Big Help Showcase at the Bear
Big Help Music showcase at the Bear 13th January 2017
Rather later in the month than usual, the first BHM showcase was held at the Bear, in Bilton, Rugby on Friday 13th January. The company brought five of their artists along in various stages of their coaching in stage craft and performance techniques. First up was the diminutive Bianca Bartlett who celebrated her 12th birthday only the day before. This girl, clearly still learning to be at ease in front of an audience has the voice of a chorister to which it is well worth lending an ear. Her opening song was "Where is love?" from Lionel Bart's 1960 musical, Oliver. It took a moment or two for her voice and the accompaniment to get into balance the latter being a little overpowering initially. These things happen during a live show and the matter was soon rectified. Bianca did not let it put her off and soldiered on. Another show song served as her second offering, "Castle on a cloud" from Les Miserables, where the situation of young Cosette has more than a whiff of Cinderella about it.
The song, "Somewhere over the rainbow" is getting on for eighty years old now but Bianca managed to make it still sound fresh with her angelic voice. The song "Reflection" originally sung by Cristina Aguilera for the Disney film Mulan which had hitherto passed me by, formed the last song in the enjoyable set. Bianca will no doubt benefit from more experience, but for a girl of such tender years and possessed of a lovely voice, it was a nice start to the show. Her birthday treat , tea at the Dorchester Hotel the following day is probably the reason she slipped away back home to Milton Keynes before the concert ended. She did well.
Trinity Trappett, who I last saw at the big Christmas show in St Andrews Church, Rugby but due to lack of space, I sadly gave scant note of in my review, is a delightful effervescent girl of fourteen, from Tamworth. She dipped into the Adele songbook for her first number: "Chasing pavements" Adele does seem very popular with young girl singers and this is not so surprising, although she does sometimes seem to get credit for songs written by others, (am I allowed to get cranky over this issue?) That said, there are few better interpretations of this song than that performed by Trinity. Her second item was a song by American singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, "I won't give up" It is about not giving up on apparently unrequited love, but it seemed also to be carrying another message for Trinity herself. She should certainly not give up on a career in music, not while she can also sing songs like Ruth B's "Lost boy" showing she can also handle a ballad. Following this with "Upside down" (the lively Paloma Faith song of that name, as opposed to the earlier Diana Ross song). Trinity demonstrated her accomplished ability in a variety of types of song. A rhythmic rendition of "Please don't say you love me" originally by Gabrielle Aplin concluded the set. I look forward to seeing more of her.
Saloni Boyina is a young lady of Indian extraction who is not afraid to introduce music from the land of her forebears into what is essentially a pop concert. That said her first song was a Taylor Swift number "Red" which when you listen to it, has in parts, elements which could indeed come from a Bollywood movie. Her second song did in fact come from one of those films, "Moh Moh ke Dhaage" from "Dum Laga Kai Haisha" You will not be surprised to read that I had to get her to write that down for me. You and I have seen those Youtube videos of Indian films with their squeaky sound and fast cutting. Well, if you have someone with a good voice singing the songs live it is a completely different experience, I could easily appreciate the beauty of the music. That said, Saloni soon veered back into the western hemisphere with "Stitches" a song that she says that she loves to sing and you can tell that it is true. Another Taylor Swift song followed, "Love Story" pursued by a mash up of "Ghost" and "I will never let you down" which closed her set. Saloni seems to have integrated her love of western and eastern music completely and the result is a cheerful and confident stage performer who charms her audience.
Tazmin Barnes another fourteen year old, comes from Tewksbury and I have not met her since the Rugby Bike Festival in the summer. Cor! what a change I can see in her. She is much more confident on stage than I remember and she now writes some of her own songs. One such opened her set, "Same old keys." She moves in all the right ways, she is stage aware and talks happily with her audience. A Taylor Swift number "Style" followed, which contains lyrics that fourteen year old girls in my teens would not even have contemplated, but she carried them off in fine style(sorry!) There then came a song which is to appear of Tazmin's forthcoming EP Lady Gaga's "Million Reasons". There is a story about this song. Having heard it on Lady G's album "Joanne", Tazmin decided that she wanted to sing and record it. a few weeks later Taz was in the studio filming the video for her version of the song. About three o'clock in the afternoon, whilst they were still filming, they heard that Lady Gaga was going to release the song as a single that very evening. The BHM team at Strawhouse Studios completed the filming rushed it into the editing suite, mastered it and issued it a mere hour after Lady G's own version was released. It was not only published on their own Youtube channel, but circulated it to all stations and fan sites that might be interested in a cover version, with, it must be said, some success. Whilst you have to indulge in long term planning when mapping out a career, sometimes you have to move VERY fast, to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. It only serves to prove that Big Help Music and Strawhouse Studios are big enough to produce a quality product but small enough to be able to react when required. I caught a bit of her performance of this song on my camera I hope this link works. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007324811587
Tazmin continued her set with "Where does the love go?" which I think is an Eric Benet original. What then followed was a truly breathtaking version of Adele's "When we were young." Like many Adele songs it is an emotional affair and Tazmin did a fine portrayal of the raw sadness and sentiments displayed. Another Tazmin Barnes original followed, "Trapped," the backing track and indeed the full version of this highly percussive song which features on her new EP in February, was recorded at Strawhouse Studios in Newbold on Avon, being produced by Alex Hart. This guy has worked with some of the best in the industry, so Tazmin is in good hands with him involved.
Rheo Elyse Parnell, the current Miss Coventry and Warwickshire, who came 6th in the finals to find Miss England 2016, the youngest ever finalist by the way, has number of accomplishments. She recorded a charity single in which all fifty finalists acted as backing singers and appeared in the accompanying video. She started of by proclaiming that she was about to sing an Adele song. "Make you feel my love" It is not an Adele song, it is a Bob Dylan song! (I told you I was cranky about these things.) That said, I think even I can sing the song better than him. I can't compete with Rheo however, her warm and lustrous voice does the song justice in spades.
All these young artists owe a debt of gratitude to their parents, driving them hither and thither and of course helping them financially. So it comes as a welcome relief when some of the pressure can be ameliorated, like when they are old enough to drive themselves. It also helps oil the wheels when your son/daughter can sing one of your favourite songs. Mum's treasured "Careless whisper" from the late departed George Michael and Dad's suggestion of "Rather Be" by Clean Bandit Ft Jess Glyn both found their way into her set. With a girl as beautiful as Rheo I don't there will be much chance of her "Dancing on my own" as depicted in the Robyn song. It is not usual for any artist at these events to receive demands for an encore. Such a thing happened this night. Rheo rewarded us with the classic "At Last" a genre of songs she really likes and more to the point is good at.
A mix of the accomplished and novice and all stages in between featured in the first showcase at the Bear for 2017. If you fancy going, it is free admission, good food at reasonable prices and a range of drinks to be had. Next month they are back to the FIRST Friday, which is the norm throughout the year apart from a break in mid summer for the Folk on the Water festival. See you there?