competition

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Ten months into my New Year resolution to listen to more new and varied types of music and I have to admit that for October, I have cheated a bit – the music I’ve chosen this month is not new to me.  However, she’s been out of the limelight for a while and delightfully, I discovered a new EP from her when I researched this piece.

Emilia Mitiku first came to the attention of Alfie Boe fans, myself included, when she supported Alfie on his Storyteller tour in March / April 2013. She was heavily pregnant at the time and this gave way to an unexpectedly hilarious moment when Alfie introduced her, before their duet on Dimming of the Day.  Emilia also duetted with Alfie on Angel from Montgomery on that tour.

This version of Dimming of the Day is my favourite and is often chosen as one of fans’ six sensational songs.  I’m still not sure how I managed to leave it out of mine!

Emilia has released several albums but the one I’m concentrating on, and is probably most familiar to Alfie fans is 2012’s I Belong To You, a collection of what Emilia calls vintage pop.  A mixture of pop, overlaid with jazz and country sounds, the album showcases Emilia’s rich, velvety voice in a number of styles, all of which reflect the jazz, pop and traditional Ethiopian music she grew up with. The first song I ever heard from Emilia reminded me of Dolly Parton:

The subject matter of heartbreak and the country lilt of the music show Emilia’s mastery of styles, especially when compared to the upbeat, sparkling So Wonderful:

One song from this time that didn’t appear on I Belong To You, is Why Is He So Mean?

This was a highlight of Emilia’s live performances in 2013 and quickly became a favourite with the mostly female Alfie Boe audience, as only catchy, rhythmic songs about women surviving relationships can!  It’s impossible to sit still and listen to this – before you know it you’re up and dancing, whilst also singing at the top of your voice.

As I mentioned earlier, I was overjoyed to find new music from Emilia when researching this piece.  Blue, Blue, Blue, a four track EP was released in late 2017 and is pure, vintage Emilia Mitiku, stylistically similar to I Belong To You. Opening with a slow, silky cover of Rihanna’s We Found Love, the EP gets into it’s stride with the title track:

Upbeat, with a catchy hook, this is another song you’ll be quickly singing and dancing along to.  “Blue, blue, blue, that’s what I learnt from you” appears to take up where I Belong To You left off and is all the more welcome for it.  I would be happy if Emilia made this sort of music forever.

When Our Roads Cross and Forgetful Lover hark back to another era of music, reminiscent of Alfie’s forthcoming album, As Time Goes By – I would love to hear Alfie’s voice sing some of Emilia’s songs.  This record is so smooth and silky, it was over far too quickly; I hope 2019 sees more new music from Emilia Mitiku.

Blue, Blue, Blue is available here:

I have one copy of Emilia’s album, I Belong To You, to give away, just answer this question:

Which two songs did Emilia sing with Alfie Boe on his 2013 Storyteller tour?

Competition will close at Midnight on 7 November 2018 – good luck!

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It’s been a while since we had a competition here at thoughtsofjustafan so to celebrate the new album, let’s look back at an old one, from 2012 and Storyteller.

I have a selection of Storyteller goodies to give away, including a scarf, 4 signed programmes, 2 DVDs (UK) and a signed poster:

To win one of these bundles, all you have to do is answer the question below:

Which cities has Alfie performed live at in 2018?

Competition is now closed.

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Last week, I brought you a review of Timeless, the new album from musical legend Dave Willetts and gave you the opportunity to win a copy by answering the question

Which West End show did Dave Willetts star in after Les Mis?

The answer is of course Phantom of the Opera and the lucky winner is

Bronwyn Wilson – click here to send your address

Those of you not lucky enough to win, the album is released on 2 February and is available to pre-order:

Timeless is a collection of songs that are exactly that; timeless.  Encompassing popular standards and songs from musical theatre, the album feels full of choices personal to Willetts and needless to say, they show off his vocal range and versatility to perfection.  This is a singer who through his vast acting experience, is able to convey warmth, tenderness, fun, pathos whilst also projecting enormous vocal power.

My favourite tracks are those from musical theatre, particularly I Dreamed You and This Is The Moment, from Tony Rees and Gary Young’s Jekyll and the Broadway production Jekyll and Hyde, respectively.  Willetts has worked with both shows and when I spoke to him in 2015, he was involved in writing the book for a further musical based on the Jekyll and Hyde story, The Man Inside, which has since had it’s premiere, Willetts of course taking the lead.

The majority of the other tracks are not from musicals and are such an eclectic mix that you have no option but to believe that these are personal choices.  Fun is the word that springs to mind when listening to You Took The Words Right Out and San Francisco Bay Blues – they would be great to listen to live.  Tears in Heaven and Smile allow Willetts to show his tender side while Bridge Over Troubled Water lets that rich tenor soar.  Leaving all this aside, the song I’ve taken away from this album is a duet, with Lara J West, on I Swear, a massive 1990’s hit for All4One.  As soon as you hear it, you’ll know it, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll love it.

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At the beginning of the month, indeed in my very first 2018 post, I offered fans the chance to win one of four Alfie Boe and Michael Ball Together Again goodie bags, featuring a signed programme as well as other exciting things.

The question I asked was:

Which countries did Alfie and Michael perform in, in 2017?

The answer was UK, USA and Australia (or three countries total, although those who gave England, Scotland and Wales separately were included in the correct entries).

Without further ado, the winners are:

Kathryn Richards

Ann Wickens

Valerie Fish

Elaine Roberts

Please click here to send me your postal address.

To celebrate, let’s have a look at the updated gallery (click on the image) – many thanks to Linda Wellington:

Leeds 2017

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For fans of musical theatre, the name Dave Willetts is synonymous with the West End.  Over a career spanning more than thirty years, Willetts has appeared in many shows, including the lead in Les Mis and Phantom of the Opera.  He continues to perform in musicals around the UK and as befits an actor who was part of the original Les Mis production at the Barbican (understudy to Colm Wilkinson), Willetts more often than not, chooses to work with new musical projects.

Alongside this illustrious stage career, Willetts has also enjoyed success with a number of albums.  One such offering is Timeless, an album first recorded a while ago but only now finding it’s way into the mainstream, which for fans of rich, tenor voices and musical theatre alike, is nothing short of miraculous.  After all, we don’t often get the chance to hear new material from such a seasoned actor and singer.

I described Willetts as an actor and singer in that order as it happens to be the way he described himself when I interviewed him back in 2015 when we talked about Dave Willetts as Jean Valjean.  For him, this is the crucial distinction when performing in a musical.  It is somewhat of a surprise then to find that his back story has more in common with Alfie Boe than Michael Ball. Like Alfie, Willetts has a non performance background, working in engineering as a day job and relaxing through the medium of amateur productions. While performing in Charlie and Algernon at the Priory Theatre in the Midlands, Willetts was spotted by the art director of the Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre and after a successful audition, became a professional actor, with a first role in the chorus of Annie. Twelve months later he was in the West End with Les Mis and the rest, as they say, is history.

Timeless is a collection of songs that are exactly that; timeless.  Encompassing popular standards and songs from musical theatre, the album feels full of choices personal to Willetts and needless to say, they show off his vocal range and versatility to perfection.  This is a singer who through his vast acting experience, is able to convey warmth, tenderness, fun, pathos whilst also projecting enormous vocal power.

My favourite tracks are those from musical theatre, particularly I Dreamed You and This Is The Moment, from Tony Rees and Gary Young’s Jekyll and the Broadway production Jekyll and Hyde, respectively.  Willetts has worked with both shows and when I spoke to him in 2015, he was involved in writing the book for a further musical based on the Jekyll and Hyde story, The Man Inside, which has since had it’s premiere, Willetts of course taking the lead.

The majority of the other tracks are not from musicals and are such an eclectic mix that you have no option but to believe that these are personal choices.  Fun is the word that springs to mind when listening to You Took The Words Right Out and San Francisco Bay Blues – they would be great to listen to live.  Tears in Heaven and Smile allow Willetts to show his tender side while Bridge Over Troubled Water lets that rich tenor soar.  Leaving all this aside, the song I’ve taken away from this album is a duet, with Lara J West, on I Swear, a massive 1990’s hit for All4One.  As soon as you hear it, you’ll know it, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll love it.

Timeless is released on 2 February and is available for pre-order:

If you can’t wait that long, I have a copy to give away!  Just answer the following question – competition closes at Midnight on Sunday 21 January.

Which West End show did Dave Willetts star in after Les Mis?

This competition is now closed.

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xx

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

It’s the beginning of another exciting new year for Alfie and here at thoughtofjustafan, we’re starting off in the best way possible –  it’s competition time!

I have four Together Again tour goodie bags to give away which contain the following:
BB card holder / wallet
BB VIP bag
BB tour lanyard
BB programme signed by both Alfie and Michael

To win these goodie bags all you have to do is answer the following question*:

In which countries did Alfie and Michael perform in,  in 2017?

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With less than three weeks to go until Alfie Boe and Michael Ball start their Together Again 2017 tour, I’m on the hunt for concert reviewers.  Last year, Cecelia Powell, Samantha Davis, Heather Crosskey, Heather Moore, Carole Hunt, Roberta Kappus, Christine Firby and Barbara Wren wrote some wonderful reviews and I’m hoping that there will be some more guest reviewers out there this year.

If you would like to review a concert on the Together Again Tour, please fill in the form with a mini review of the album and I’ll notify the winners at the end of next week:

Click here to see some of the reviews from 2016.

Last week I gave you the opportunity to win a signed CD / DVD deluxe Together Again album and I asked you which Disney songs were included on the album.  Sixty of you knew that He Lives In You and Evermore were Disney songs, as well as Once Upon A December from Anastasia (although as Anastasia is a bonus track, I did take answers that just included Lion King and Beauty and the Beast).

I’m delighted to say that the random number generated belongs to Sue Ashton – well done Sue!

Also, the winner of the Elizabeth Marvelly album on which Alfie duetted on Stranger in Paradise is Vehbiye Yoncu – well done!

Sue and Vehbiye, please click here to send me your contact details.

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Three weeks left until the 2017 Together Tour starts and excitement is almost reaching fever pitch levels.  Cardiff at the end of this month sees the first tour date and it’s safe to say that fans can’t wait.

Before then, however, we have the last three songs in the Alfie Boe Best Live Song poll and number three is a song that has featured twice before, once at number one and last year at number two:

This was of course at Gary Barlow’s BBC New Year’s Eve show in 2013 and astonishingly in this digital age, was kept a complete secret until Alfie leapt onto the stage.  Since then, it has been one of Alfie’s most popular live songs, as seen by it’s consistent presence in the live song polls.  Why is this?  Well, my theory is that as well as being totally unexpected, Alfie is so clearly having a fabulous time – it’s a joyous performance and one that you can’t listen to without smiling and dancing.

The thing is, it’s not just Alfie fans that think this about Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now – science thinks it too.  In 2016, neuroscientists from the University of Missouri published data about what makes a song happy and as the answers were all about upbeat tempo, the song that was chosen as the happiest, in seventy per cent of choices, was Don’t Stop Me Now.  Let’s see the song with Adam Lambert and Queen:

Have you entered the competition to win a signed Together Again deluxe album?  Click here – entries close this Friday.

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Alfie Boe and Michael Ball’s new album debuted at the top of the album charts in the first week of release and in case you haven’t got your copy yet (what are you waiting for???) or didn’t manage to get a signed copy, here at thoughtsofjustafan we have one to give away. It’s the deluxe version which includes the DVD of the first Ball and Boe ITV special (it’s region specific to the UK, unfortunately) and was signed by the boys at HMV Oxford Street.  To win, just answer the question:

Which Disney songs appear on Together Again?

Fill in the form to enter*

Here’s one of my favourite tracks from the album:

If you want to see some excited fans at the Oxford Street signing, click here!

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It seems ages ago now but Classic Quadrophenia in the US has finished and so has our competition to win four programmes signed by Alfie – yes, you’re right in that the original post said three, but another one came back to the UK with Annie.  Thanks so much to Roberta, Cecelia and Annie for getting Alfie to sign them and to Linda A for passing the last one from A to B.

With further ado, the winners are:

Angie Pells

Kate Devaney

Diane Lilga

Jennifer Parr

Well done ladies, please send me your address via the contact page – click here.

Alfie and Michael yesterday released a video of Maria as part of the West Side Story Medley from Together Again:

Wonder if this will be their song on Strictly this year?  No idea if they will appear but it’s a great slot for autumn album releases and they already have their dancing set up!

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