I have been so blessed to support the phenomenal writing duo of Dan and Laura Curtis since I first discovered their work in the summer of 2013, and I have also been lucky enough to interview them, as well as the winner of their YOUR VOICE competition Kasia Howley, on 3 occasions in total.
So when they gave me the chance to have a sneak preview of their new album LOVE ON 42ND STREET - featuring the stunning vocals of such amazing talent as John Owen Jones, Sierra Boggess, Lea Salonga and Ramin Karimloo, amongst many others - I jumped at the opportunity!
And now, just a mere few hours away from the official release date - I am so pleased to report that this very special album, full of delightfully enchanting original tracks, more than lives up to the hype.
From your first look at the unique artwork - so beautifully created by Mike Collison - it is obvious that this album, which will be raising money for Children In Need, is one that stands out from the many Musical Theatre style albums that are being released at the moment. It also creates an enchanting atmosphere as it draws in the potential listener, and makes them curious as to what they are about to hear.
And if that wasn't intriguing enough, you then look at the list of vocalists - and I defy anyone not to be blown away by the wealth of phenomenal talent that Dan and Laura have assembled. From Broadway and Hollywood stars, the best of upcoming British talent, and a new star discovered by Dan and Laura through one of the featured tracks - you could not ask for more!
What Dan and Laura have crafted here is 8 tracks which tell the most beautifully enchanting story, which every single one of us can relate to - LOVE. Whether it be that first moment of laying your eyes on that one special person and questioning what to do next, the first moments of a blossoming relationship, or declaring the bond that two people share to the rest of the world - each track tells a truly distinctive, yet delicately stunning story.
Starting off the album with new Broadway superstar Ramin Karimloo, "Why Am I Falling" - which Dan and Laura released in aid of last years' Children in Need appeal - sets the tone for the whole album. With its soaring piano melodies, and uplifting chorus, it is a song that will fill any loving heart with joy and hope at the wonder of what may be to come. Ramin's powerful, yet tender vocals are the perfect match for this beautiful track which could be the anthem for new couples everywhere.
Following this track with Ramin's former "Love Never Dies" and "Phantom of the Opera" co-star Sierra Boggess was the perfect match to me. In fact, for this Blue Eyed Girl, "You Caught Me Off Guard" could easily fit into either of Andrew Lloyd Webber's legendary productions with the greatest ease. Sierra's stunning soprano range fits this elegant track perfectly - so much so, you can easily imagine Sierra's Christine Daae sitting in an ornate Parisian room in that infamous Opera House, singing about this mysterious voice that she hears "inside of her head."
The legendary Lea Salonga brings her beautiful voice to "Wish That I Could Call You." The balance of the mellow, relaxing melodies complimented by Lea's enchanting vocals is the perfect showcase for this astonishing talent, who even many years after her Theatrical debut, still has the ability to evoke so many emotions in anyone who listens to her. The same can be said of the fantastic Katy Treharne - who lends her stunning talent to the magical "What Love Is For." She delivers the track with such amazing grace, skill and beauty that it is difficult not to be moved by the stunning story that she tells through the song.
The powerhouse vocals of Welsh legend John Owen Jones are up next on "Tell Me What Makes A Man" - definitely one of the most up tempo tracks on the album - and one of this Blue Eyed Girl's personal album highlights! On first listen, I was very much reminded of JOJ's version of "Thunderball" from his own recent album - and this Dan and Laura original more than matches it with its' thundering bass and thrilling build to its amazing climax. Yet another track that suits its' singer perfectly - I have always said John is one of the best vocal storytellers I have ever heard - and I will state now, after hearing this - if John Owen Jones doesn't sing the next James Bond theme tune, I don't know what he has to do! His vocals would just be so perfect!
Simon Bowman also lends his powerhouse vocals and fantastic storytelling skills to "No Time for Romance." This song is what I would call an "old school classic" - it reminds me of the tracks that you would usually associate with the Ratpack Era. Smooth, laidback and effortlessly cool. You feel at total ease when you first listen to Simon's smooth and mellow voice, and even when he unleashes the power behind that voice, you just feel compelled to keep listening.
One of the biggest achievements that Dan and Laura have accomplished in this last year would be the discovery of the amazing talent that is Kasia Howley through the YOUR VOICE competition. After recording and releasing her version of "Why Am I Falling", Kasia returns on the stunningly beautiful "Now." For me, this has to be the biggest tear-jerker on the album - it certainly made me cry! It is just astonishing to me that someone as young as Kasia can tell such an enchanting story and with such a beautiful voice. I guarantee this is a name you will be hearing big things from in years to come - mark my words!
And what a way to finish the album with the mind-blowing vocals of Samantha Barks. After her successes both on stage and screen - most notably in the big screen adaptation of Les Miserables - Samantha returns to what she does best and proves why she is one of the greatest talents that the UK has ever produced. "You Fixed My Broken Wings" - another Blue Eyed Girl album highlight - is an absolute tour de force and a masterclass that any aspiring music performer should listen to and take note of. The powerful and soaring melodies, complimented by the magical mix of Samantha's vocals backed by a majestic choir was just the perfect way to finish what is a sensational album.
1. Why Am I Falling - Ramin Karimloo
2. You Caught Me Off Guard - Sierra Boggess
3. Wished That I Could Call You - Lea Salonga
4. Tell Me What Makes A Man - John Owen Jones
5. What Love Is For - Katy Treharne
6. No Time For Romance - Simon Bowman
7. Now - Kasia Howley
8. You Fixed My Broken Wings - Samantha Barks
If you want to grab a copy of LOVE ON 42ND STREET - and come on, why wouldn't you? - then, check out the following links where you can buy or download the album: -
Amazon - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-42nd-Street-Various-artists/dp/B00IU10JU2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1394901437&sr=8-1&keywords=love+on+42nd+street
Dan and Laura's Official website (CD) - http://www.danandlauracurtis.com/#!shop/c24l6
**The album will also be released on iTunes!!
I must thank Dan and Laura from the bottom of my heart for letting me listen to the album ahead of its' release. I consider it an absolute honour and I only hope that my review has done justice to their amazing album.
Signing off for now
Blue Eyed Girl Xxx