Broadway to Bluegrass…ish Part 2

Well. Just when you think you have been to a fantastic gig that would be hard to match, it’s beaten. Sunday night was truly fantastic and I had a brilliant time. But Monday was even better. Having met up with my ticket holder we proceeded into the venue to get another nice spot towards the front. Score number 1 – cracking view. There was some speculation as to who would be appearing with Ramin this time around – Simon Bailey had not seemed too sure when I asked him on the Sunday – but a tweet had gone out earlier in the day announcing that not only was Simon joining him again, but Hadley Fraser would be too. Score 2 – Ramin, Simon AND Hadley.

Once again, the excitement was rapidly building inside the venue (as with Sunday this was The Venue, 229 Great Portland Street). I far prefer small gigs to large ones and this venue fits the bill nicely, though not so well for anyone who has trouble standing as the seating is very limited. On the plus side it has a raised stage so all of the band can be seen and a bar right next to it so you can get a drink and still be involved in the concert.

As with Sunday Ramin came out to rapturous applause and kicked off with ‘Broken Home’. This was a great idea to start off as it is so lively and, being an album track, known by a majority of the audience. Ramin was absolutely on top form and was laughing and joking, possibly appearing even more spritely than he had been the night before. ‘Road to Find Out/ Wild World’ was next and then ‘Here I go’. This song was most appropriate as it was written by Ramin and it was first tried out at the Thank You Gig he did for those people who had preordered his album (‘Ramin’) and had had to wait for it’s release for rather longer than planned. It was a lovely song, very catchy, and lovely to hear it in the same place as he first aired it six months ago.

Another sing along and a few tears were next when he once again performed ‘Constant Angel’, a general consensus showing that this is one of the favourites for many people on ‘Ramin’and then a lovely rendition of ‘Music Of The Night’ – in Ramin’s own words “where it all began for many of you”. The crowd sang along, and although the tuning (from the audience, never from Ramin) was somewhat debatable it was a magic moment.

May I apologise in advance for the ‘singing’…it’s not me! I don’t sing while videoing!
Music Of the Night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AExlmtu4EoQ&feature=player_detailpage

‘Down to the River and Pray’ followed, sung pretty much acapella and this went straight into Cathedrals, a song I just love. One more song ‘See Her Smile’ was next and then it was time for Simon Bailey to stand up and take the stage. After a few blatant plugs from Ramin about Simon’s forthcoming album ‘Looking Up’ (which can be preordered – more about this later) they both went into their cover version of ‘Murder In The City’. Simon followed this with ‘Goodbye’. This song has me in tears every time and despite the fact Simon said he was nervous you would never have known. Perfection!

Simon and Ramin perform Murder In The City: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujxx9zqcxoE&feature=plcp

A song called ‘Make them Hear You’ was next, from the musical ‘Ragtime’. Ramin swore that it was a role he could never play, but I would say, from listening to him sing that song, that the role was made for him! The first half was completed with Ramin’s version of ‘Oh! What A Beautiful Morning’, from Oklahoma, and he was joined on stage, much to the surprise and pleasure of everyone there, by Stephen Rahman Hughes and Lee Mead. The threesome have recently completed a series of ‘West End Men’ concerts and despite the fact that this was completely spontaneous and unrehearsed and Lee was apparently ‘half cut’ (as he put it), this was such fun and a fabulous way to round off the first part of the entertainment.

The ‘West End Men’ sing Oh What A Beautiful Morning: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhnH_osQZ4U&feature=plcp

In case you are unfamiliar with the names above, Rahman Hughes has a teatrical background having appeared in Bombay Dreams and also in the group Teatro, alongside Simon Bailey (Jeremiah James and Andrew Alexander). Lee Mead won the TV talent show ‘Any Dream Will Do’ to become Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and is married to Denise Van Outen.

The beginning of the second half was the part that I think many people were looking forward to the most. Hadley Fraser (a hugely talented friend of Ramin’s) joined him on stage and for four songs the Sheytoons were reunited. Starting with ‘Driftwood’ the guys performed like the pro’s they are, sounding every bit as good as we all hoped and had the audience revelling in seeing them together. Between each song there was a bit of banter and – joy of joys- talk about an official Sheytoons reunion sometime in early 2013. ‘Losing’ followed, then ‘She Is Loved’ where there was a sticky moment with forgotten words and a lot of laughter. The crowd totally got behind this and it just added to the light hearted and fun atmosphere of the whole evening. The duo finished by singing ‘Broken’, another crowd pleaser and the place erupted throughout.

Unfortunately I was only able to capture two of the Sheytoons songs, but here are the links to Driftwood and Broken:
Driftwood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WO786Z4XMo&feature=plcp
Broken: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c48Q-8D1qI4&feature=plcp

Two covers followed – ‘White Blank Page’ by Mumford and Sons (another favourite somg of mine) came after ‘The Once and Future Carpenter’, another well written and tuneful song by the Avett Brothers. ‘Solitude’, one of Ramin’s own compositions came before the rather fun version of the hymn ‘Closer Walk With Thee’ where every member of the band had the chance to sing, with verses sung by Katie Birtill and Steve Young and with backing from the drummer, guitar and keyboard players.

A stunning performance of ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables brought the house down and then everything was livened up once again with Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’, taking Ramin back to some of his musical influences. The final song was ‘Coming Home’, another album favourite, and once again the audience helped to carry the song by singing every word along with the man himself.

As always Ramin and his band gave an encore – the audience would not have allowed this to be any other way – and he came out and sang a cover of the Civil Wars ‘Poison and Wine’ with Katie. This was really beautiful. another or Ramin’s self-penned songs ‘When Does it Go Away’ followed to an excellent reception and he ended, as is becoming traditional, with Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance’.

What a show this was. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I just know that everybody went away smiling and singing and perfectly happy. I simply cannot wait for the Sheytoons reunion which is looking hugely promising.

‘Looking Up’ by Simon Bailey can be pre ordered at http://www.simonbaileyonline.com All preorders will be signed and the purchaser of CD no 500 will even get Simon’s own, signed guitar!
Follow him on Twitter – SimonBailey1210 and on Facebook: facebook.com/simonbaileyinfo

All video links and photographs are my own.

I hope you enjoyed reading this (almost) as much as I enjoyed being there. For thse of you who were there, it was lovely to see you and I hope this blog has done the gig justice.

Next gig to blog (I think) will be the Christmas with…Friends cabaret, organised by Sim G Productions on Dec 16th. Annalene Beechey, Rebecca Lock, Simon Thomas and Simon Bailey will be performing. I will, however write something between then and now.

Keep dreaming,
Naomi x

Broadway to Bluegrass…ish part 1

Sooo…where to start? I think I’d like to begin by saying how fantastic it was to see Ramin back up on stage, and even betterthat it was at an ‘intimate’ venue. The 229 club on London’s Great Portland street only has room for around 200 people which means everyone gets a good look at the band who are rather crammed together on a small stage. That said, there were a fair few band members- drums, keyboards, fiddle, 2 guitars (not including Mr K), bass and Katie, the backing singer.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with Mr Karimloo, he is an Iranian, brought up in Canada who now resides with his family over here in the UK. He has played many theatrical roles, most notably the Phantom (in the west end) and at the Royal Albert Hall for Phantom of the Opera’s 25th anniversary. Catch it if you can on dvd, it’s fab.
Ramin started with Broken Home, an upbeat album track which got everyone well into the mood (not that they weren’t already). This was followed with the ‘Road to find out’ the title of his recent tour and a song which he also performed on it. A new song, ‘Here I Go’ was next, and then another extremely popular album track ‘Constant Angel’. As ever this reduced several audience members to tears. He then proved that he still ‘has it’ by singing a beautiful version of ‘Music of the Night’ a song from Phantom for those unfamiliar with it. The crowd all joined in and it was a wonderful moment. He never faltered on the high notes and it was ever so well received.

image

Another couple of songs- ‘Down to the River and Pray’ followed straight on by ‘Cathedrals’ (one of my album favourites) and then ‘See Her Smile’ -a lovely ballad, and it was on to his guest for the evening, Simon Bailey. You all know my feelings there! A definite highlight was the Avett Brothers ‘Murder in the City’ covered by both Ramin and Simon together and appearing on ‘Looking Up’, Simons debut solo album. Simon then followed this with a slightly different version of Goodbye – all guitar this time but still as hauntingly beautiful and meaningful as last week. He was well received and I hope he managed to sell more albums, I overheard many comments about how impressed people were.

Ramin closed the first half with ‘Make Them Hear You’ and finally ‘Driftwood’, a number penned with his friend Hadley (see my previous blogs) and sung originally by Sheytoons, a group Ramin and Hadley formed. Hopefully someday these guys will release an album as they make really excellent music.

Here is the link to part of Murder in the City and all of Goodbye https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk1R2h_Mkj4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

A short interval (with, for me chats and hugs from Simon) and Act 2 began. He kicked off, as he did on the tour, with ‘Oh What A Beautiful Mornin” A song from the musical Oklahoma. He then slowed everything right down and gave a spine chilling, noise bump raising version of ‘Bring Him Home’. Now, I don’t know about bringing him home, but it certainly brought the house down. Wonderful stuff.

Another Sheytoons (my favourite of theirs) ‘Broken’ and self penned ‘When Does it Go Away’ (beautiful) and then Ramin gave us a couple of covers, the first – ‘The once and Future Carpenter’ (nothing to do with Earl I might add) by the Avett Brothers and the second – ‘White Blank Page’ by Mumford And Sons. I have heard this several times (the original and Ramin’s version) and I absolutely love it.

‘Solitude was next, another beautiful own composition, then ‘She Is Loved’ another smashing Sheytoons song. Ramin’s gospel background came into play next with ‘Closer Walk With Thee’, a hymn which the whole band participated in and livened up to make it great fun followed by a Johnny Cash number and then ‘Coming Home’, the first track which was released from his self titled album.

image

The audience were not willing to let them all go at that point so with whoops and cheers and a chorus of ‘we want more’ everyone came back to the stage and gave us all some more numbers including a final Sheytoons song ‘Losing’ and a cover of Green Days ‘Good Riddance’ a real crowd pleaser fast becoming a trademark show closer.
I had an absolutely fantastic evening especially with the accompaniment of Kym and Rachael and I cannot wait for tonight part 2, where, I believe we not only have Ramin and Simon but also Hadley too.

Must go and get ready, cant wait.
Keep dreaming,
Naomi x

Broadway to Bluegrass…ish part 1

Sooo…where to start? I think I’d like to begin by saying how fantastic it was to see Ramin back up on stage, and even betterthat it was at an ‘intimate’ venue. The 229 club on London’s Great Portland street only has room for around 200 people which means everyone gets a good look at the band who are rather crammed together on a small stage. That said, there were a fair few band members- drums, keyboards, fiddle, 2 guitars (not including Mr K), bass and Katie, the backing singer.
For anyone who is unfamiliar with Mr Karimloo, he is an Iranian, brought up in Canada who now resides with his family over here in the UK. He has played many theatrical roles, most notably the Phantom (in the west end) and at the Royal Albert Hall for Phantom of the Opera’s 25th anniversary. Catch it if you can on dvd, it’s fab.
Ramin started with Broken Home, an upbeat album track which got everyone well into the mood (not that they weren’t already). This was followed with the ‘Road to find out’ the title of his recent tour and a song which he also performed on it. A new song, ‘Here I Go’ was next, and then another extremely popular album track ‘Constant Angel’. As ever this reduced several audience members to tears. He then proved that he still ‘has it’ by singing a beautiful version of ‘Music of the Night’ a song from Phantom for those unfamiliar with it. The crowd all joined in and it was a wonderful moment. He never faltered on the high notes and it was ever so well received.

image

Another couple of songs- ‘Down to the River and Pray’ followed straight on by ‘Cathedrals’ (one of my album favourites) and then ‘See Her Smile’ -a lovely ballad, and it was on to his guest for the evening, Simon Bailey. You all know my feelings there! A definite highlight was the Avett Brothers ‘Murder in the City’ covered by both Ramin and Simon together and appearing on ‘Looking Up’, Simons debut solo album. Simon then followed this with a slightly different version of Goodbye – all guitar this time but still as hauntingly beautiful and meaningful as last week. He was well received and I hope he managed to sell more albums, I overheard many comments about how impressed people were.

Ramin closed the first half with ‘Make Them Hear You’ and finally ‘Driftwood’, a number penned with his friend Hadley (see my previous blogs) and sung originally by Sheytoons, a group Ramin and Hadley formed. Hopefully someday these guys will release an album as they make really excellent music.

Here is the link to part of Murder in the City and all of Goodbye https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk1R2h_Mkj4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

A short interval (with, for me chats and hugs from Simon) and Act 2 began. He kicked off, as he did on the tour, with ‘Oh What A Beautiful Mornin” A song from the musical Oklahoma. He then slowed everything right down and gave a spine chilling, noise bump raising version of ‘Bring Him Home’. Now, I don’t know about bringing him home, but it certainly brought the house down. Wonderful stuff.

Another Sheytoons (my favourite of theirs) ‘Broken’ and self penned ‘When Does it Go Away’ (beautiful) and then Ramin gave us a couple of covers, the first – ‘The once and Future Carpenter’ (nothing to do with Earl I might add) by the Avett Brothers and the second – ‘White Blank Page’ by Mumford And Sons. I have heard this several times (the original and Ramin’s version) and I absolutely love it.

‘Solitude was next, another beautiful own composition, then ‘She Is Loved’ another smashing Sheytoons song. Ramin’s gospel background came into play next with ‘Closer Walk With Thee’, a hymn which the whole band participated in and livened up to make it great fun followed by a Johnny Cash number and then ‘Coming Home’, the first track which was released from his self titled album.

image

The audience were not willing to let them all go at that point so with whoops and cheers and a chorus of ‘we want more’ everyone came back to the stage and gave us all some more numbers including a final Sheytoons song ‘Losing’ and a cover of Green Days ‘Good Riddance’ a real crowd pleaser fast becoming a trademark show closer.
I had an absolutely fantastic evening especially with the accompaniment of Kym and Rachael and I cannot wait for tonight part 2, where, I believe we not only have Ramin and Simon but also Hadley too.

Must go and get ready, cant wait.
Keep dreaming,
Naomi x

What A Weekend

Right then peeps, time to tell you all about the fabulous day I had on Sunday. I had been looking forward to it for quite some time but wasn’t entirely sure what the day was going to be like. After waking up at 6.30 to get the rather early bus into London, I arrived to find a text message from Fra asking if it was possible to move my singing lesson to half an hour earlier – luckily this was okay as I would have been most disappointed to have to postpone. My nerves really started to kick in when I arrived at Victoria  but they were mixed with excitement. After a brew and a little bit of shopping I found the correct train and started en route to my singing lesson.

A few texts were sent between Fra and myself during the journey, but instructions were clear and I made it to my destination and waited for Fra to collect me. We headed off and discussed various things – we talked non stop from the station to his house! Despite the fact that he was lovely and we chatted loads, I was still very nervous. I dont often sing in front of people so it is quite a big deal for me. Anyway, we got to Fra’s and discussed a little about what I wanted from the lessons and my singing history and then we began a number of exercises. To say I felt self conscious would be an understatement, but after a while it got easier and I really enjoyed the lesson. Fra was hugely supportive, explained everything really clearly and was very complimentary. I have lots to work on and I can’t wait for my next session (Sun). I just hope that he feels a bit better as the poor chap had a nasty cold. He moved my lesson because he is currently performing in A Winter’s Tale at the Landor Theatre. It is a new production and I recommend you grab your tickets quickly as it is only on for another couple of weeks and I really feel that new theatre should be supported. It has been getting some excellent reviews – promise me you will at least consider it!

My lesson was followed (after a few hours) by West End Fests. I don’t know how many of you have heard of this, but it is a charity event where all ticket sales (as well as a raffle/bar/CD sales) proceeds went to help support Cystic Fibrosis charities. The evening was held in St Pauls Church, Covent Garden and it was jam packed full of West End performers. All of them gave up their time to come and sing and it really was good fun. After a very near disaster (and by disaster I mean no MD!) a certain Mr Tom Deering stepped up and with no more than ten minutes notice backed all of the first half singers. For this everyone is extrememly grateful and I must say, had it not been pointed out, you would never have known that he was an emergency substitute.

Compere for the evening was Gary Tro and although the catchword of the evening was ‘shambolic’, the humour was made appropriate for a church and everything had rather gone to pot, he was extremely funny and made the whole evening hilarious. Somehow he managed to help everything to run (fairly) smoothly. All this said about the near crisis and apparent lack of organisation (due to unforeseen circumstances, NOT the organisers) I loved the fact that the event was spontaneous, random and ‘shambolic’. No one minded one bit and everyone got well into the spirit of things. With interval mulled wine and mince pies on top it was splendid.

Singers included the founders of West End Fests, Sabrina Aloueche and Parnell Page, both wonderful performers. Sabrina sang a couple of numbers with her powerful voice, including a fantastic version of Dina Carroll’s ‘Don’t Be A Stranger’ and Richard Parnell sang a few numbers including ‘Wicked Game’ by Chris Isaacs. This chap has the most incredible voice. You cannot help but listen and be amazed, at times he sounds more like he is playing an instrument than singing. He blew me away.

There was not one performer who disappointed and the audience was treated to the vocal talents of Hannah LeMade, Benedict, Tom Fraser, Simon Adkins, David Ribi, Tori Allen Martin, Steven Bor, David Hunter, Claudia Kariuki, Steven Webb, Ambra Caserotti, Emma Housley,  Greg Oliver,  Samantha Dorrance, Jodie Jacobs and Tim Driesen. I really hope I haven’t missed anybody and my sincerest and most massive apologies if I have because no one should be left out. But as you can all see, there was some serious talent and the night was jam packed!

I must include a note about David Hunter – he did a very *ahem* ‘moving’ rendition of ‘I Wanna Be Like You’. Yes, that one. From Jungle Book. But what a crowd pleaser it was and the audience revelled in it, clapping along while he played and sang. We were treated to some wonderfully inspiring dance to the lovely vocals of Emma Housley, choreographed by Ryan-Lee Seager. Other notable performances were from Benedict who played the piano and Sang ‘Can’t Make You Love Me’, Simon Adkins who bravely attempted ‘Til I Hear You Sing’ from Love Never Dies and nailed it, Samantha Dorrance and David Ribi who sang ‘More Than Words’ and Let It Be Me from Dreamboats and Petticoats and a totally brilliant end to the evening was provided by Jodie Jacobs and Tim Driesen from Rock Of Ages who performed ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ with a twist. I would dearly love to give a special mention to everyone, but if I was to do that this blog would take me several weeks to write!

That said though, I must mention one more person. For me, the highlight of the evening was Simon Bailey. He sang a lovely duet with Katie Hall (who also sang a song called ‘Pulled’ from the Addams Family) which will be appearing on his album (see my previous blog) as well as one of his own compositions called ‘Goodbye’. This moved me to tears. In fact I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. It was written for a lost loved one and it was the first time Simon had performed the song – a new arrangement by Tom Deering. This too will be on his album and it truly is one of the most hauntingly beautiful songs I have ever heard. The emotion with which Simon performed it was also plain to see and I feel utterly honoured and privileged to have been witness to something so personal to him.

Below are some links to a few of the aforementioned performances, I hope you enjoy these.

David Hunter – I Wanna Be Like You: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F6SLbmz5og&feature=youtu.be

Samantha Dorrance and David Ribi with Matthew Quinn – More Than Word: http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&client=mv-google&v=sgdWrQ6egxY&feature=youtu.be&nomobile=1

– Let It Be Me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=GB&hl=en-GB&client=mv-google&v=HY89772DdeI&feature=youtu.be&nomobile=1

Simon Adkins – Til I Hear You Sing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcC3Sj0SSQM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Benedict – Can’t Make You Love Me: http://a.yfrog.com/img841/4190/hwimpzrhbkdoyvsobcfhsq.mp4

The Finale – Jodie Jacobs and Tim Driesen, Don’t Stop Believin’ Medley: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFJavIyzfTs&feature=plcp

Sabrina Aloueche – Don’t Be A Stranger: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdzkz-NsJNI&feature=youtu.be

Richard Parnell-Page – Wicked: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOqrDoClFVc

And finally (this last video is my own contribution) – Simon Bailey, ‘Goodbye’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJDZA0jfNPs

If you see this and I have used your video I hope you don’t mind and thank you so much – I wanted everyone who couldn’t be there to be able to enjoy West End Fests as well as those who were. I believe there will be another one in March (or thereabouts) so please don’t hesitate to buy tickets; snap them up as soon as they go on sale as it really is a great gig. I’ll definitely be going again. Congratulations to Sabrina and Parnell Page for putting on such a great event. Topped off, I might add, by the after show party in Roadhouse (also Covent Garden). I think finishing the night off by sharing chips with Tom Deering and Katie Hall, followed by myself and Katie dancing to Gangnam Style – we were throwing some serious shapes – was something I’m not going to forget in a hurry!!

Next weekend I am off to see Broadway to Bluegrass…Ish with Ramin Karimloo so I will be delighted to blog that afterwards. I hope you have enjoyed reading about this weekend, it’s certainly been a good one for me. It also gave me that chance to catch up with my lovely friend Holly and we had a great laugh so all in all I couldn’t have asked for more from the weekend. Remember, if you like what you have heard then follow West End Fests on facebook and/or Twitter so you get all the gossip for the next one and if you would like to hear more of Simon Bailey then go to www.facebook.com/simonbaileyinfo/ to get more details of his appearances and links to purchase tickets. His CD can be preordered at http://www.simonbaileyonline.com

Once again, thank you for reading, I’ve enjoyed reliving it all for you.

Keep Dreaming,
Naomi

Exciting times ahead

Today I feel rather sad and rather excited at the same time. I’m not really sure why I feel sad, though I was going to be heading to London today to watch the fabulous Les Miserables. This has turned out not to be the case but friends of mine have gone, so I am equally sad not to have a catch up with them all. I do hope I get to go again soon, I wouldn’t mind seeing Sierra Boggess as Fantine, but I especially want to see Tam Mutu’s interpretation of Inspector Javert. I’ve heard nothing but good. I have seen it three times before, the last cast I saw had Ramin Karimloo playing the lead against Hadley Fraser’s equally (if, in my opininon, not stronger) brilliant Javert.

I am, however, VERY excited about the release of the Les Miserables movie, and I have been keeping myself occupied by watching (repeatedly) the newly released, longer trailer. For those of you who know nothing about this show, the movie has some big names in it such as Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) and Russell Crowe (Javert). I have to assume these have been cast in order to widen the appeal of the film to the more general viewing public, and as it stands I shall reserve judgement on the singing abilities until I have seen the whole thing. I know Hugh Jackman is a talented performer (and easy on the eye with it) and I believe that all the singing was done ‘live’ so kudos to them all. As a musical theatre fan I know they have cast many past and present cast members to be in the smaller roles too and I’m pleased about this as they are every bit as (if in some cases not more) talented as the ‘stars’. Samantha Barks should undoubtedly get a mention as for sure she will steal the show as Eponine. I am also looking forward to the cameo role of Hadley Fraser.

In case you have not managed to see the trailer, you need to have your appetite whetted, so please take a look at this link. I almost want to cry watching it and I have to say I feel sorry for whoever comes with me to see it as there will be tears. A LOT of tears! My big disappointment at this present time is that we have to wait until 11 January 2013 to see it. It really can’t come quickly enough! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkHHHUk8RCw Eeeeeeeeeeepppppppp!

You all by now probably know how much I love the Phantom Of The Opera and Les Mis is in the same league. Epic and incredible. But one reason I am currently enjoying the Phantom tour so much is because my all time favourite performer (and, in all honesty, favourite person) is in it. He has been in both Les Mis and Phantom previously and is one of the nicest people you’ll meet, not to mention a brilliant performer with a wonderful voice. Simon Bailey has been in the theatre business for around 10 years and has been in all sorts of roles, but the reason I am talking about him today is because in the VERY near future he has an album coming out. For me this is the most exciting release in a long time – better than any other album or cinema release! He has been in the studio all week recording and I believe it is all down to the finishing touches now.

I am ridiculously excited and I really, genuinely hope that ‘Looking Up’ (as it is titled) is a massive success for Simon. He works so hard and has contributed four of his own compositions to this album. Two can be previewed on YouTube (in their original form and they are both beautiful) but I simply cannot wait to hear what the amazing Tom Deering has added to them. Combine these with the talents of Sabrina Aloueche, Ramin Karimloo, Katie Hall and even some jammin’ bass by Hadley it is an absolute MUST HAVE! It can be pre-ordered now (needless to say, I ordered the minute it was possible to do so) and Simon is going to sign all the pre ordered copies. Thats’s GOT to be worth having. Pre-order here: http://www.simonbaileyonline.com/  As an absolute die hard supporter of this guy I am doing everything in my power to ensure this is a success, though in truth, just the fact that it is by Simon should be enough. I often think I annoy him as I go to see him a lot (though he is always gracious and totally lovely) but I really do hope that my support is appreciated and I hope he knows if he ever needs anything or wants me to do something for him then I would bend over backwards to help. I miss him! And in case you wanted to witness him ‘doing his thing’ you can catch him as Raoul in the POTO tour (currently in Milton Keynes). You know,  just in case you need proof of his quality!

So there is much excitement at the moment and in the build up to Christmas I have a lot going on which I hope to write about, such as a visit to West End Fests next weekend. This is a charity event but with the line up of talent involved it is more like a gala! Held in Covent Garden, there will be a whole host of musical theatre performers appearing and it looks set to be a really brilliant evening. Not to mention the after party! If you are interested, here is the link: http://www.seetickets.com/Event/WESTENDFEST/St-Paul-s-Church-Covent-Garden/675139 I believe there are even a few half price tickets available…so go get ’em!

I also have a couple of singing lessons (I will say more about these when I know they are not a total disaster) arranged, a Ramin Karimloo gig (or two) to attend, and it goes without saying that before the year is out I will have returned a few times to see the Phantom tour. I’m just trying to be patient while I wait for it to come to Cardiff. I really don’t like all this waiting, especially hearing others that are going! I just want to be there too! I have just realised that my blog today sounds like an advertisement. It’s not meant to be, I was hoping just to share some of my passions with you and give you a chance to see what I’m banging on about. Who knows, you may feel inspired or excited too!

For now, I will put on a soundtrack to listen to while I clean my house and I shall sing at the top of my lungs while doing so. I hope the neighbours will appreciate their education into decent music haha! This week at work has been a tough one and it is the thought of the weekends and the events that I am heading to soon which are keeping me going. So off I go, to get up to my elbows cleaning the toilet, and using the bathroom acoustics as my theatre I shall bid you farewell for now and I cannot wait to report on all the forthcoming excitement.

Keep dreaming,

Naomi x

Welcome One And All

Well, hello! It seems I have succumbed to the blogging bandwagon. “Everyone else has one”, I thought, “I think I’ll give it a go”. So here I am, slightly unsure about what to say, how often I will post and even if anyone wants to read what I have to say!

For those of you who don’t know me (and those that do through Twitter, who I have not yet met) I am a thirty-something, blonde haired, green-eyed female, currently residing in Wiltshire, UK. I have several passions in life – music, theatre, performing and singing are a lot of them. Another is horses and for my sins I have a 24 year old mare called Chloe who I will no doubt refer to on occasion in later posts.

I do a rather mundane, office, 9-5 job and consequently I daydream rather a lot. I sing in the shower, in the car, in the corridors at work, out riding, constantly actually. I dream of gracing the West End stages (naturally in my car, I AM Christine Daae), but until then treading the boards  of Wiltshire must continue to suffice.

This year has been a busy (and expensive) one for me as I have been mainly travelling up and down the country following the Phantom of the Opera UK tour (have you all seen it? If not, you MUST!). The cast are fantastic, I know them relatively well now  – I think they find it amusing (or strange?) that I have seen them so much, but I have the utmost respect for them all, and what a talented bunch they are. It is an altogether different production from the London original. The music of course is the same (that is, fabulous) but there are a lot of staging changes so if you are pondering as to whether to get tickets or not, then hesitate no more – DO IT!

As for future posts, I am sure POTO will be referred to on numerous occasions, however I have several gigs and events coming up that I would like to write about so I hope you will all enjoy reading about them, whether they bring back memories for you of being there, or simply help to fill you in on what you missed. I do not intend to be entirely theatrical based either, though I am not convinced that my everyday life will keep you all riveted!  I am unsure about how frequently I will write, but I hope to keep all my blogs entertaining for you. If you like what I write, please spread the word.

One last thing. I have very little patience, so you may well see the odd rant or two on here! I happen to know that a lot of you will feel the same way about many of my rantings, but if you don’t please do not take it personally, simply laugh at my impatience and move on! I hope to meet many new friends through writing this and I really hope that those of you who I have already met will feel a part of this too as I would like to include some of you in future musings.

Thankyou for reading my very first attempt at a blog, your feedback would be gratefully received. I realise I have some work to do and I still need to find my way around, but I hope you liked what you have seen so far and will take a look at my next post. If you fancy finding out more about me you can follow me on Twitter @JustSamssister but I leave it completely up to you. I hope next time I will have more to tell you all.

Goodnight everyone, keep dreaming,
Naomi xxx