Thursday, 28 June 2012

Blog 102! A whole lotta West End Live!!!

Hi Everyone

How you all doing on this fine Thursday?

Hope you've had a good week since my last blog. Mine has been busy to say the least - but then most weeks are, eh?!

Last Friday I woke and had to head to do a live radio interview for the Curtain Up Show which is on Resonance FM, which is a new theatre radio programme hosted by Tim McArthur and Nathan Matthews. I was one of two guests for the hour long programme, the other guest being Raza Jaffrey who is currently playing Billy Flynn in Chicago but is probably most recognisable from his new TV show Smash which is a US series that aired here for the first time a few weeks back.
It was a fun show to do and we actually had a lot in common as the two guests - Raza was in Bombay Dreams the musical at the Apollo Victoria Theatre (where Wicked is now) and he sang the song The Journey Home, and the first time I heard it was when I was a dancer for the Royal Variety Performance in 2006 and Raza performed as part of the Bombay Dreams section and from that moment I loved the song The Journey Home and that's how it ended up being on my album as the title track.

After the radio programme was done I had to shoot straight over to Trafalgar Square to do a sound check for my set of three songs for West End Live on Sunday and then had to stick around to sound check for the number we were doing from Ghost on the Saturday.

Sound checking was fine and then I headed to physio before grabbing food and then doing the show! Needless to say I slept well on Friday night!

Saturday was an early call as we needed to be at the theatre by 11.15am to get into costume and head down to West End Live.
For those of you who don't know what West End Live is, it's an event hosted on a temporary stage in Trafalgar Square where each west end musical performs a song or a section from the show as well as other acts and groups and entertainment and it is all for free. It's an incredible opportunity to see what is happening in the west end without having to pay to see a show. 

On Saturday by the the time we had arrived the event they had sealed off the entrances to the public as they had exceeded the maximum capacity of Trafalgar Square for that particular event which was 100,000 people. SOoneedless to say it was a great crowd and we had a wonderful reaction from everyone and the atmosphere was amazing.

After that, we went straight to the theatre to do warm up for the matinee. Between the two shows I went with one of the guys from the cast to a restaurant called Vapianos which is an incredible italian near Oxford Street. We ate amazing food and then went back to the theatre for the evening show, for which I had somehow found a reserve of energy somewhere because I was hyper for the entire evening.

After work I gave my mate a lift round to his friends house - so that I had an excuse to pass Dominos pizza on my way back and treated myself to a large Mighty Meaty all to myself! Yum!

Sunday I woke up and gradually warmed up my voice before heading into town to meet my manager ready for West End Live day 2. This time I was performing songs from my album. It was nice to be doing it as me instead of in character because that way you can actually interact with the amazing audience instead of just acting the role your playing.

Louise Dearman was on stage directly before me which was great because she is wonderful with an audience so the crowd were in very good spirits by the time I was on. For everyone of you who were there over the weekend I want to thank you immensely for being so incredibly supportive. It was really great to be able to do a gig of my album music in Trafalgar Square and have a proper festival type audience because it's been a while since I've had time to do those sorts of gigs and I miss it.

I started with The Journey Home which was great as everyone joined in, then I did the acoustic version of my album track Brand New You which was fun to sing in the sun. I then invited my great friend and duet partner from the album, Ashleigh Gray onto the stage as a surprise special guest to sing the popular song Alive from my album. 
It's a tough song to sing and granted we made a couple of lyric errors between us but we had fun and it was great to be singing on stage together again.

After the performance, myself, Louise Dearman and Alex Gaumond (who was performing after me) sat in a designated signing area for two hours signing peoples CD's and flyers etc and meeting lots of lovely people for photographs.

By the time I got home it was nearly 7pm and I was shattered. I got into some comfy clothes, met my mate and went for a long walk with him and his dog in the local park so that I felt like I was doing something that felt like a day off! 

I bought a bottle of wine on the way home to enjoy with a movie but after 7 minuets of the film and two and a bit gulps of wine I was flat out asleep on my sofa and then peeled myself off to go to bed and get a good sleep.

I woke on Monday and headed into town to do a couple of hours in the gym before going to work. I was still a little tired after the weekend but was geared up for the show and I enjoyed it.

After the show on Monday I drove to do a big food shop (it's always better at night, cos it's quiet) then slept like a baby before getting up on Tuesday to do lots of work on my summer school and then a good 50 lengths of the pool and a steam before meeting my mate Hollie for a coffee and something to eat! 

Tuesday night's show was great, the audience were amazing. Really enjoyed it.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I decided I was bored of carrying my laptop, iphone and work diary with me everywhere so after a swim in the gym I went to the Apple Store to buy myself an iPad 2 and I already don't know how I lived without one before. It's going to be a lot easier to keep on top of my manic schedule and busy life routine with my iPad with me everywhere! Woohoo!

After buying it I met some mates from Rock Of Ages before heading to do the show - which was a VERY sweaty one! It has been super humid recently and it makes the show a lot harder and wetter. So once I got home, a much needed shower freshened me up before a good sleep, which brings me to the here and now!

Good times!

I'm off to probably have a swim before the matinee. Have a great week everyone, and thanks once again to all of you who came to support at West End Live -  you're all amazing.

If you live in North Wales head on down to the Pavilion Theatre this Sunday to see the show 'Born To Entertain'. I'll be doing a song or two from my album and then doing the only signing of my album in North Wales ever.

Keep believing! 



Thursday, 21 June 2012

BLOG 101! Meetings and onion walks!

Hi Everyone,

Happy Thursday, Happy blog day, Happy rain day!

Dunno what it's like where you are but the weather is trying to be as dull as possible here today!!! Not gonna effect me though, I've woken up this morning feeling energised and ready for a good two show day!

This week has been an interesting one, probably more for me than for you as readers (sorry about that) - it basically involved a lot of me walking and having time to think.

I'll start, as always with the end of last week. Thursday evening I went to the gig at Alley Cat Club where I was suppose to be singing a couple of album songs and a duet with the wonderful Louise Dearman, but I had decided during the interval of the second show of Ghost that my voice was too tired (cos I had a hideous cold at the end of last week!) so I would just go there for a chat on stage and possibly sing the duet with Louise, which is what we did. It was a nice night, the atmosphere at those 'After Show' gigs is great, they are on the second Thursday of every month, so if you can make it one week it's definitely worth a visit! 

After I sung I more or less headed to get the last train home.

Friday morning I woke up and my voice hated me so I tried to chill out as much as possible and steamed like a demon then headed for a vocal massage with my AMAZING physio Fabi! He is so good at his job and he is a massive help when playing a role this vocally demanding!

After seeing him I met my friend Nathan who was helping me work on some material for a few meetings I had over the weekend which were very important. I then had to go with a couple of Ghost peeps to do a sound check for a gig that night.

I was not performing in the show on Friday night because there was a massive awards ceremony called the world travel awards on the south bank of London which Ghost had sponsored, so Rebecca, who understudies Molly, and I were asked to perform a couple of numbers from the show during their ceremony. 

So we headed to sound check in the beautiful hotel and then went back to the theatre and actually ended up going out to watch the first act of the show as we didn't need to leave until 8.45pm - it was the first time I had watched any of Ghost since October when I went to see it 4 days after getting the job offer. It was an overwhelming reminder of what an incredible show it is! When you're in a show you don't see all the stuff that happens around you and the technical elements of Ghost are even better than I remembered them from all those months ago! It reminded me why I called my agent last year and told him that "I HAVE TO DO GHOST!" and I felt proud to be a part of such a great show!

The gig that night went really well, they were a lovely crowd of people to perform to - they even got up and danced on the dance floor while we sung Unchained Melody - and we were very well looked after.

I got a car home and attached myself to my steamer immediately and then got a good night's sleep.

I woke up ready and raring to go for my album signing on Saturday but my voice was unfortunately not quite as happy to be used and abused by Sam Wheat that day, I called my physio and he told me not to perform and to head home and rest straight after my album signing. Which is what I did. 
Thank you so much to all of you who came along to Dress Circle in Covent Garden for the signing. It was great to meet you all and I really hope you all enjoy listening to the album and the single of Unchained Melody. I was sat there for an hour and kept busy chatting and signing the whole time so thanks for making it a good turn out folks!

Saturday I spent the day chilling and working on the material for my meetings (mentally working on them and not vocally cos I wasn't able to speak which was frustrating!) and by the evening I cooked myself a bolognese, then after a short walk to clear my head before bed, I got to sleep.

I randomly woke at 5.15am on Sunday and felt fresh as a daisy and naturally wide awake, so I just thought I'd get up and go for a walk instead of trying to force myself back to sleep. It was a beautiful day and I left the house at 6am and walked around and sat in different parks and gardens until I returned home at 8.30am (public gardens of course, I didn't just sit on someone's front lawn while they watched me out of the kitchen window!) ha - It was the perfect thing to do before an important meeting to give me time to clear my head and focus. I always carry and pen and paper when I go for a walk to write things down which helps get it out of my head. This all sounds really dramatic but you all know by now that I am a positive thinker and so I have certain things I do to keep me thinking positive and calm when it comes to dealing with really important moments which would usually involve a lot of pressure and nerves! 

My friend Callum says that I am like an onion because I'm so 'deep' and 'have a lot of layers' and so I decided to call those types of long pensive walks 'an onion walk' - so once I'd returned from my onion walk I casually got ready to leave the house to go to my meeting and then got on the train.

It went really well and once I'd come out I just headed home to chill and then later on got in the car with my mate Callum and I drove him to the park that I went to in Crystal Palace (which is near by but I'd never been there, even though I've lived in the area for 6 years) because it had a 'dinosaur park' and I was intrigued and wanted to show him the benefits of an onion walk after all his constant mocking! haha.

We then had a Sunday roast then I dropped him home before I got and early night ready for another big meeting the next day.

I woke early again on Monday and after working on some material for the meeting I headed on the train into town, but when I got to London Bridge I realised I had more than two hours before I needed to be at my physio appointment for my vocal massage so I decided to do another onion walk along the Thames from LondonBridge to Embankment then up to the theatre to grab my swimming stuff and do a few lengths and have a steam! I have realised that although I am always manically busy, I think I function better by having an hour less sleep in the morning and just being able to slowly get ready for the day ahead! Are any of you like that?! 

Anyway, after my physio appointment I went to my meeting which went very well and then had a coffee with a friend before heading to work to rehearse our number that we're performing at West End Live this Saturday. After the rehearsal I had a big dinner and then did the show! It was nice to be back at work after having Saturday off! 

Monday was also the release day of my new album THE JOURNEY HOME - DELUXE ENGLISH EDITION. I cannot thank you enough for all the amazing messages and letters and cards and tweets and emails I've received. I'm delighted you enjoy listening to it and the best thing about it is that the song choices I made have seemed to inspire you and make you all very positive which was exactly why they were chosen to go on there! Thank you very much!

I woke on Tuesday morning and had to go for yet ANOTHER meeting so I popped for a swim and a steam before hand and then went along to my appointment. I will be telling you what the meetings were for very soon but for now I'm unable to be specific. It's all very exciting though.

After that I basically went to my dressing room to sleep and chill the bloody hell out after so much prep work for meetings! (and a hell of a lot of walking onion style!)

After Tuesday night's show I went home and slept until I couldn't sleep no more!

Yesterday was a good day, the sun was shining I chilled at home and did a lot of work on my summer school and then headed for food with a mate before going to work and doing the show which was great last night, lovely crowd of people in the audience!

And that beings me up to date. I have many things to announce soon but nothing is confirmed yet. As you all know we finish in Ghost on October 6th,  and although I will be having the BIGGEST holiday possible at that point (which is yet to be arranged) I will also be doing lots of gigs and concerts especially on the run up to Christmas so I'll keep you all updated and announce everything I can once it's all confirmed!

WEST END LIVE is this weekend. We are performing one of the numbers from Ghost on Saturday at about 12.30 and I am doing a few songs from my new album on Sunday afternoon at about 2.40 so if you're gonna be in the crowd then give us a cheer! My first song on the Sunday is The Journey Home and I want you all to sing along with me - I even made a video with the lyrics on it for you to learn - here it is:

Have a great week folks! Hope to see as many as possible on the weekend and I hope the weather stays bright for you!

Keep Smiling & Keep On Believing!



Thursday, 14 June 2012

BLOG 100!!! (Good times) A bloody amazing weekend!

Hi Everyone,

Happy Thursday

HAPPY 100th BLOG DAY!!! 

How you all doing? I have had the most incredible week and I don't even know where to start. 

Last Thursday was the first day of my full week off from Ghost. I woke and after posting my blog I headed over to meet my good friend Ashleigh for a catch up and to run through some music for a gig we are doing together soon. It was great to see her and really good to have a laugh and catch up properly.

After that I drove over to my mate's in East London to go for food, and then work on some script work for a project I am involved with at the moment. It was really great and we did some very productive work and then I jumped in my car and headed on down to my best friend's house in Epsom as she was getting married on the weekend so I wanted to see her to check she was ok and to see if there was any thing I needed to do as last minute preparations because i was her man of honour. I arrived nearly three hours later than planned because the day got snatched away time wise and I was sat in very heavy London traffic for a long while - but I didn't mind as I was singing along to my CD's in my car and happy to be free to do what I wished for a week.

We had a great night in Epsom and after a good sleep I drove back home and then headed for a singing lesson which was pretty horrendous because I think my voice had cottoned on to the fact that it was allowed to rest for a few days so it certainly was in rest mode. It was nice to touch base on lots of technical exercises though and I got excited about doing more vocal work on other projects in the near future.

After that I decided to have a chill out afternoon so went to my favourite place of late -  Thai Square Spa in Covent Garden for a couple of hours and well and truly chilled out and it was great to have some peace to think about lots of different things without rushing from one place to another.
Friday evening I met my gorgeous friend Caroline for an impromptu night of tapas and cocktails and wine. It was superb.

I woke on Saturday and had a real blitz around my flat to make sure it was clean and tidy for when I returned from my best friend's wedding weekend because I knew I wasn't going to be in ANY fit state to do any house work upon my return - because I fully intended on getting well and truly plastered on champagne! - which believe me I did! 

So I arrived the hotel and met the bride to be and the other bridesmaids and bridesmen  - there were six of us, three men, three women! We had lots of champagne and chatted and then went to the restaurant for laughs, food and more alcoholic beverages. We tried not to have too late a night so that we could enjoy the wedding day but I'll be honest I really didn't sleep too much as I had so much on my mind. I kept thinking of things I should check and created a little to-do list in my head and believe me, when I have a to-do list I can't switch off until it's done so I might as well have just got out of bed and done it! - ANYWAY….

Sunday morning involved breakfast, a couple of rehearsals and then decorating tables for the wedding reception and basically casually getting ready whilst drinking champagne from 9am! The morning was amazing, we all got so excited and then the time came for us to go down to 'The Library' which was the stunning room in which the wedding ceremony was held. We walked down the aisle in our couples and once we settled in our places the stunning bride (my best friend…oh did I already mention that she is my best friend?) slowly walked toward her husband to be with the biggest smile I've ever seen. I don't think I have ever seen the two of them look so happy. The service was amazing and then there were lots of photographs on a beautiful terrace over looking hundreds of acres of well maintained grounds while we drank much more champagne and laughed and I got chatting to all the different guests. 

By the time we sat down for the wedding breakfast I was more than ready for food because the champagne had taken a firm hold of my personality with a tight grip and wasn't gonna let go until I gave my body some form of substantially filling nutrition.

The food was incredible, followed by a few games and great speeches and then we had a little down time to chat and rest a little before the 'evening do' started and more guests arrived.
Well I can safely say that I have not partied like that in a very long time. I sang the song for their first dance which was at 8 o'clock and then the band took over who were amazing which meant that other than a trip to the buffet and one trip to change my sweaty shirt, I didn't leave the dance floor for 4 solid hours! It was one of the best nights I've ever had in my life and it was amazing to be able to really chill out and let go and and have fun and not worry about having to sing the next day or be fit for the show because I knew I had 3 whole days to recover. 

The drinking and good times continued into the early hours of the morning until I gave in and went to bed - it was a busy 20 hour day but every minute was just perfection!

We all woke on the Monday morning and had a breakfast together in a private function room which was great, everyone looked and felt a little worse for wear and then we all went to the spa which had amazing outdoor heated jacuzzis that we relaxed in whilst the rain poured down on our heads - quite surreal but so nice that we could all still be together and still have fun, because it's very often after a big event like a wedding that you feel a little deflated the next day and on a bit of a come down, but I didn't feel that way at all. After a few hours in the spa, there was a group of about 15 of us who were in the close wedding party who went back to the brides parents house for gorgeous food and we all sat and chatted about the highlights of the day whilst they opened their gifts and cards.

Then the time came for us to let them have a couple of hours to themselves to pack before they jetted off on the honey moon for a 12 day cruise. I could not be more proud of Sal (she's my best mate you know) and her new husband Ollie and was overwhelmed by what an incredibly perfect weekend it was and I'm thrilled for them both that they have each other and that they now have a long happy married life ahead of them! Amazing!

Monday evening I drove home and had to use an emergency can of Redbull which I'd been keeping in my glove compartment for whenever i felt tired whilst driving - well after that weekend, the energy was certainly required to get me home safely - once home, I just passed out on my sofa and then pealed myself off it to flop down into bed and try and sleep off the exhaustion. 

Tuesday I worked on some summer school organisation and preparation and then headed into town to meet a couple of mates for coffee at 3.30pm which ended up in me staying out until nearly midnight catching up and having lots of laughs! They were all drinking wine and beer whilst I stuck to peppermint tea as I was still a little fragile after the weekend! 

Yesterday (Wednesday) I woke and carried on working on summer school stuff before heading to the London aquarium with a mate which was fun  and then I was going to watch my good friend Haley playing Miss Honey in Matilda the musical which was incredible. It's a great show and I highly recommend it - Haley was perfection as Miss Honey - I'd spread her on my toast she was so Hunniful (yeah I made that word up but I don't give a damn!)

Last night I headed home and got a good night's sleep before waking this morning and accepting that today is the day that the busy work ball starts well and truly rolling again. I have a T.V interview to film before the matinee and then I'm heading to sound check for a gig I'm doing tonight with Louise Dearman, David Bedella and a few other people at The Alley Cat bar, if you want to come along please do it'll be great fun,  and then i'll be returning to the theatre for the evening show before then heading to perform at the gig which I'm looking forward to! Hope to see you there tonight from 10am! 

Tomorrow is again a very busy day with rehearsals for a few gigs and then Saturday you need to get your bottoms down to the showbiz shop AKA Dress Cicle in Covent Garden because I'll be doing an exclusive signing of my new album THE JOURNEY HOME 'Deluxe Edition' which is officially out on Monday but if you come along on Saturday you get a singed copy two days before the release! I look forward to seeing lots of you there for a good chat and a few pictures and for me to squiggle on your albums! Let's see who can request the most random thing to be signed! 

Right I'm off to work!

Thanks for reading and for all your support as always and because this is my 100th BLOG, to mark this occasion, if you re-tweet it on twitter I will pick one of you (if you've re-tweeted) as a winner and will send you a Ghost programme signed by me, a signed picture of me in Ghost and a signed poster from the Album launch too! All you have to do is re-tweet it! And I will also tweet the winning person and give them a follow myself! (If it's you I pick then yo better be interesting!) ;-) 

Love and luck to all of you and enjoy your lives as much as you can!




Thursday, 7 June 2012

Blog 99! (One away from from Blog 100 - wow!)

Hey Everyone,

Happy Thursday, happy blog day and for me it's HAPPY WEEK OFF WORK DAY!

I am not performing in Ghost now until the matinee of next Thursday and my voice/body/brain could not be happier. It's gonna be a really good week including my best friends wedding - no, my actual best friend is getting married I'm not just watching the film that has Julia Roberts in it!

Aaaaaanyway, It's been an interesting week since my last blog. Lots has happened and I've been busy. Last Thursday in between shows I went to film a message for a video advert campaign for the website Stage Status which is a new social media site for the theatre industry and anyone interested in theatre - I think it's a great idea and so I was very happy to be a part of the campaign. I then chilled in my room before the evening show.
After I went home the whole of the internet erupted with the news from the Daily Mail that Ghost is closing and that we're all losing our jobs in the autumn and all the fans of the show were in an uproar saying it sounded ludicrous. Well I can tell you that nothing has been confirmed officially. It is true that there is another commercial show that wants to come into our theatre and this is the only theatre that it could come into logistically and practically for various reasons which are too dull to write about - however it is also true that the producers of Ghost don't want the show to close until it really must. It is very uncertain when we will be finishing it could be in a couple of weeks (highly unlikely) or we could reach the end of our contracts in February but all I can say is - come and see the show and spread the word because if Ghost was selling out there would be absolutely no problem but unfortunately as with almost every show in the West End, the sales have taken a little dip recently because of various reasons - none of which is the fault of anyone involved with Ghost or the Piccadilly Theatre. 

People have asked how I am feeling about possibly finishing the show before we were originally scheduled to finish and my response is always that I'm genuinely thrilled to have had the opportunity to play this role, it was one I definitely wanted to do and have loved playing it for the past six months and for that reason I am just going to treasure whatever time we have left and celebrate a great job as oppose to wallow in self pity and despair that the show is closing - and as far as getting other work is concerned, that never worries me because one simply has to have faith and trust that everything that is meant for you will come your way and make you happy!
The only slight disappointing element for me is that I genuinely think that Ghost is one of the most incredible shows I have ever seen and the fact that it is having to come off, resulting in people not being able to experience this incredible show is a travesty and that's the only thing that upsets me! If you ain't seen it then book to see it soon!

Friday I had a busy day which involved working on some things from home in the morning and then heading for a physio appointment before having a meeting and then work. The show was good on Friday night but I needed to get to bed cos I was shattered afterwards.

Saturday morning I woke and headed into work early to have a guitar lesson and then after the matinee I went to the gym to keep the blood pumping ready for the evening show which was great and then I went out and I GOT REALLY DRUNK!!! We had an amazing impromptu night out from Ghost which involved a few ports, a good few wines and many a cocktail which made Sunday VERY tragically hung over - so I spent the day in bed or on the sofa or attempting to eat. I then in the evening had a hideous journey through the jubilee chaos of London to Watford Junction which seemed like I'd travelled to Spain it took so bloomin long - but once I got there it was definitely worth it. My friends Matt and Tom had gotten married on the Saturday and they had invited many of their friends and families to a celebratory black tie sit down dinner  on Sunday followed by live music and dancing - it was stunning and to see how in love two people can be was inspiring! It was a wonderful night. 
The journey home was much better and after sleeping for just a few hours I woke and worked on lots of summer school stuff ready for August and then headed into town to meet a friend for scones and tea (in honour of our Queen of course) and then went for a swim and a steam before work. The show was great on Monday night. 
London was absolutely incredible over the weekend (as was the UK and beyond) to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It was the most positive and amazing atmosphere I've ever felt in London - it was like an electric current constantly humming through the air. It made me energised just by walking around town! 

After the show on Monday I headed home to do more work on the West End In Wales summer school which I then continued with in the morning too before heading in to London to meet a friend for late lunch! The show was great again on Tuesday night. The audiences have been fantastic this week which makes the show that much more rewarding when you hear an incredible response from the crowd.

I woke yesterday morning (Wednesday) and did lots of research work for a couple of projects I am working on at the moment as well as doing a load of phone interviews with different  journalists as promotion for my new album release and then I headed into work to rehearse with Rebecca who is the understudy to Molly as we are doing a few songs from Ghost at an awards ceremony at the end of next week so we needed to run through what we are going to be doing. It will be the first time I've ever performed with my guitar live on stage away from Ghost and the Piccadilly Theatre. How exciting!

After the rehearsal a small group of us went to a little restaurant near by and basically laughed out loud for a long while as I read out all recent tweets from 'GUS THE FOX' who you all must follow on Twitter if you don't already. If you want to know my exact sense of humour then follow Gus. It makes me howl with laughter until my stomach hurts when I read some of what he writes - however be warned that he uses fowl language and some (or most) of what he says is obscene! 
So that was fun and then I headed in to perform my last show for a whole week and I loved every second of it. Last night I got in and drove straight to the local supermarket to stock up so my house is full of nice food for my week off and then I ate lots whilst watching 'Miranda' the first series as I want to watch more comedy stuff and recently bought the first two seasons on DVD - Love her, she's a genius! 

So this morning I am chilling whilst writing this and then in a short while I shall be heading to see my good friend Ashleigh who is currently touring with the Susan Boyle musical 'I Dreamed A Dream' so it'll be great to catch up with her. She also sung the duet on my album tiled Alive so we need to have a run through of that because we might just be singing it together at a gig that is coming up soon! ;-)

Thanks for reading folks. I hope you enjoy this coming week as much as I know I will!

Much love and positive energy to you all