Michael Ball recently signed to EMI Liberty for the world. With over 10 years of platinum selling albums, a career as the pre-eminent British musical star - ranging from Les Miserables, Aspects Of Love and, of course, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - and a huge loyal fan base, Michael is a unique British performer.
The genesis of this album came from a special performance Michael held at the Donmar Warehouse two years ago. Using a love affair as the concept, he sang for nearly two hours - illustrating the highs and lows of a relationship through song. The show was a huge critical success and began re-appraisal of Michael Ball's talent. Michael then launched the UK's most expensive musical in history. For nearly two years he has been the lead in Chitty, further cementing his popularity as well as reaching a new generation of fans.
When Michael's contract ended with Universal, he brought to Liberty the idea of translating the theatrical concept into an album.
The tracks follow a narrative - beginning with the self-explanatory "I Wish I Were In Love Again" through the peaks and troughs of a modern relationship, coming full circle with the classic "I Wish You Love". Rather than just focusing on the classic standards Michael set out to mix well known songs with known or hidden gems. While listeners will recognise "This Guy's In Love With You", tracks such as Kenny Chesney's "You Had Me From Hello", Deanna Carter's "What Makes You Stay" and a stunning version of Bacharach's "God Give Me Strength" will be fresh to your ears.
Recorded at AIR Studios with the UK's premier rhythm section and a 55 piece orchestra, the album is produced by veteran LA producer Simon Franglen who, as well as being a successful producer in his own right, was previously Barbara Streisand's musical director and David (Celine Dion) Foster's arranger and engineer.
One track was finished at The Hit Factory in New York. Michael Ball & Antonio Banderas are both Broadway veterans and the duet sprang from a previous live collaboration. The track they chose, "Me & My Shadow", is well known - from the original recording featuring Frank & Sammy to the more recent collaboration between Robbie & Jonathan Wilkes - but the guys bring a fresh, mature and frankly exuberant interpretation to the track. The recording was filmed and is being edited for promotional use. Antonio is unlikely to be able to promote the track in the UK due to appearing on NYC in the award winning musical NINE, but will be doing press interviews in support.
In addition to the normal high profile promotional opportunities, Michael kicks off his first nationwide two in two years, playing many major cities including two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo the week following release.
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