Sunday, 16 March 2014

FIRST LISTEN - Dan and Laura Curtis' "Love on 42nd Street"

 
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.

Track Listing

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
 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Blue Eyed Girl catches up with . . . Dan and Laura Curtis

(Photo from Google Plus)
 
To say Dan and Laura Curtis have been on a rollercoaster ride since we last spoke would be a massive understatement! From recording with Ramin Karimloo, to discovering the amazing Kasia Howley, to the Your Voice Competition and the start of a musical on the life of the late Richard Burton, this very talented duo just keep on going!

With their new album LOVE ON 42ND STREET due to be released on Monday - featuring the mind-blowing talents of Sierra Boggess, John Owen Jones and Katy Treharne amongst many others, I sat down with Dan and Laura for a much needed catch up . . .

What have you been up to since we last spoke?
 
It has been such a crazy time with recording the album and running the Your Voice Competition. We really haven't stopped but it is great to be busy!

You released "Why Am I Falling?", featuring Ramin Karimloo at the end of last year. The song was also part of the catalyst that found the first winner of the YOUR VOICE competition, Kasia Howley. Did you ever expect to get such an overwhelming response to the song as you did?

 
When you write a song, you can only hope that it gets a great reaction. When we wrote the song, we really believed it could do well but the response has been mind blowing. We get so many messages everyday from people who are just discovering the song. Working with Ramin on the recording and the lyrics was a pleasure and we cannot wait to see him on Broadway later this year.


Kasia Howley is such a unique talent and we really believe she will be in the West End in a lead role in the not so distant future.

What is the one album (apart from your own), past or present that you think everyone should listen to once?
 
That is such a hard question but I think it would be The Beatles and their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album which is a masterpiece. Musical theatre soundtrack though would be Newsies! We just love Alan Menken's music and that cast are sensational.

What was the last concert/gig you went to that left you speechless? (In a good way!)
 
We go to see many concerts but watching Michael Feinstein record his live DVD at the Leicester Square Theatre in London was a night that we will never forget. He was just amazing and the energy in the room that night was very special.

What was the last play/musical that you saw?
 
The last musical that we saw was Pippin on Broadway. It was one of the strongest casts that we have ever seen. Matthew James Thomas who is currently playing Pippin is an incredible talent and it was great seeing him perform. The show was recommended to us by John Owen-Jones and we were so pleased we took his advice.

You are about to release your new album LOVE ON 42ND STREET. How did you come up with the album name? And what was the inspiration for the cover artwork?
 
We asked people to come up with suggestions of possible names for the album along the theme of 'Broadway Hearts' and after a lot of though we came up with the title. We wanted something that symbolised Broadway and 42nd Street is just so iconic.

(Picture provided by Dan and Laura Curtis)
 
For the cover art, we decided that we would love an actual painting to be the main front cover image but we are not gifted in that department at all! Our good friend Mike Collison is a very gifted artist and he took our vision and turned it into reality.

What was your favourite part of the album-making process?
 
Without question it would be the vocal recording sessions. It is such a pleasure to work with incredible singers and hear it all come together. They all put their own spin on what you have written and it such a creative time.

Obviously - the theme of the album is LOVE. What made you choose that theme in particular?
 
Definitely our first trip to New York, where we were constantly surrounded by the emotions and stories of others. From Central Park, where we’d see new parents, couples – young and old, to the 9/11 memorial where the flowers in the names surrounding the water told thousands of stories of loss. From this we decided to create an album that conveyed love in all forms.
 
If you HAD TO pick (and if you don't mind me asking!), which song is your favourite on the album?
 
It is a strange thing to say but after you write a song you kind of hand it over to the world and it kind of becomes as much theirs as it does yours. We don't have a favourite but the great thing with music is that our music choice changes with the mood that we are in. We have tried to write songs that reflect happy, sad and different emotions so whatever mood you are in, there is something that you would hopefully enjoy!
 
You have such an array of amazing talent on this album. How did you choose the vocalists that you wanted to include? Did you have a singer in mind for each track when you wrote them?
 
We actually wrote each of the songs for the person singing them, which was a very different way of working for us. We wanted the album to be very personal and we wanted to try and capture the singers individual style in the song. We did come up with a wish list of who we would love to have on this album and fortunately we were able to write and record a song with most of them. For scheduling reasons some songs did not work out but do watch this space!

Are there any artists out there you would still like to work with that you haven't yet?
 
There are so many artists that we would love to work with and the great thing is that we find new ones all the time. We have some very exciting projects coming up with some of Broadway's biggest stars.

What does the rest of 2014 hold for you?
 
First thing up is promoting the album but we have a number of projects on the go. We are working very hard on our musical based around the life of the late great Richard Burton. We have a series of singles that we will be releasing later this year and will hopefully be recording them with artists over the next few months.

In 10 words or less - tell my readers why they should buy the album.
 
Lea, Ramin, JOJ, Samantha, Simon, Katy, Sierra and Kasia :)

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 pre-order and 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 want to wish Dan and Laura so much luck for the album release. I only hope that such beautiful music, performed by some phenomenal talent gets the recognition it so truly deserves!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Sunday, 2 March 2014

A Letter to the original cast of ONCE London . . .

As the original cast of this stunning show enters its final week, I just wanted to say thank you to them all in what I hope is my own "special way".

To Declan, Zrinka, Valda, Jamie, Phoebe, Ryan, Allison, David, Aidan, Katrina, Gareth, Michael, Tim, Jos, Flora, Christina, Alex, Jez, Gabriel, Robbie, Ceyda, Emily, Rosanna and Honey.

It's hard to believe that a whole year has flown past since you all arrived in the West End as part of one of the most anticipated imports from across the Pond that we have had in years. And now, as your time at this beautiful show comes to an end, I just wanted to show you how much I, as well as thousands upon thousands of fans that you have gained over this year, appreciate everything you have achieved at the Phoenix Theatre.

When I heard ONCE was going to be coming to London, I was absolutely overjoyed! Having loved theatre since I was very young - but only renewing my love for it in 2009/10, this was the first time I had felt so much joy about a show opening. The original Broadway cast soundtrack had been a major part of my CD collection for many years. The simplistic beauty of every single track melted my heart on the very first listen - and continues to do so to this day! But despite my love for the soundtrack - I had never seen the film, so I had no visual representations of what these characters were meant to be like.

Fast forward to a cold, wet evening in April 2013. It was your second Press Night and with ticket in hand, I headed for my first of many visits to the Phoenix Theatre. The atmosphere was still electric after the resounding success of the previous Press Night and as I headed on stage for a drink and to watch your amazing pre-show performance first hand, I knew I was in for a treat.

2 hours, 30 minutes (or so) later, ONCE (and all of you) had stolen my heart.


I went on to visit your enchanting show 9 times over the year, and although I know that may not sound like alot in comparison with some, I have never seen a single show this many times in such a short space of a time - and believe me, if I didn't live so far away from the Phoenix, it would have been much more!

People would ask me why I kept coming back so many times - and my answer was the same every time. A story that is so beautifully simple, that it's simply beautiful. Put that together with one of the strongest, most dynamic and ridiculously talented ensembles I have EVER seen (bar none), then how could people not come back again and again?

Every single one of you is not only an amazing actor or actress, but a ridiculously talented musician. There is not one weak link amongst you. The dynamic nature and unity you have when you are all on stage is magical. And when I heard Declan, in a recent tweet, describe you all as a BAND, number 1 - I couldn't agree more, and number 2 - this yet again shows what a wealth of talent you all possess!


I also think it says so much about the strength of a cast that when an Understudy is on, you would not know they weren't part of the regular main cast - and this is the case with ONCE. I didn't get to see all of the Understudies - but there is no doubt in my mind you were all just as phenomenal as each other.

My final visit to you all was on 8th February 2013 (as sadly I am unable to attend your final day) - and I still remember the exact moment during that show when it hit me that I would not have the honour of seeing you all perform live together again (it was during GOLD) and it broke my heart. But the memories (and the goosebumps) I will take from that show, as well as all of my visits will stay with me forever.


For all the kindness you have shown me when I have met so many of you at the Stage Door, for the laughs, for the tears, for the joy, for the passion - and for the music - I can only thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Whatever the future may hold for you - whether it be in the East End of London, the National Theatre, Shakespeare or continuing your ONCE journey, I wish you so much love, luck, happiness and blessings. You will all be so missed - the new cast certainly have HUGE shoes to fill!!!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Tonight's The Night - New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham (25th February 2014)

 
When I walked into the New Alexandra Theatre on a cold February evening to see TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT - a musical based on the songs of Rod Stewart, I didn't really know what I was in for. Yes - I knew some Rod Stewart songs - who doesn't? But how on earth were they going to fit into a musical?

One thing I did know was that the script was written by comedian Ben Elton. With "We Will Rock You" being one of the shows I have made the most visits to, it was clear that I was going to love the script - especially if it had a sense of humour similar to the long-running Dominon phenomenon.

But I was still unsure. I was even more confused when I walked into the auditorium to be greeted by a city skyline at sunrise - and was handed a white paper Sailor Hat, being told "I would need this later!" I didn't think it was possible - but yes, I was even more confused than when I first walked in!

But once the show started, all of my confusion quickly disappeared as I was bought into Gasoline Alley - and the world of Stuart Clutterbuck.

Stu (played by former Les Mis alumni and past Blue Eyed Girl double interviewee Craig Mather) is a shy and sensitive guy, who can't find the words to confess his love to his co-worker Mary (played by the ridiculously talented Jenna Lee James) One night, Stuart strikes a deal with the Devil (the stunning Tiffany Graves) to swap souls with the Rock God himself Rod Stewart. But despite all the initial happiness his deal brings him, Stu realises that maybe life as someone else isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I was blown away by the amount of talent across the entire cast - especially from the ladies, lead by the phenomenal trio of Jenna Lee James, Tiffany Graves and Jade Ewen (who played Dee Dee). Both Jenna and Tiffany have been a part of "We Will Rock You" - and it tells in their powerhouse vocals! Both blew the roof off in their solo and ensemble numbers and I can but only bow down at their unbelievable talent. A special mention must also go to Michael McKell (Stoner) - this guy just oozed rock star charm and he had the audience in the palm of his hand at every moment he was on stage, whether it was vocally or in his many comic moments.

And what to say about Mr Craig Mather? It's been just over 2 years since I first saw Craig on stage - on my first ever visit to Les Miserables - but my, oh, my! What a transformation! Even though he is the alternate lead (Craig currently has 2 set shows as Stu each week, being part of the Ensemble at all other shows), I don't think I have ever seen a performer look so comfortable leading a company. He commanded the stage, holding the attention of everyone in the auditorium for every minute of the show, and he picked up the customary "rock star strut" with great ease. Craig's amazing vocal range - if you've listened to his solo EP "View of You", you will know how astounding it is - fits perfectly to the classic Rod Stewart tracks - "Stay With Me", "Sailing" and "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" being my highlights. It won't be long before we see him leading a phenomenal company all of his own - mark my words!

Tonight's the Night is a fun night out, and even if you are not a huge Rod Stewart fan, I guarantee you will be dancing in the aisles!

The tour is in Birmingham until 1st March, and then goes on to Aylesbury, Brighton and Wimbledon. Check out http://www.tonightsthenightontour.co.uk/#home for all the details.

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Support PLAYING OUR PART - in aid of Target Ovarian Cancer.

 
If you hadn't heard of this event already - believe me, you will be itching to buy your tickets by the time you finish reading this post (or at least that's what I'm hoping!)

Playing Our Part will feature a fantastic mix of stars from the West End and beyond, raising money for Target Ovarian Cancer.

Taking place on Sunday 18th May 2014, at the beautiful Cadogan Hall in London, the concert will be lead by musical director extraordinaire Alex Parker, and is being produced by the multi-talented Nadim Naaman. All money raised goes straight to the charity!

If you're not convinced already, check out the list of confirmed performers - it literally is the who's who of amazing theatre talent: -

Simon Bailey, Killian Donnelly, Gillian Budd, Wendy Ferguson, Sarah Galbraith, Celia Graham, Siubhan Harrison, Christopher Howell, Tim Morgan, Nadim Naaman, Laura Pitt Pulford, Geronimo Rauch, Jeremy Secomb, and Shona White.

I can't say enough good things about this event - a beautiful venue, a mindblowingly talented cast of performers, and a fantastic cause to raise money for.

Are you convinced? I certainly hope so!

You can get your tickets by calling the Cadogan Hall Box Office at 020 7730 4500, or online at http://www.cadoganhall.com/whats-on/2014/05/18 You can also follow @PlayingOurPart1 on Twitter for all the latest updates on the concert!

I'm going to be there - and I hope to see all of you there as well!

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Blue Eyed Girl interviews . . . Amy Anzel

(Taken from www.mirror.co.uk)
 
Amy Anzel is one of the hottest young producers in TheatreLand at the moment. After her appearance on Channel 4's "The Sound of Musicals" last year, where the audience were given a major insight into her development of HAPPY DAYS - THE MUSICAL, she has gone on to take the show from strength to strength as it embarks on a national UK Tour. A truly multi talented woman - who has strengths in both acting and producing, I was very lucky to be able to sit down for a chat with Amy to find out about her goals, the reception HAPPY DAYS has received, and working with the legendary Henry Winkler . . .

Tell us a little known fact about yourself - something we wouldn't know by looking at you.
I love sheep! I think they're the most adorable animals on earth.

Who or what inspired you to get into the Theatre Industry?
I always loved performing as a child, which led me to doing community theatre in the States (which is like amateur dramatics in the UK). I then started performing professionally doing US and European tours, regional productions, commercials, TV and film. I subsequently moved into producing in more recent years.
 
If you had to choose any 3 songs from any genre as the soundtrack to your life so far, what would they be and why?
'Don't Rain On My Parade' - I find that there are a lot of naysayers out there, and I won't ever have them stop me in what I am trying to achieve.

'That's Life' - Life is full of ups and downs, but I will always get back up and continue on trying to accomplish my goals even if I get knocked down. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

'Cabaret' - We only have one life and it's not a 'dress rehearsal', so make the most out of each and every day.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given? And what advice would you give to young and upcoming performers trying to break into the industry?

Someone once told me that 'luck' is when preparation meets opportunity, so always be prepared and ready.

My biggest piece of advice to young performers is to train and never give up on their dreams. Also, to never stop learning and training. When you finish drama school, it doesn't mean you should stop taking class. In NY, most Broadway performers are in dance class and voice lessons weekly. They never stop perfecting their craft. I don't see that as much here in the UK.
What inspired you to make the move from acting into being a producer?
When I moved to the UK in 2009, I noticed that some West End musicals that I was seeing didn't seem to be as good as they could be, so I wanted to try and create shows that had very high production values with the greatest level of talent. Also, I wanted to have more control over my career and as an actor, for the most part, you don't have much.

Your most recent production is a new musical based on the classic TV show "Happy Days." What was it about this show that made you want to bring it to the stage?
I was in the developmental workshops of the show 10 years ago in LA when Garry Marshall, the creator of HAPPY DAYS, was turning the TV show into a musical. I loved the process and loved the show! When I moved to the UK in 2009, I noticed that 1950s Americana was doing quite well in the West End with GREASE, JERSEY BOYS, and HAIRSPRAY and I therefore called Garry Marshall and asked to bring HAPPY DAYS to the UK. After four long years, it has finally arrived!

You are probably best known to my readers through your appearance on Channel 4's "The Sound of Musicals", which chronicled the process you went through to try and get "Happy Days" on the road. Why did you want to be involved in the programme?
I wanted the public to see all the blood, sweat, and tears that go into putting on a show, especially the development period. Showbiz is not as glamorous as it might seem, so I wanted to share my journey with the public, so they could see that for themselves as rarely they are given that opportunity.
 
And I have to ask, what is it like to work with Henry Winkler (who played "The Fonz" in the original TV series)?
Henry is great! He is one of the most lovely and generous people I know. The cast loved working with him and they really benefited from their time with him as he helped them develop their characters and their relationships with each other in the show. I am grateful for his involvement.

Since the show aired, "Happy Days" has begun its first ever UK Tour. How has the show been received by audiences so far?
Audiences absolutely love it! From the moment the show starts and they hear the 'Happy Days' theme song, they go wild. They are then reunited with some of their favourite characters onstage and they seem to really embrace it. Even if people don't know the television series, they still have a great time as it's a fun night out full of great songs, fantastic choreography and a lovely story.

In 10 words or less, why should my readers come and see Happy Days?
Your readers should come and see HAPPY DAYS - A NEW MUSICAL because it's a fun, feel-good show and a great night out!

For more details about the show, as well as how you can buy tickets, check out http://happydaysthemusical.com/ You can also follow the show on Twitter @HappyDaysUKTour, and to keep up with what Amy is up to, check out @AmyAnzel

Thank you so much to Amy for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions - it was an absolute pleasure and an honour to chat to her.

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx

Friday, 14 February 2014

Blue Eyed Girl interviews . . . YOUR VOICE Winner Kasia Howley

(From apple.itunes.com)
 
You may not know the name KASIA HOWLEY right now, but I guarantee this is a name you will all become extremely familiar with in the coming years. Last year, she was selected by a panel of unbelievable West End talent as the winner of the first ever YOUR VOICE competition, which was organised by the phenomenally talented Dan and Laura Curtis.

Fast forward to 2014 - and Kasia's world has been turned upside down! Her version of "Why Am I Falling" has now been released on iTunes, she is looking forward to an appearance at West End Live and a solo album is also in the works. I was lucky enough to sit down with this wonderfully talented young lady to discuss what can only be described as a rollercoaster of a past few months . . .

Tell us a little known fact about yourself - something we wouldn't know by looking at you.

I am a big Rugby League fan!

How did you become interested in singing and performing in general?

I started dance classes from the age of 2 and a half, and at the age of nine, I saw my first West End musical 'We Will Rock You' and from then on, I knew I wanted to perform on stage and pursue it as a career. So I changed dance schools to a local stage school - Stuart Stage - which specialised in musical theatre.

Who are the actors/theatre performers that you most look up to and why?

There are way too many to mention! But my main idol is Kerry Ellis and always has been since I first saw her perform in "We Will Rock You". I think she has the most incredible voice and stage presence and I aspire to one day be as successful and talented as her. Another performer who really inspires me is Idina Menzel, I have only seen her perform live a couple of times in the UK but I think she has a phenomenal talent. Lea Michele is also one of my idols and I am still waiting for the day to see her perform live! A few other of my favourite performers whom I also admire are: Natalie Weiss, Jeremy Jordan, Lea Salonga, Samantha Barks and so many more!

What would be your dream role to play?

My dream role is to play Elphaba in WICKED and always has been from a very young age! But to be honest there are so many amazing roles I would love to play!

** Kasia's winning entry for the 2013 YOUR VOICE Competition - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyr8EsTsU60 **

How did it feel to be chosen from so many entries to be the winner of the "Your Voice" competition?

I was really shocked to win the competition, but also absolutely over the moon! I was so excited to enter a musical theatre competition as I have never had the chance to do that before! I think the song which Dan and Laura wrote, 'Why Am I Falling' is amazing and what made the experience of winning even more special was to know that the West End judging panel had listened to me sing and actually voted for me!

You've experienced so much since winning the competition - what's been the highlight?

The biggest highlight has definitely been recording the song and having it released on iTunes! Though I am extremely excited to be performing at West End Live this year and I am sure it will be a very memorable experience! I also can't wait to start recording an album this year with the help of Dan and Laura Curtis!

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

My favourite piece of advice is 'never give up on a dream, no matter what!'

If you had to pick 3 songs - from any genre - as the soundtrack to your life so far, what would they be?

"Defying Gravity" - WICKED
"Astonishing" - Little Women
"I'm a Star" - Scott Alan

If you want to keep up to date with what Kasia is up to, follow her on Twitter @kasiahowley or you can follow @DanLauraCurtis for updates on Kasia's album as well as news of the YOUR VOICE competition for 2014.

Thank you so much to Kasia for answering my questions - and my eternal thanks to Dan and Laura Curtis for helping to set this interview up :-)

Signing off for now

Blue Eyed Girl Xxx