Off we go! A huge honour for us Brits to be headed to Taiwan to give a concert in their most iconic venue!
11 hours of flying to HK, 3 more to Taipei & straight into rehearsals! No time to conquer jetlag, we just #redbull & go I expect to have no idea what planet I’m on by around early evening, but that’s the way it is with international touring. Currently 8:15am here, but my body clock is 8 hours behind at midnight; hence why I’m cradling a Starbucks & listening to electro very loud, must stay awake
First order of business upon arrival in Taipei? Local beef noodles, with all their offally goodness & flavour! Our wonderful agent Catherine knows all the best places, we’re lucky boys! Yummy!
Our first visit to the big night food market at Ningxia, so many choices! We had fish balls, pork dumplings & soup, stir fried chicken, noodles, shaved ice desserts & lots else! It’s a hot, fragrant & busy place, with barely a westerner in sight, we felt honoured to be there! We’re so full
Drive around central Taipei & you’ll see an alarming number of these 🙂 The promoters have done a fabulous job of selling out the 2500 seat venue we are playing here. Can’t wait to perform now!
thebandblake Singing for an audience of 1000 school students tonight; cultural exchange! Great to be able to share what we do with the younger generation too, after all, they’ll be replacing us in the future 🙂 Hope to inspire a few Taiwanese students to take up classical singing and harmony vocals.
Sherrill Klaus ❤️ You are a beautiful inspiration to all ❤️
Stephen performing Over The Rainbow with 20 young Taiwanese singers, all with lovely voices and big smiles. Certainly a memory I’ll cherish in my ten years of singing with @thebandblake & traveling the world.
The auditorium of the National Concert Hall in Taiwan, our venue for tonight, soon to be full to the brim with 2500 new friends & fans from Taipei! This is extremely exciting for us boys, a career highlight for sure!
thebandblake Have you ever seen a national concert hall quite like Taiwan’s? It is MASSIVE. The closer you look, the more detail you see. Can’t believe we have sold this venue out in a country we’ve never been to before; maybe we should come here more often 😉
Backstage monitor shot of our show in Taipei tonight, going very well so far, great audience!
stephenbowmanblakeHundreds of people lined up for photos with us after the show, so we met every single one of them, greeting them with our best ‘Ni hao’ and thanking them with a ‘Xie Xie’ 🙂 Never seen a reaction like this before, except perhaps in the Philippines where the audience were equally warm and kind to us. It’s so touching to be 10,000 kilometres away from home, but still get that warmth like the UK. We are very lucky chaps! 🙂
Stephen: Can’t leave Taiwan without a decent massage & reflexology! Two ladies pummelled the hell out me and I feel ready to pass out on the plane home. What a fantastic trip, I can’t wait to come back!
We 3 boys will miss #TerryWogan very dearly. The last gentleman DJ & presenter and a kind supporter of our music. #SirTerryWogan you once described us as “a trio of surpassing musical brilliance”, we only have 1 word for you “Legend”. January 31, 2016
Proud to have appeared on BBC One news tonight, describing our favourite memories of Sir Terry Wogan, a true gentleman.
BLAKE Our very last radio interview with #TerryWogan on @BBCRadio2 #SirTerryWogan will be dearly missed by us all.
THEY have sung for the Queen, performed on top of the Great Wall of China and won a Brit Award. But classical boyband Blake have now revealed their true dream – to sing in Bedford.
The band – made up of Stephen Bowman, Oliver Baines and Humphrey Berney – are busy jetting around the globe on their world tour to glamorous destinations including Dubai, but said it would be ‘a dream come true’ when they take to the stage at Bedford Proms in the Park, sponsored by Bedfordshire On Sunday, on August 6.
The talented trio raised the hairs on the arms of a select crowd as they performed four rousing songs at a launch event for the proms, held at Elms BMW in Bedford, on Thursday night.
The lucky few in attendance got a sneak peak of the eclectic performance the boys will deliver for the proms as the trio launched into electrifying renditions including Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing Cars’, Les Miserables’ ‘Bring Him Home’ and one of the best-known opera songs of all time, Nessun Dorma.
Speaking exclusively to the BoS before they took up their microphones, the boys revealed it would be their first time performing in the town.
Stephen said: “We’ve heard great things about Bedford, it’s a beautiful place.
“We’re certainly going to be singing our classics and being a prom with a full orchestra and a choir of 80, it’s going to be vocally a spectacular show. We’re definitely going to get people singing along and waving their flags.”
But despite ten years together, over a million album sales and being recruited to perform a Christmas duet with the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey – one of their career highlights – the boys revealed they still suffer from pre-performance jitters.
“I think it’s only natural when you see thousands of people in front of you all waiting expectantly for something to come out of your mouth,” said Oliver.
“The nerves definitely build up, but we’ve performed together thousands and thousands of times now. We just like to have fun together and because we do, the audience do as well.”
The boys certainly do have fun on stage together – proved by their banter at the BMW launch event.
They joked about arriving in a rival Mercedes car, and at one point Stephen even lifted the gull wing doors on a new i8 BMW they were performing next to and slipped inside – while still singing.
Ready for BLAKE’s biggest ever UK outdoor concert? Join us on August 6th at Bedford Park Proms for a spectacular night with full orchestra, fireworks, lasers, lights and flag waving! Tickets here: http://www.bedfordparkconcerts.co.uk
“Always ready to see and hear BLAKE 💗”
London Gala Orchestra Bedford Choral Society
Sherrill Klaus to Blake Passion
November 28, 2015 ·
Classical trio will sing low at Bedford Proms
Classical Brit Award Winning BLAKE have sold over 1 million albums and will be taking to the stage at the 20th anniversary #Proms event in 2016 – again sponsored by Bedfordshire on Sunday.
Their extraordinary success has seen them tour extensively all over the world and as well as winning over the public they have also been firm favourites with Royalty, performing several times for the Queen at Buckingham Palace.
The band consists of #HumphreyBerney, #OllieBaines and #StephenBowman and its been an extraordinarily busy time for them of late as they have just released their Christmas album, which includes ‘#TheChristmasSong’ their new single with
#DameShirleyBassey, which is a 10/1 odds favourite to be this year’s Christmas No1.
#Blake have several high profile TV appearances coming up including The Graham Norton Show on December 4 and #Strictly fans will be delighted to know they will perform on the show on Christmas Day.
The boys will join Soprano Rebecca Newman who already know each other well having performed several times already together and even guested on each other’s albums. Rebecca’s version of ‘#ThePrayer’ featuring Blake is sensational and will sure to be one of the songs the audience will want to hear.
Mark Harrison, promoter of Bedford Park Concerts said: “It’s a real coup to have confirmed Blake, they continue to be one of the most popular #classical groups in the world and they delight audiences when ever they perform live. “It’s fantastic to welcome them to #BedfordParkProms next year to help us celebrate our 20th Proms.
The #BedfordParkProms takes place on the August 6 2016.
Mark added: “Tickets would make a perfect #Christmas #gift for families and friends!”
Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online bedfordparkconcerts.co.uk
Blake’s Ollie Baines: “We’re more like a family than colleagues ”
ALTHOUGH Blake is renowned for that feel good factor on stage, I can confirm that chatting to #OllieBaines, one of the classical vocal trio is an absolute tonic too.
He’s fun, friendly, down to earth and incredibly up beat about life. He certainly shows no sign of taking any of it for granted either – even though he’s been singing since he was eight and performing with Blake for ten years.
Ollie was a chorister at both New College, Oxford and Winchester Cathedral. He was also a member of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and learned the French horn and trumpet. He is also a keen #pianist.
Ollie, a tenor, says of touring: “I’ve been incredibly lucky to have seen so much of the world, and at such a young age. Before I was even at university I’d toured throughout Europe, Australia, America and Africa with various choirs, and Blake has taken me further still.”
Ollie is also a keen sailor, skier and horseman. He has survived both a light plane crash and being held hostage in an armed bank robbery. He grew up in the Wiltshire countryside with a plethora of pets, including five dogs.
“I am one of those lucky people who genuinely like being up there on stage, singing my heart out. For me that’s what it’s all about. And it’s essential to enjoy yourself, because that way, the audience tend to enjoy themselves as well.”
The British #harmony group is now back with a brand-new tour which includes two dates in Dorset featuring the finest songs from stage and screen.
Linked together with the boys’ much-loved improvised banter, the show features music from Hanz Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, Leonard Bernstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Leonard Cohen and The Beach Boys.
The tour follows appearances alongside the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey, with whom they released a Christmas single last December. The single featured on their festive album ‘A Classic #Christmas’ in aid of children’s charities Variety and Noah’s Ark Hospice.
The members of Blake all found their love of #music at a young age and sang with various groups and choirs throughout their childhood.
Blake has had several number ones, multi-platinum selling albums and over 150 #TV appearances, as well as having won a Brit Award for Album of the Year. Famous fans include Keira Knightley, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Will Smith. The trio tour constantly and take part in a vast amount of charity work, from performing for the Queen and Prince Harry at the Festival of Remembrance and the launch of the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Challenge, to working with the ‘Sing to Beat Breast Cancer’ Choir. Other charities they have supported include Help For Heroes, The British Legion and MIND. They have fans worldwide, which has sent them on tours to the Philippines, South Korea, Barbados, Russia, and even at the White House in the US.
#Choirs who would like the chance to join #Blake on stage should send a YouTube video link of themselves performing to info@BlakeOfficial.com accompanied by a short description of their group. One choir will be chosen for each concert to join the group on stage.
Ollie sounds in particularly high spirits when we speak on the phone. He’s chuckling about an interview he had just given to a newspaper in Somerset.
“Forgive me if I sound a little bizarre and excited,” he laughs. “I’d just put the washing on and then I’m being asked all these deep questions like, ‘what does music to mean to you’ and we ended up going off in weird tangents talking about badgers and Blake 7 – it was all rather surreal!”
One of the keys to keeping their act fresh, Ollie explains, is by inviting school and community choirs to take part in their live shows.
“We thought it would be a great experience for both them and us. It’s a lovely way of involving the local community and it’s also very important to keep things different for us too. It is so much nicer to fill a stage with a choir rather than with your own ego!”
“It is a bit of a lonely life and you’ve constantly got to be on your game. That’s the lovely part of being part of a group. You can support each other- even vocally if you’re feeling under the weather which is why we have never cancelled a concert in ten years.
“And yes we do get on – we’re more like a #family than colleagues. Sorry to sound so boring but that’s probably why we’ve lasted ten years!”
Ollie adds: “I’m much more appreciative of my lot now and all the things we have achieved.”
Rehearsing hard for our upcoming ‘Stage & Screen’ tour… this is the jazz flute scene from Anchorman – he’s never had one lesson! 🙂
Silly goofy balls 😀💗😊
Back in the studio today, with our newest producer Claude, recording a cover of ‘Who Let The Dogs Out?’ – he chose the song 🙂 May 9, 2016
Visiter reporter Kate Lally caught up with band member Humphrey Berney ahead of their first Southport trip. Blake and Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones
Award-winning British vocal group Blake are heading to The Atkinson.
Mixing eclectic classical and pop songs with rich harmony vocals, the trio launched their first album in 2007. The debut album went straight to number One in the UK Classical Album Chart and into the Top Twenty Pop Chart.
In 2008 their highly anticipated 2nd album, And So It Goes was released and went straight in at number 12 in the UK pop charts and Number 1 in several classical charts around the world.
After an unusual encounter with Kiera Knightley during the making of their first album, the band has gone on to collect a legion of celebrity fans, including Will Smith, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and even Dame Shirley Bassey, who celebrated her $1Million 70th birthday party, with the Blake boys giving a very special performance.
One-third of Blake, Humphrey Berney, says it was an honour to sing with such a musical legend.
“Meeting Dame Shirley was a dream come true for myself, Ollie and Stephen – as you can imagine.
“I don’t know how we’ll ever beat that, although we’d absolutely love to duet with Tom Jones, of course!”
Humphrey says the trio have been singing since he can remember.
“Ollie and I started singing in the choir when we were about 7.
“That was when I fell in love with singing and realised it was what I wanted to do as a career.
“Stephen has been singing just as long, although he started out with more pop type stuff.”
And what do the band listen to now?
“Absolutely everything. Well, almost.
“I think it’s important to listen to a very eclectic mix because that’s how we operate; we blend songs together, sometimes songs that you mightn’t associate with each other at all.
“Don’t get me wrong, it’s trial and error. Sometimes we try a mix of two and it doesn’t work.
“I’m listening to a lot of soul and funk at the moment and, of course, Bruno Mars.”
The group has never come to Southport before, but ‘honorary Northerner’ Humphrey says he can’t wait.
“I’m a huge fan of the North and I love performing to a northern audience.
“My wife is from Lancaster, and I love the northern sense of humour.
“We love to engage with the audience as part of our shows, and audiences in the north seem a lot more willing to ‘join in’, if you like, and it makes for a much better show.”
Humphrey says despite the band’s strong appreciation for classical music, there’ll be something for all tastes at their Southport show.
“It’s about appreciating all kinds of music. We don’t take ourselves too seriously.
“For people who come along, it’s a night to escape ‘real life’ and just enjoy yourselves.”
And Humphrey wants to thank fans for allowing the trio to live their dream.
“We are so lucky to be great friends and love performing and travelling the world together. I love and listen to so many styles of music and it’s great to sing such a variety with Blake.
“We have so much ahead of us and I can’t wait for what lies around the corner.
“And we could not have done it without the support of our great fans.
Blake come to The Atkinson on Wednesday, May 4 at 8pm. Tickets cost £20-22 and are available online at www.theatkinson.co.uk or at the Box Office on .
Brit award-winning artist Humphrey Berney from chart-topping classical supergroup ‘Blake’ will be performing a collection of timeless and much-loved lullabies from his new album ‘Slumberland’ every day at our ExCeL show next month.
Perfect for your little ones bedtime routine!
What’s more, visit stand A47 and you can get a signed copy of Slumberland from Humphrey himself.
The Baby Show with MadeForMums, the UK’s leading parenting event for bump, baby and beyond is set to return to ExCeL London for a 14th year from 19th to 21st February. The Show will be home to over 200 exhibitors showcasing the very best baby and infant essentials. The only baby show to feature all the major retailers, alongside family favourites including iCandy, Stokke, Philips Avent and Chicco, it is a must-attend event for any new parents, friends and family members shopping for the latest products – and amazing discounts! The main stage will be boasting a fantastic line-up of speakers, including renowned nutritionist, Annabel Karmel MBE, breastfeeding expert, Clare Byam-Cook, baby sleep gurus Chireal Shallow and Fi Star-Stone and many more. Adding a twist to the line-up is Blake singer, Humphrey Berney, who will be taking to the stage to sing his collection of lullabies from the album ‘Slumberland.’
The advanced ticket price is £13.95 on Friday and £14.95 for either the Saturday or Sunday, while on-the-door tickets cost £20. Opening times: Friday 19th February: 9.30am – 5.30pm, Saturday 20th February: 9.30am – 5.30pm, Sunday 21st February: 9.30am – 5.30pm.
ExCeL, London. Royal Victoria Dock, 1 Western Gateway, London, London E16 1XL
Humphrey is at The Baby Show this week-end ☺Stop by A47 and say Hello ♥
#Slumberland #BabtShow #Lullabies #Children #Music #ShareOurLoveofBlake #Blake
Slumberland is a beautiful collection of timeless and much loved lullabies and songs recorded by internationally acclaimed, Brit award winning artist Humphrey Berney, member of chart topping classical super group ‘Blake’. Slumberland is Humphrey’s first solo album, which showcases his beautiful calming voice over a selection of 13 brand new interpretations of songs which pluck upon the nostalgic heart strings of new parents who will recognise tracks from their childhood and in turn delight in passing these memories on to their own children.
Music and singing have always been used by parents to sooth and calm their new born and young children. In recent years the importance of music to develop the bond between a child and parent, as well as the benefits to their development has been truly recognised. Before fame came knocking on Humphrey’s door with Blake he was a male nanny and found music to be a big key in his success in that job role!
Slumberland is a stunning collection of 13 lullabies and songs by Humphrey Berney, member of Classical Brit Award winning group Blake. Presented in a stunning hand illustrated fold out case this is the perfect gift for any mother and will sooth and calm babies, children and their sometimes weary parents.
Music and singing have always been used by parents to sooth and calm their new born and young children and in recent years, the importance of music to develop the bond between a child and parent, as well as the benefits to their development has been truly recognised.
Humphrey Berney, presents his first solo album ‘Slumberland’, which showcases his beautiful, calming voice over a selection of 13 brand new interpretations of lullabies and songs.
“My 8 year old fell in love with the CD from the very first moment she heard it, but then so did I! Humphrey’s voice has such a beautiful and moving quality about it. Like melting caramel”. Gabby Roslin – Actress, TV and Radio presenter.
Whether you are dreaming of a white Christmas, rocking around the Christmas tree or rocking a baby towards dreamland, Humphrey Berney has a song for you, writes Rowan Mantell
He is used to fans going a little swoony as his band gives some of opera’s most beautiful tunes a boy-band twist. But for his first solo venture, Humphrey Berney of Blake wants to send his audience to sleep.
The Norfolk singer who travels the world serenading thousands of fans in concert halls, sports stadium and palaces has recorded an album of dreamy tunes, designed to soothe and calm small children.
Slumberland, inspired by Humphrey’s idyllic Norfolk childhood and by his stints as babysitter, includes Moon River, When You Wish Upon A Star and Brahms’ Lullaby.
“I have a voice that suits that type of music,” says Humphrey, who has been a member of Blake for seven years and staged command performances for celebrities ranging from royals to pop stars. It was a baby called Wilfred who first inspired Humphrey to create an album of lullabies.
“Before Blake started, my cousin gave me a job of being a babysitter for his son,” he explains. “I loved it and partly from that experience realised how much babies respond to music. When Wilfred was making a hell of a racket, music would distract him – anything from me singing a lullaby if he was a bit grumpy or tired, to AC/DC if he was awake and active!”
Humphrey’s niece and nephew, seven-year-old Sophia and five-year-old Lucas, of Hockering, near Dereham, have also helped shape the album. “They are very particular!” he laughs. “I got a full review of the album from them. Lucas’ favourite is Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Sophia liked Lullaby for a Stormy Night.”
Humphrey’s own musical career began early: “Music played a huge part in my life from the very beginning”. The youngest of three children, he too grew up in Hockering, where his mother used to sing him lullabies. He was a church chorister from the age of seven, sang with the National Youth Chamber Choir as a teenager and was awarded a music scholarship to Gresham’s School and then the Royal Academy of Music.
Slumberland has been a family affair from the start. Its dream-like pastel cover, featuring a fox on a swing in a forest, birds perched on a rainbow and a figure fishing the moon from a lake where a sailing ship rests at anchor, was designed and drawn by Humphrey’s wife Charlotte, a fashion designer for Ted Baker. Although the couple live in London they often return to Norfolk and hope to one day bring up a family of their own in the county.
But the lullabies are not just for babies. Humphrey has named his production company Thurba, for the Welsh cliffs where he enjoyed childhood holidays and where his family scattered ashes of his sister. “Everything I do musically is a reminder of Rose,” he says. She killed herself 10 years ago after battling depression, and Humphrey says: “I think part of this album was wanting to do something on my own and in memory of Rose. I remember sitting at the piano and singing Moon River with her.”
One of his own favourite songs on the album is Baby Mine from Dumbo “It’s a very sad moment in the film. I’m a bit of a soft-hearted bloke and always got a bit upset at that point!” he reveals. “It soothes babies but older children seem to really enjoy it. And I think it’s something parents will listen to when the children have gone to bed.”
Today I finally finished unpacking and putting away toiletries/clothing from UK trip ✔ Last jumper/sweater is in the washer…the snowball one. I had SO much fun wearing I didn’t want to wash it…
but I have #memories & #photos 💖
What a difference time and friendships make 💖 😊
In 2014 I used the word terrified when I met #BLAKE. They were like, no!
In 2015 there is only #Happiness 😊
#Blake #StephenBowman #HumphreyBerney #OllieBaines #UK #Concerts #Friendship #Travel #Friends
Meeting and hugging friends for the first time 😊
and Nothing warms the heart like a hug from an old friend 💗
I’m so glad we had this time together,
Just to have a laugh, or sing a song.
There’s a time you put aside for dreamin’,
And a time for things you have to do.
The time I love the best is…
I can spend a moment here with you.
When the time comes that I’m feelin lonely,
And I’m feelin’ ohooooo – so blue,
I just sit back and think of you, only,
And the Happiness still comes through.
That’s why I’m glad we had this time together,
‘Cause it makes me feel like I belong.
Seems we just got started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say, ‘So long.’
BLAKE Blake Passion The Royal Hippodrome Friends Jo Scott The Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Eastbourne #HumphreyBerney #OliverBaines Ollie’s Place #StephenBowman The Official Stephen Bowman Fan Club The BIG Sing Thomas Spencer Fan Page Suzi Musselll and Paula A Fesche-Strelczak
Dame Shirley Bassey will lend her Bond theme singing expertise to vocal trio Blake as they attempt to write a new #Bond#theme.
The 79-year-old singing legend – who recorded the vocals for 1964’s ‘Goldfinger’, 1971’s ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and ‘1979’s ‘Moonraker’ – has never written her own Bond song, but that could be about to change asStephen Bowman from the Brit-Award winning trio has revealed they going to “wrack her brains” to write one.
He exclusively told BANG Showbiz: “Dame Shirley has been in the lucky position of other people giving her fantastic Bond themes so it’s a very different thing, writing one and putting one forward. I know that Dame Shirley always says she feels very privileged to have been the only person to have the number of Bond themes that she’s sung over the years – normally people only get the one chance and there she is three times, so it’s quite unique and she certainly has a lot more knowledge about what makes a good Bond song than anyone else and we’ll be sure to wrack her brains.”
Meanwhile, the ‘Big Spender’ hitmaker will be performing with Blake as a special guest at Henley Festival next month and they plan on surprising her with a few luxurious gifts.
Stephen, 36, added: “We’ve got to know Dame Shirley very well and there are some gifts that she always appreciates – most likely we’ll pop her a really good bottle of rose #champagne, possibly a little bit of #Caviar as well because she does like the finer things and quite deservedly so.”
📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰📰 BLAKE – Secrets of their Success
#GrahamNorton beat me to it. BLAKE Group
Yes yes, I know my place. And anyway, never one to get ahead of myself I’m choosing to view that as a signpost to success and not (honestly, truly – keep saying it) something to be envious of.
Actually, I’d had in mind a feature with vocal harmony group Blake for some time. There was the collaboration with Dame Shirley Bassey and their contention for the #Christmas number 1 spot; their chart-topping debut album which in itself earns them a spot in the annals of music history. Plus they seemed like an interesting bunch of guys – one of those groups you just know are going to have something to say that’s worth listening to. So I did the usual and dropped a line to their wonderful media agent to set up an interview.
And then do you know what? Over a beer or two in front of the telly one Friday night in December, who should troop onto Graham’s red sofa but Humphrey, Stephen and #Ollie. Oh and Dame Shirley. Suddenly I’m playing second fiddle to Mr Norton and I’ll tell you what else. I’ve got two-thirds to his whole because while Ollie deemed it worthy of answering the call of the BBC – whoever they are – he felt unable to make it for me. Fine.
Seriously though, I’m okay with it. You see before I hammered out my first article for this site, my aim was to feature a guest list that wouldn’t be out of place on the prestigious couches of any of the leading chat shows. Once I’d hosted the likes of sports stars Sir Steve Redgrave and Lizzy Yarnold, internationally acclaimed authors Tess Gerritsen and Dean Koontz, and more, I began to realise I was on to something. So reverse polarity here and you’ll see what I mean about that signpost. If Graham’s entertaining their company, and so am I – well that’s not too shabby is it? Even if he did secure the full compliment..
Alright, alright I’ll get over it. Anyway Ollie’s absence aside, it’s revealing to chat to the other two thirds of Blake: #StephenBowman and #HumphreyBerney.
“We’ve had a pretty crazy time these last ten years,” Stephen begins when I ask about the high points of being part of a chart-topping, award-winning music act. “But my favourite moment of all was making our way up the ramp to the stage at the Royal Albert Hall to receive our #Brit #Award in 2008; it’s now in Ollie’s bathroom!”
Ollie…? Sorry, I don’t know the man.
In case you’ve been in a sealed mine shaft for the past few months, you might not have noticed #Blake’s festive collaboration with Dame Shirley Bassey. Appropriately and, actually, rather originally named, ‘The Christmas Song’, the single was released in support of children’s #charity Variety, an organisation #Blake has been involved with for some time now.
“We were introduced to Variety, the Children’s Charity by Caroline Monk, their celebrity relations manager,” Stephen explains. “We were asked to sing for one of their #fundraising events back in 2009. That night we met the incredibly brave and positive youngsters that the charity helps. We all felt we would like to do a lot more to help Variety from that point. Since then I think we’ve sung at twenty or so events, both for fundraising and to the children directly. We will continue to help them in any way we can.”
And getting to work with Dame Shirley?
“It has been quite amazing working with Dame Shirley,” Humphrey explains. “The relationship first formed eight years ago when Blake performed at her 70th birthday. Fast forward to this summer and we met Dame Shirley at Variety the childrens charity 70th birthday party. We were attending as we are ambassadors and Dame Shirley was guest of honour. We had a great catch up and mentioned we were making a Christmas album. She said she had always wanted to record a Christmas album and had never done so in her 60 year career! We asked to join us on ours, she said yes and the rest is history!”
So that’s it – that’s the secret to success in the music industry. Easy eh?
Not quite, says Stephen. “Life goals are by their very nature long won, and will evolve over time. Being in the music industry requires a steady head and a thick skin, there will be false starts and setbacks aplenty, but like so many other things in life: you have to be in it to win it!”
And speaking to the band’s newest member Humphrey, it’s clear that while waiting for your ship to come in is one thing, it sure helps to build a harbour first.
“I had been working in the music business for a couple of years before Blake formed so naturally I took notice when it was announced in the press. I had been recording with #HayleyWestenra and Blake’s first producer, plus seen them perform at the rugby at #Twickenham, so there were quite a few links. When the opportunity arose I contacted the group and said I would love to join. I instantly knew I would get on with the guys and musically/vocally it was a good fit so thankfully I was asked to join. It’s been a great journey.”
Speaking of musical evolution, I heard that Stephen has a layer or two of rock in his singing strata?
“It’s true that classical music wasn’t my first love. As a teenager I far preferred rock, pop and blues music, which I sang with bands and wrote in my spare time. I got into classical music quite late; the structure and grandeur of it fascinated me, but not the pompous world that surrounded it. I get the best of both worlds now, singing contemporary songs in unusual harmony arrangements, sometimes backed by full orchestra. I still record and write contemporary songs in my spare time and it may be something I return to in the future too.”
So we’ll be watching this space, even though I can’t figure out where in the schedule any of the band will find time to expand their genre. Life for such world-renowned performers is, as you might imagine, hectic.
“One day we are on tour in the UK,” Humphrey agrees, “the next recording, the next doing promo, the next flying to some far off country, the next walking along the Thames path with my dog or up in Norfolk.”
Not that he’d have it any other way.
“I love that variety. The idea of a normal day makes me feel anxious!”
In the course of my research I’ve discovered that like me, Stephen is keen on winter sports but my skiing and snowboarding skills display some margin for improvement, what with the lack of time to practise. So how on earth does he find the balance?
“We’ve always tried to get a balance between work and private time, although as performers we do tend to put career first because the window for opportunity in showbiz is limited by age, looks and energy levels! One of my favourite pastimes is riding #motorbikes, which thankfully fits in with work quite well; I often ride to our UK tour shows. As for #skiing, I adore it, but getting a week off can be tricky when countries overseas are trying to book us for tours and album promotion at most points in the year. Ultimately the only way to be assured of group time off is to book holidays together, at least six months ahead.”
Humphrey, too, seems to have taken the philosophical view on professional achievements versus leisure time.
“I’m now 35 and I think success changes with age. I am very happily married, I have a dog called Claude who is awesome and I sing for a living, so all is good! Achieving a balance is so important and often so hard. Financial stability is important and I have been an out of work singer so I know what it can be like. For me, success is happiness and that is different for everyone. I feel that I have achieved that at the moment. The balance is great and I am very aware as a musician/singer how fortunate I am to travel and perform in amazing places with wonderful people. Money is not success if you don’t enjoy the process of making it and you have to sacrifice too much to get it.”
So what’s the recipe for guaranteed celebrity status (yes, including an appearance on the The Graham Norton Show) as well as a happy marriage and an awesome dog?
“Be ready for a roller coaster of emotion and hard work. There will be so many opportunities to choose the easy path and that will often be appealing. If you desperately want something then fight for it (but be realistic – if you have a bad voice you probably won’t be a successful singer even though there are a few who have managed it!) My sister died ten years ago and it confirmed to me life is too short to settle for something you don’t want to do or does not make you happy.”
And to contribute my own two-pence worth: recognise that moment when there’s nothing more to add, and stop writing.
My grateful thanks to Humphrey and Stephen and also to Sara French of Republic Media for her assistance in arranging this #interview.
You can find out more about Blake (including some chap called #Ollie who has something to do with the group) and their upcoming tours at http://www.blakeofficial.com
They can be found on #Twitter at @TheBandBlake and #Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thebandblake/
Posted on February 22, 2016 by #MattKruze
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Rebecca Ferguson, Blake and DJ Judge Jules will perform at this year’s British Heart Foundation’s Roll Out the Red fundraising ball on February 11.
The trio will line-up at star-studded bash at London’s Savoy Hotel on February 11 to raise money for the charity’s life-saving heart research.
Former ‘X Factor’ finalist Rebecca will headline the evening’s entertainment, followed by the classical, all-male singing quartet Blake and a performance from DUO, featuring British Opera star Emily Estelle and award-winning pianist Marina Lieberman.
International DJ Judge Jules will close the event.
Rebecca said of her headline slot: ”I’m thrilled to be performing at the Roll Out the Red ball this year and supporting the BHF’s life saving work.
”It’s fantastic to be a part of this unforgettable night as every pound raised will bring us one step closer to beating heart disease.”
Stephen Bowman, lead singer of Blake, added: ”We are absolutely delighted to be supporting Roll Out the Red and performing on the night.
”The British Heart Foundation is such a fantastic charity and we are so pleased to be helping their fight against coronary heart disease, the UK’s single biggest killer.”
The glitzy do will be hosted by newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky and will include a welcome speech by BHF Ambassador Pippa Middleton.
Last year’s event featured VIP guests including Pippa, Michelle Keegan and Oliver Proudlock.
British 3 piece vocal collective, Blake have been a busy band over the past few months. Having ended a hugely successful tour of the UK which closed off 2015, the band have also released a collection of festive covers to add to their growing catalogue. Titled A Classic Christmas, Blake have plucked the creme of the Christmas song crop to form the collection of classics, reimagined by the popular threesome and have also invited musical royalty into the record with Dame Shirley Bassey being invited to duet on the album centrepiece, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).
With demand from fans to see the band like at an all time high, we caught up with Blake in the middle of their current tour of the UK to discuss the recently released collection and the bands impressive career to date. Here is what they had to tell us…
Brendon Veevers: How are you guys?
Blake: We’re all very well thank you. We have just arrived back from China where we were filming for a TV station in Beijing which will be broadcast during the Chinese New Year. It was amazing.Wwe love traveling the world and are so lucky to get the opportunity to visit so many incredible places.
BV: The festive season may now be over but you recently released a brand new festive collection called Christmas Classics. What led you to decide to record a Christmas album?
Blake: We have always had a few Christmas favourites in our repertoire and we had spoken about it for some time – it just seemed like the right time.
BV: With so many songs regarded as Christmas classics, how did you finally decide on those that would feature on the record?
Blake: We had many meetings and discussions throughout the early part of 2015. We all had our long-lists, then our short-lists and then we rehearsed each song a few times with different ideas to see which tracks worked best with our harmonies.
BV: The record features a collaboration with Dame Shirley Bassey. How did that collaboration come about? How did you find the experience of working with the living legend?
Blake: It has been extraordinary working with Dame Shirley. The relationship first formed 8 years ago when Blake performed at her 70th birthday. This summer we were at Variety’s – the children’s charity 70th birthday party – and we were lucky enough to meet Dame Shirley again. We were attending as we are ambassadors and Dame Shirley was guest of honour. We had a great catch up and mentioned we were making a Christmas album. She said she had always wanted to record a Christmas and had never done so in her 60 year career! We asked to join us on ours, she said yes and the rest is history!
BV: What is the groups personal favourite Christmas songs?
Stephen: It’s changes all the time as with a lot of my musical taste but this year it had to be The Christmas Song. Ollie: I always favour the Christmas classics so I would probably settle on In The Bleak Midwinter. Humphrey: Who doesn’t love White Christmas?
BV: You have toured all over the world: are there any places that you particularly love to perform?
Blake: We all love traveling and adore the places we get to go. None of us could favour one of the other as they all have such great memories. There are many places we would still like to go though! Japan would be top of that list.
BV: What is your favourite show out of all of those you have played?
Blake: Again this is too tough to choose – although we have to say playing outdoors at the proms style concerts are enormous fun (particularly if it’s sunny!).
BV: Say you’re not recording, not touring… do you all hang out together?
Blake: We all live close to each other so from time to time we’ll get together for dinner or to throw some ideas around. We do all have our own families and friends though!
BV: What would you say your greatest musical accomplishment to date has been?
Blake: Without a doubt singing with the great Dame Shirley Bassey.
BV: What would you say has been the best part of Blake’s journey so far?
Blake: These last 12 months have been an enormous learning curve for us all. For the first time we have chosen, recorded, produced and promoted our album without the support of an outside record label and this has been the most exciting thing we have done to date. But we look forward to many more exciting projects in the future.
BV: Are there any plans in the pipelines to tour in 2016?
Blake: We have a UK tour planned this year already with more dates being booked all the time. We have already been to China, are due to go back in the Autumn and have a few other overseas concerts being negotiated now. See www.blakeofficial.com for more details.
BV: What else is on the Blake calendar for fans to look out for?
Blake: We have three outdoor concerts already booked in the summer, an even bigger Christmas tour for Christmas 2016 and a full tour of the UK throughout the year.
BV: Tell me something you’ve never told an interviewer before.
Blake: When Fredric Baur the inventor of Pringles passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in a Pringles tube!
I love seeing these words…makes me #SoHappy 😊
BLAKE ‘s show at Chelmsford Theatres is #SoldOut
Happy to announce that our tour show this weekend at @ChelmsTheatres has now SOLD OUT, we do love a packed theatre! Bring on the craziness!” The Civic Theatre January 31, 2016
Dinner and a BLAKE Show 😊
Don’t miss out on the original #BritAward winning vocal group #BLAKE, back on tour in the #UK with a highly anticipated new show. Mixing pop, classical & musicals in one thrilling night, linked together with hilarious banter and beautiful video projections, this is entertainment at its finest.
Friday 29 January 2016 The Concorde Club
Doors Open 7pm
1st Set 9pm
2nd Set 10.20pm http://www.theconcordeclub.com/events/blake-january-2016/
#LIVE with Blake http://www.blakeofficial.com/live/
Brit-Award winning #harmonisers