Sarah Brightman Talks "Dreamchaser"
Mon, 15 Apr 2013 08:49:34
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"I'm in Geneva at the moment," smiles Sarah Brightman. "I'm looking at the snowy mountains, and the Alps are just beautiful. It's very lovely. My dogs are in Los Angeles though. I have two little miniature Dachshunds, Georgie and Leo. They love L.A. It's too cold for them on the road!"
Even though Brightman is missing her pups right now, she's keeping her eyes on the release of her brand new album Dreamchaser. Available on April 16, it's an utterly marvelous and magical collection carried off to the heavens by her inimitable and immortal voice. She takes on a piece from Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" as well as music from Sigur Rós, elevating them off to space. Not only is she unveiling her 11th and best album yet, but she's also anticipated to be the first musician to travel to the International Space Station sometime in the future.
She goes on, "It's incredibly important in life to have a dream and goals. Even if the most of them aren't realized, the fact that you've made the journey and looked into things has given you extra information. It's led you down paths you might not have necessarily taken. It's made you more textured and interesting as a person. Because of this journey, I thought Dreamchaser would be the perfect name."
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Sarah Brightman opens up the star map to Dreamchaser and so much more.
With how diverse the album is, was it challenging?
It was a challenge to make. I composed a little, but I'm not really a composer. To put these pieces together, be inspired by journeys I've been taking in the last few years, and create the sound for it was amazing. It was like I was given a map. One thing led to the other, and it was great. I've actually finished half of the next album for it already. I see it as a trilogy. It's been good.
When did you first get the vision for Dreamchaser?
In many ways, it's like the sort of maps you're given in life. You don't really to see it until you get older. With hindsight, you can see what's happened in your life and why it's happened. Probably, if one goes back to the sixties—apart from amazing exploration happening in music, instruments we were fusing together, and incredible artists like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and David Bowie—everything was opening up in the world of art. It was so inspiring. At the same time, the idea of space exploration and the sciences were expanding. Everybody in my class had a telescope. We all watched the first man walk on the moon albeit from black-and-white TV screen. It was an amazing time to live in. The idea in life was one could explore, and everything was new. Subliminally, this sat with me. Although I'd been in many areas in my career, there had always been moments where one could pinpoint the idea of the stars, planets, and being soprano and weightless in voice. It was more obvious on certain albums I did. For instance, I did a beautiful soprano album called La Luna. Of course, that was all pieces encompassing planets, stars, and the universe. It was the idea of the space siren or song siren. I'm talking in very imaginative terms here because a lot of this is impossible. Quite a few years back, I came to the state of California which is very space-friendly. You can see a rocket launch from a city on the beach. Being there, I met somebody who was in the air and space business and was a rocket scientist. He started understanding my interest in space and my passion for it. He said, "Space exploration will open up. If you want to go deeper, there's a private sector where you can become a spaceflight participant and look into the international space station". I was one of the early bookers. I got inspired to start working on this album. All the pieces in my repertoire and songs I really love started coming into play for this particular record. There was a map going back to the sixties right up until this time. It's a dream that's being realized. There's also a beautiful spaceship being built that will ferry astronauts to the space station and be a part of the new space shuttle system. It's all come into one.
You're painting visual pictures with the music. Was that part of your approach? There's a cinematic aesthetic.
Well, we've always had wonderful music. Nowadays, there's more music being looked into and listened to than ever before. At the same time, as human beings, we've come to think very visually as well. That's a very important factor. I've been doing it for many years with my albums. When I'm inspired by something, a lot of the visual images I use come into play very quickly—almost before the choosing of the music. I'm creative in that way. I'm very interested in visuals in all areas. Also, I'm into the idea of creating visuals from the abstract and fantasy. As a child, I was absolutely fascinated by some of the literature given to us by Jules Verne and C.S. Lewis. They all talked about parallel worlds and time travel. When you read their books, the visual images that came from the ideas had something to do with what your imagination would conjure up. A lot of the feelings were metaphysical. Some things were quite abstract. The Hubble Telescope has given us more of a reality to what only went on in our imaginations before. What we have in our minds is incredibly important. I wanted to make an album that painted pictures for you all at the same time.
What's the story behind "Closer"?
Do you remember the Mike Oldfield concept album Tubular Bells? It's a piece from that. You wouldn't necessarily know it, but I took a section of that which I've always loved. I got a hold of Mike, and we Skyped. I said, "I love this piece, and I'm interested in doing something with it. Would you mind?" I have huge admiration for everything he did. He said, "Yes, of course, have a go! Just make sure I'm informed and play me what you've done". A couple years later, we put it together with a great topline and chorus. We sent it to Mike. It made him really happy and enthusiastic. He just loved it. He's been telling all of his fans. That actually worked really well. There's something spacey and futuristic about Tubular Bells yet ancient all at the same time because there's a Celtic quality. It gave me all of the flavors I needed to close the album.
What song from the album speaks to you the most now?
I can honestly say I like them all [Laughs]. I love the idea of the first three "Angel", "One Day Like this", and "Glosoli". Since Sigur Rós are from Iceland, it creates a moonscape they're dealing with. There are the glaciers and the hot lakes from the thermals. The way they wrote that piece, it felt right for the album. Originally, it's an Icelandic, and I wanted to do it in English. They came back and said, "That's fine, but we've got another piece which is much more song-orientated". I said, "That's not the point. It's the feeling you get from this song, which will suit the theme of what I want to do". I did the piece, and we made it very ballistic at the end. It was almost like you were hurtling towards the sun or a solar flare had done something very energetic. It has a lot of energy at the end. It's apocalyptic [Laughs]. In the end, we sent it to them, and they were really happy. That was good. I love "Angel". Through my life, night skies have been important to me. I felt whatever is happening in your life, you can look up into the clear night sky. It's so ancient, yet it's the future as well. It gives a very protective feeling. Actually, it gives me a proper perspective on what's happening and how unimportant my troubles may be. It's looked the same since I was a little tiny child looking up at it. It's never-changing and never-ending. "Angel" reminds me of that. There's a stillness and beauty, but it's forever-moving. "One Day Like This" has a very spiritual and uplifting quality about it. There's a message in there. It's really about how a small experience in life can last a lifetime. We are very greedy for experiences. Sometimes, we miss smaller things which actually make everything we need complete anyway. I loved putting those three together.
What's your favorite Sarah Brightman song?