the Infants’ School Christmas Concert! From then on there was no turning back! A few years later she won the local talent contest, and within the year had joined her first band, Krisp, run by Tim and his friend Kelvin.

From the age of 16, Nicki studied Music and Drama at West Kent College in Tonbridge, Kent. At the annual college musical, she played the lead role of "Laurey" in Oklahoma!, earning rave reviews for her performance. She then moved up to London and started auditioning for bands and theatre shows.

Nicki started working the pubs and clubs, moving onto gay pubs and clubs a short while later – The Spread Eagle in Shoreditch was her first! However the most exciting show for Nicki was at the Player of the Season annual dinner/dance at Tottenham Hotspur FC – her team! They had just signed a new player and were introducing him to the fans – a player by the name of Paul Gascoigne, and Gazza and all the other players got up on stage with her to perform a couple of songs – a special moment.

Nicki had been working on the gay scene for some time, when she made one of her regular visits to perform in a club in Cardiff, which was also the fateful night she met a certain Mr John Springate, who was to have quite an influence on her career from then on! John and Nicki hit it off straight away, and started what was to become a long association with his recording studio.

In 1991 Nicki was booked as the leading lady in a series of revue shows on a cruise ship, touring Europe and beyond and covering shows such as Mack and Mabel, Oklahoma!, Paint Your Wagon, Calamity Jane, along with more general tributes to Stage and Screen.

Also in 1991, Nicki met Gavin, a trumpet player – they met on stage at the London Palladium, where they were both working in the band for the Irish songstress Rose-Marie! Eighteen months later they married in Nicki’s parish church in Tenterden, St Mildred’s.

Early in 1994 Nicki and John recorded a dance version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart." A few months later Mike Stock took it on, re-jigged it and made it into the massive worldwide hit it was – the first release, and success, of his new record company, Love This Records.

"Total Eclipse of the Heart," produced by Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, became the first big hit of 1995 by a new artist, reaching number five in the UK charts. It went to number two on the Billboard Hot 100, the highest placing in the UK by a UK artist since the 1980s, and spent six months in the chart there. It also reached number one in Australia, Japan, Brazil, Israel, Spain, Holland and Canada. To cap a great 1995, Nicki’s success continued at the annual Dance Music Authority Magazine Awards in the USA, where she was honoured to win all three awards she was nominated for - Best Female Vocalist, Single of the Year and Most Promising Newcomer. Nicki managed to achieve the often elusive international recording success, and in the summer of 1995 released her debut album, Secrets, which sold over 50,000 copies in its first week of sale in the USA. A second album, French Revolution, includes tracks co-written by Nicki.

In March 1996, Nicki embarked on her first visit to Brazil, totally unaware of the extent of her success in the South American territories, where no less than nine of her songs have been huge hits, particularly "Did You Ever Really Love Me?" (her personal favorite) and "Te Amo." She subsequently returned to tour there five times in 18 months.

In 1997 Nicki was approached by Jim Steinman, the original writer of "Total Eclipse of the Heart," and famous for his work with Meatloaf, Celine Dion, Cher and Barbra Streisand to name but a few! He had heard the French Revolution album, and wanted to work with Nicki. She then recorded a couple of tracks for his new record company, Ravenous.

Nicki French, Photo Credit: Energise RecordsNicki carried on doing live shows around the world, then in August 1999, had another call from John Springate – the song he had for her this time was entitled "Don’t Play That Song Again," written by John and Gerry Shephard (they were in the Glitter Band together back in the 1970s), and they were planning to enter it for Song for Europe – was she interested? John had never realized that Nicki was a HUGE fan of the Eurovision Song Contest – he does now! They recorded the track in two takes, and the song was put forward for selection. It then went through all the elimination rounds, and after the Radio 2 listeners voted it into the final four, Nicki ended up back in the Top of the Pops studio again, to perform the song live on BBC1. That was 20 February 2000 – a day she will remember forever. The song blasted the other entries into the water, and Nicki comfortably won the public’s vote – and support – thus fulfilling her childhood dream of representing her country at Eurovision in Stockholm, an experience she classes as ‘the most magical week of my life’. Although it didn’t win, the UK delegation did win one award – for Best Party during the week of rehearsals! Nicki’s popularity in Sweden since then is such that she was one of the headline acts at Stockholm Pride in 2001. In the Summer of 2003 she was invited to return and performed again – this time with her live band and singers.

Nicki French singing, Photo Credit: Tony WoofIn January 2003, Nicki was the only British artist to feature in an all-star line up for an ABC Television special in Los Angeles, The Disco Ball – a 30-Year Celebration, which was filmed at the Shrine Auditorium, home of the Oscars Ceremony, and included Gloria Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, KC & the Sunshine Band, Chic, Irene Cara, Usher, Village People…..The show has since been repeated on television around the world many times.

Nicki has taken part in many television programmes in her career, including Top of the Pops, GMTV, The Big Breakfast, MTV, FBi, The Cable TV Awards, After 5, Newsround, Esther, Nickelodeon, UK Living, Night Fever, BBC Breakfast and A Question of Pop. However the most recent programme Nicki took part in was The Weakest Link – Eurovision Special.

Total Eclipse of the Heart Music Video

For All We Know Music Video

Monday
Nov042013

Andrea Marcovicci: Moonlight Cocktail Interview

In my first audio interview, "Call Me Adam" chats with award winning cabaret goddess Andrea Marcovicci about celebrating her 65th Birthday with a brand new show Moonlight Cocktail, which kicks off its East Coast tour at Joe's Pub on Monday, November 18 then traveling to the Emelin Theatre, in Mamaroneck, NY (Friday, November 22); The Landmark Theatre in Port Washington, NY (Saturday, November 23); and The Rrazz Room, in New Hope, PA (Sunday, November 24).

Andrea Marcovicci "Moonlight Cocktail", Photo Credit: Daniel ReichertMoonlight Cocktail will have 2 shows at Joe's Pub on Monday, November 18 at 7pm and 9pm, celebrating the bygone era of sophisticated nightlife of dining and dancing. From coast to coast, from large clubs to intimate boites, Andrea will honor those singers that enthralled you like Mabel Mercer, Bobby Short, Julie Wilson, Hildegarde, Portia Nelson, and Billie Holiday featuring such hits as "You Fascinate Me So," "Darling Je Vous Aime Beaucoup," "All in Fun," "Talk of the Town," "Some Other Time," as well as the delicious title song "Moonlight Cocktail." Click here for tickets!

For more on Andrea be sure to visit http://www.andreamarcovicci.com and follow her on Facebook and YouTube!

Part 1: Interview with award winning cabaret goddess Andrea Marcovicci

 

Part 2: Interview with award winning cabaret goddess Andrea Marcovicci

 

Andrea Marcovicci, Photo Credit: Daniel ReichertMore on Andrea:

"Torch singer, spellbinder, heart-breaker" (People) was hailed as the "most Sinatra-like" of the new generation of cabaret performers by Life Magazine. She "has the capacity to caress a song with a warming embrace…Marcovicci steals the heart …the epitome of elegance and showbiz savvy," declared Variety while Stephen Holden wrote in The New York Times, "Andrea Marcovicci has an incandescent enthusiasm and a masterly balance between poignancy and wit."

Andrea continues to entertain sold-out audiences from coast to coast whenever touring her numerous critically acclaimed shows which include the ever popular Marcovicci Sings Movies II, and Andrea’s most requested show, I’ll Be Seeing You…Love Songs of WWII; the delightfully entertaining songbook evenings featuring the music of Frank Loesser, Rodgers & Hart, and Johnny Mercer; as well Andrea’s tribute to her favorite movie star Fred Astaire; Blue Champagne: The History of the Torch SongNo Strings, a journey of life on the road; Smile, which played for four weeks at the Cafe Carlyle in New York; and her latest creation, Moonlight Cocktail, which debuted at Feinstein's at the Nikko.

Andrea Marcovicci, Photo credit: Daniel ReichertAn actress and singer, Andrea began on the daytime television series Love Is A Many Splendored Thing. She debuted on Broadway in Ambassador, the musical adaptation of the novel by Henry James, starring Howard Keel and last appeared on the Great White Way in Frank D. Gilroy’s play Any Given Day with Sada Thompson. Her numerous appearances off-Broadway include the title role in Coco at the York Theatre, The Wedding of Iphigenia, Variety Obit, The Seagull, and as "Ophelia" to Sam Waterston’s Hamlet for Joseph Papp’s Shakespeare in the Park. Regionally, she received rave reviews for leading roles in St. Joan, Burn This, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco and her most recent of many appearances at 42nd Street Moon, SF, (where Andrea had previously starred as "Daisy" in On A Clear Day), in the title role of Coco, played to sold-out houses. In Los Angeles, she starred opposite Anthony Newley in Chaplin, portraying all the legendary actor’s wives and in Finian’s Rainbow at Reprise! In Philadelphia Andrea starred in the revival of Lady in the Dark at the Prince Music Theatre. Her film credits include: The Front (nominated for a Golden Globe Award) with Woody Allen, The Hand with Sir Michael Caine, The Stuff with Michael Moriarty, Spacehunter with Peter Strauss, The Canterville Ghost with Sir John Gielgud, Henry Jaglom’s Someone To Love (featuring Orson Welles in his last film appearance), and Jack the Bear, as Danny DeVito’s wife. Her many television appearances include Arli$ for HBO, Cybill, Taxi, Magnum P.I.Hill Street Blues, and Trapper John, M.D. among others as well as numerous made-for-television movies. Her last television guest appearance was as "Sophia" on General Hospital. She recently provided commentary for the DVD release of the movie, Someone to Love, and appeared in "Irene" in Time. Both films were directed by long-time friend, Henry Jaglom.

Andrea Marcovicci, Photo Credit: Daniel ReichertBeginning in 2004 with Andrea’s tribute to Cole Porter, all of Andrea’s CDs have been released through her own label - Andreasong Recordings, Inc. The latest release, Smile, is based upon her recent show. As Time Goes By: The Best of Andrea Marcovicci celebrates over twenty years of solo CDs and includes a twelve-page color booklet. Other titles include a tribute to Frank Loesser, (If I Were a Bell) recorded live at the Oak Room; a studio album of songs associated with Fred Astaire (Andrea Sings Astaire); My Christmas Song for You; and a CD based upon the show, Marcovicci Sings Rodgers & Hart. In addition, the label put out the cast album for Kurt Weill in America, (originally performed at the 92nd Street Y), complete with a 48-page color booklet with extensive liner notes. In addition to Andrea, the cast includes Anna Bergman, Barbara Brussell, Mark Coffin, Chuck Cooper, Jeff Harnar, and Maude Maggart. CDs are available on-line at www.marcovicci.com and CDBaby.com.

Andrea was most honored to usher in the Millennium with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Her concert work includes appearances with the San Francisco Pops, Florida Philharmonic, and Oregon and Ft. Worth Symphonies among others. Her 1993 Carnegie Hall solo debut, backed by the American Symphony Orchestra, was to a sold-out audience. Prior to that, Carnegie Hall commissioned December Songs specifically created for Andrea by Maury Yeston. The concert was then reconceived as a ballet by Lynn Taylor Corbett and premiered with Andrea at The Carolina Ballet in 2002. She was twice invited to return and an additional dance was created for a compilation of standards entitled, Café Marcovicci. Lincoln Center commissioned both her Noel Coward show and her Kurt Weill in America. The latter is the genesis of her later Lyrics & Lyricists’ show. In April of 2005 Andrea played to sold-out houses at the esteemed LICEU Opera House in Barcelona. Andrea’s concert version of I Am Anne Frank, (Lyrics: Enid Futterman / Music: Michael Cohen) most recently performed at UCLA, originally debuted in Los Angeles and was then recorded. Subsequently, it was performed at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center with Stephen Bogardus and at Town Hall in New York with the addition of a new introduction penned by Futterman, and read by a variety of celebrities, giving the work a timeless quality. A commission by the Savannah Music Festival for the centennial celebration of their native son – lyricist Johnny Mercer - led to the creation of Skylark: Marcovicci Sings Mercer which debuted at the Festival and toured nationally.

Andrea Macrovicci, Photo Credit: Daniel ReichertAndrea has returned to Town Hall many times with concerts including I’ll Be Seeing You... Love Songs of WWII, with Chamber Orchestra in two Acts. This show is a recreation of Andrea’s most requested show and has played throughout the country, and in Normandy in recognition of the original ‘Band of Brothers’ who were immortalized by the HBO series. In addition, Andrea’s Birthday Concert at Town Hall in New York celebrated Andrea’s contribution to songwriters, past and present. Guests included three-time Academy award winner, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and Grammy award-winner Julie Gold, along with other noted ASCAP composers Francesca Blumenthal, John Bucchino, Craig Carnelia, Babbie Green, Christine Lavin, and Tom Toce. In addition, Andrea’s mother Helen was on hand celebrating her 90th Birthday. To commemorate this event, Andreasong Recordings, Inc. released a compilation CD: As Time Goes By: The Best of Andrea Marcovicci. Her most recent Town Hall outing was Easy to Love, a tribute to Cole Porter, with fellow cabaret singer, Jeff Harnar.

In the spring of 2004 Andrea was invited to help inaugurate a new era at the prestigious Lyrics and Lyricists series at the 92nd Street Y in New York as one of their guest Artistic Directors. Over the next four seasons Andrea wrote, directed and starred in Easy to Love, The Lyrics of Cole Porter; the aforementioned Kurt Weill in America; Thanks for the Memories:The Lyrics of Leo Robin; and an examination of the 'standard' post 1965. As a director and writer, Andrea created two Cabaret Concerts for Young Audiences for the New York Cabaret Convention. In addition, Andrea hosted and created a holiday benefit for Symphony Space with a cast including Barbara Brussell, Natalie Douglas, and Jeff Harnar.

Andrea Marcovicci, Photo Credit: Heather Sullivan.Andrea is proud of her long career in nightclubs and cabarets and has had record runs at several venues. Andrea performed for twenty-five years at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, and more than twenty years at the now defunct Plush Room in San Francisco. In addition Andrea has spent over twenty-five years at the Gardenia in Hollywood. Other clubs include The Rrazz Room in San Francisco, The Colony in Palm Beach, FL., The Cinegrill in Los Angeles, Le Chat Noir in New Orleans, and many others. Her London cabaret debut in 1994 sold out a one-month engagement at the Music Room at Pizza on the Park. Sheridan Morley, theater critic of The Spectator and The International Herald-Tribune, called her "the greatest cabaret star of her generation." Peter Hepple in The Stage and Television Today wrote, "Marcovicci cast her spell, with a voice of supreme tenderness, much rangier than at first appeared, with a thrillingly controlled vibrato, marvelous diction and phrasing that can only come from a skilled actress."

In addition to clubs, Andrea Marcovicci has performed at the White House and brought the intimacy of the small cabaret to numerous theatres and concert halls across the country including: Wolf Trap in Washington, DC, Steppenwolf in Chicago, the Tilles Center and the famed John Drew Theatre, of Long Island; NJPAC in New Jersey; the Grandel in St. Louis; Caramoor in Katonah, NY; the Lyric Theatre in Florida; Bass Hall Performing Arts Center in Ft. Worth, The Brownville Concert Series in Nebraska, the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Vail, CO and many others. In addition Andrea helped Jeff Harnar launch The American Songbook Series at London’s Jermyn Street Theatre. Also known for her remarkable hosting abilities, Andrea has been at the helm of a plethora of events throughout the country including the MAC Awards, the ASCAP Songwriter’s Evening at the Chicago Humanities Festival and twice the New York Nightlife Awards. She was also a guest speaker (along with the President of the Netherlands) at the New York Film Society’s tribute to Sir Michael Caine at Lincoln Center.

Andrea Marcovicci, Photo Credit: Daniel ReichertFor five years Andrea served as a Master teacher for the Cabaret Workshop at the prestigious Perry-Mansfield School in Steamboat Springs, CO and has taught Master Classes on the art form that she so dearly loves across the country including stops in New York, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and San Francisco, among other cities.

Her numerous fundraising efforts have produced everything from building additions to aiding the disenfranchised. She has worked tirelessly for a variety of causes. Just a few of these charitable events include helping underprivileged children, (Reach the World, Variety Arts Telethon, The Youth League), raising funds for much needed medical research, (The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, The James Marshall OCD Foundation) feeding and providing medical care for the homeless and those suffering with AIDS, (MHRA, The Broward Partnership for the Homeless), protecting the environment, (Tree People, Elings Park), and preserving arts organizations and educational opportunities (San Francisco Performing Arts Library, Music Conservatory of Westchester, The Dallas Children’s Theatre).

Andrea Marcovicci, Photo credit: Daniel ReichertAndrea is the recipient of several awards and honors including the 2010 National Honoree of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals, the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s 2007 Mabel Award, and three Lifetime Achievement Awards - honored so by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, the Licia Albanese - Puccini Foundation, and by a Bob Harrington Backstage Bistro Award. In recognition of her accomplishments in the arts, Andrea has received honorary degrees from Trinity College in Hartford, CT and the Memphis College of Art. In addition, "The Andrea Marcovicci Suite" at the Algonquin Hotel, dedicated in 2006 on her twentieth anniversary at the Oak Room, contains memorabilia of her work in theatre, film, television, and on the concert stage.

Page 1 ... 7 8 9 10 11 ... 30 Next 5 Entries »