Sunday, 10 June 2018

INTERVIEW: Michele Brourman, about to bring her show "Let's Order in" to Pizza Express Live

Celebrating the debut of her new album “The Price of Love”, singer/songwriter Michele Brourman delivers a selection of her original songs. Salty, sweet, sad, seductive and everything in between, her songs have been performed by numerous luminaries across the globe, from Dame Cleo Laine to Reba McIntyre, but nothing compares to hearing the composer herself sing them. Her wit, charm and complete engagement grab an audience by the heart and take them along on an unforgettable ride. We had a chat to her about her show... 

Tell us about your show at Pizza Express Live. 

I love performing at the Pheasantry – it’s a classy, elegant, intimate room, and the people there are always warm and welcoming. This show is special, since it’s the very first release concert for my new album. I’m literally getting the copies the day before I leave LA to come to London! For me, singing at the piano is pure happiness.. I’ve been playing and singing since I was three years old. I can’t keep my feet from swinging – there’s so much joy for me in making music. (Did I mention that they bought a magnificent new piano?!)

What can we expect from the show? 

I hope that you’ll be touched, moved to laughter and a few tears, that you’ll feel as if my songs express what you are feeling! 

And this is the launch of your album ‘The Price of Love’, what was the inspiration or original idea for this album? And What can we expect from it?

The title song for this album came from my sister, Robin Munson. I was in tears because the two kitty brothers that I’d raised since the day they were born were both terminally ill at the age of 16. My heart was breaking – and my sister said, “Darlin’, that’s the price of love.” 

Three months later, when I’d finally stopped crying, I called her. “Remember that thing you said – that’s a song.” Robin is an exquisite singer and songwriter, and within an hour she’d sent me the lyric. Every time I’m in Facebook and read a posting from someone who’s lost a beloved pet I realize - the song is for them! The album also includes four new songs that I wrote with Amanda McBroom, including one called “London in the Rain” which is gorgeous and romantic. One of my very favourite Amanda lyrics!! 

What differs American audiences from British audiences? What are you looking forward to from the audiences here in London? 

The audiences I’ve encountered in London are so smart and so warm. I thought they’d be colder, more restrained, but they’re terrifically enthusiastic, funny and fun. They have a wicked sense of humour, which I love, and marvellous hearts! I’ve been in love with British wit since my first girlhood crush on Robin Hood! And somehow everyone I meet in London – from the taxi drivers to the shop people to the folks who come to our shows – they all seem to share that spirit and wit. 

By the way, my father was stationed right outside of London during WW II. He was in the US Airforce, flying missions out of Thurleigh. I have some of his letters from that time – he had enormous admiration of the warmth and courage that he encountered there. 

What are you most looking forward to whilst you’re here in London? 

Just BEING there! I love walking in London, breathing it in. I hear so many different languages on the street, it feels as if the whole world has come to London. I love the artists that I’ve met here –splendid musicians, singers, actors – they’re incredibly generous! And the architecture, the sense of history!! We have a dear friend here who’s taken Amanda and me on some day trips – we’ve seen Canterbury, Stonehenge, Windsor Castle!! They are stunning! (I do still need to visit Sherwood Forest!)

You’re a lady with fingers in many pies; producing, writing, performing, voice artistry to name a few! What would you say is your favourite and what would you like to do more of? 

I think my favourite thing is getting to do ALL of it! The day after my solo show at the Pheasantry, I’m going up to the Aldeburgh Festival where a beautiful singer named Lucy Schaufer is performing four of my songs. Lucy also commissioned me to create three arrangements for her June 29thconcert at Wigmore Hall. I’m thrilled that I get to send my music out in all these ways, breathe it out into the world. 

You’ve also composed musicals before, would you like to do another? And what would you like it to be about? 

Amanda and I co-wrote the score for a musical called “Dangerous Beauty” based on the true story of a 16thcentury Venetian poetess named Veronica Franco. Both of us dream of bringing that show to London! And we’re just starting on a new musical set in a small fishing village in Ireland – it’s still in the early stages. I have a wish to write a sci-fi musical someday…. Not sure what the story would be, but I’d love to explore what it might sound like! I also co-wrote the score for a musical called “The Belle of Tombstone” that was performed in concert at the Greenwich Theatre in London a few years ago – directed by the very talented Susie McKenna, and featuring Lynda Baron and Josefina Gabrielle. 

Why should people come and see your show?

What an interesting question! Maybe the best way to answer it is to share what some people have said about my shows: 

“Her piano playing is magnificent -- and her lyrics (she writes many and also collaborates with many great lyricists, notably Amanda McBroom) are out of this world: intelligent, heartbreaking, touching, funny. Her singing brings to mind Joni at her jazziest with a soupcon of Piaf. Do not miss her. “

“What an incredible night. Loved that all the songs were written by Michele and hit the entire spectrum of emotions, I had laugh-out-loud belly laughs one minute and then real tears the next”

“You touched on something that touched my heart so deeply. Am so damn grateful. “

“She’s arch, flirty and salivating; bouncing to boogie-woogie piano…. a cornucopia of touching, playful, and juicy invention.”

If you were to return to London, what would you want to do here next time? 

I’d like to have the luxury of being in London when I’m not working – enjoy the theatre, concerts, museums, eat amazing food, explore, get lost, visit with friends, sit quietly in very old churches…. 

Do you have any funny on-stage stories you could share with us? 

Last year when I was at the Pheasantry with Ann and Amanda, I tripped walking up to the stage, almost fell. You could hear a gasp in the room. I turned around to the audience and said “You know, the hardest part of the gig is walking to the piano….”

Everybody laughed, and the rest of the evening went beautifully.

Once in LA, I started to sing Cole Porter’s “You’re the Top” – and blanked on the lyrics four lines in. I stopped - looked at the audience and whispered “Help!” – and they all started singing! We proceeded to sing all 4 verses including my favourite line about the “pants on the Roxy usher”!

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