Why local star is now having a Ball

~ Ruth Davies for Bromsgrove Standard - 15/11/2007 ~


BROMSGROVE-BORN singer, actor and musical star Michael Ball has spoken exclusively to the Standard about why, after years on the stage, he is now having the time of his life.

Having rekindled his passion for performing, Michael talked about his heroes, touring and his most memorable roles on the theatrical stage.
In his new DVD, One Voice, One Special Night, he is back doing what he does best – pleasing his adoring public with a genuine love of the hits and songs from the shows he has sung throughout his prestigious career.

Michael was born in Bromsgrove and lived in Tibberton for three-and-a-half-years before moving to Devon, but he still has family roots around the area.

During his career he has adapted to concert performances and roles in musicals and Michael sums up the stark contrast between the two himself.

“The difference is at concerts, it is me up there, but I approach all songs as an actor – you think about what emotions to convey and how to move an audience.”

The recorded show at Hammersmith Apollo drew the 2006 tour to a close and was a homecoming of sorts for the star who lives near to the venue.

“The group of people I was touring with were like a family – I had the best time of my life – that feeling has carried on and this year has just been so blessed for me,” he added.

Michael said all of his songs struck a chord with him as they were either written or had been sung by people he had a huge respect for.

He said: “I can't sing a song that doesn't mean something to me.”

Burt Bacharach is a favourite of the star's, so much so, he has grouped his favourite songs together for his new album, Back To Bacharach.

“He tells stories in his songs, which are a gift for a singer and his work and his melodies are never predictable.

“He wrote the latest chapter of the American songbook, but my problem was choosing which songs to sing,” he added.

Michael revisits his showstopping performance as Marius in Les Miserables when he sings Empty Chairs And Empty Tables and A Little Drop Of Rain with his Eponine, Sian Crisp – a 16-year-old whose family bid £25,000 for Children In Need last year to give her the chance to sing on stage with him.

“Sian could have been anyone, but she was such a lovely girl who was absolutely the right age and had a real talent,” he said.

Surprisingly, Michael has people who he is in awe of, just as everyone else does, and talked about one of his heroes, Howard Keele whose songs he sings from the original Kismet film.

Michael added: “I really enjoyed singing in Kismet because it is a beautiful musical, but Howard Keele's shoes are big ones to fill and I hope I did him justice.”

His most recent role as cross-dressing Edna Turnblad in Hairspray received some welcome criticisms from fans who failed to spot the star because his disguise was so good.

“The comments were the best things people could say – it is the most flattering thing,” he added.

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