Dan and Laura Curtis: Overture

If you love a good musical tune or two then this is the post for you.  Welsh musical maestros Dan and Laura Curtis are shortly to release a double album of original musical songs – ‘act’ one and ‘act’ two, if you like, of a complete musical theatre experience.  Filled with classic sounding tunes, mixed in with more contemporary jazz-pop songs along the way, Overture makes sure there’s something for all lovers of all musical theatre styles.

I recently interviewed Dan and Laura about Overture and asked why they wanted to write and produce a double or concert length album.  Laura said that musical theatre cast recordings have a very profound meaning for her as “it’s the closest thing to seeing a live show”.  Laura went onto explain that Overture was “inspired by our trip to New York, we love Broadway and we wanted to explore a musicals themed album that transcended genres yet where each song was related”.  Each song flows seamlessly into the next and with an overture at the beginning of each ‘act’, Overture the album would be a perfect concert to stage.  Laura implied that her and Dan would be interested in that but not yet – they’re about to start working intensively on a big project that must, for the time being, remain hush hush.

Now you would think that an album of twenty five songs would take a long time to write and when I asked Dan the question (in case you’re wondering, Laura and Dan both did the interview but as separate times), he said that it took about a year from start to finish.  Bearing in mind that they not only write the music they also record and produce everything too, that doesn’t seem like a very long time.  However, the more interesting thing for me was the revelation that most of the songs were only written after they had agreed who was to appear on the album, as Dan explains: “We’re inspired by people and voices, not ideas.  Although I do write bits of melodies, it’s much easier to write songs for particular voices.  Our songs are notoriously hard to sing, vocal acrobatics and the best of Broadway can do them justice”.  This approach means that the singers and songs are suited down to the ground:

My favourite songs on the album are Playing Games, sung by Matt Doyle and Keep Dancin’ On with Emmanuel Kojo.  Perfect storytelling to accompany the music but the stand out track for me, both vocally and dramatically is Natalie Weiss on When The Curtain Falls.  A look behind the glitz and glamour of the music business, these lyrics sum it up:

“When the playbill’s gone and your ego’s died, how you gonna feel… when nobody cares who you are any more”

Although Dan and Laura have already worked with some of the leading lights of Broadway and the West End, they don’t pull any punches when asked who they would like to write for and record with in the future; Audra McDonald, Seth McFarlane, Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Groban, Michael Ball and of course Alfie Boe are the names mentioned.  If the calibre of songs is as high as those on Overture, Dan and Laura should have no problem.

Overture will be released on 24 October.

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