Twenty Minutes with Blake!

Ollie Baines, Humphrey Berney, Stephen Bowman

Ollie Baines, Humphrey Berney, Stephen Bowman

 

This week I was given the opportunity to interview Stephen Bowman from the group Blake ahead of their concert at Glow Bluewater on 8th August.

Harmony singers, Blake, mix eclectic classical and pop songs with rich vocals. They launched their first album in 2007 and since then they’ve gone on to sell over a million albums and have performed on nearly 150 TV shows around the world!

I had twenty minutes with Stephen…

What led you to a career in music?

I had a musical start to life; my mum was a trained operatic singer and my dad played blues guitar. The music all around me ranged from Rogers & Hammerstein to Sting & the Police. As a kid I had all that spinning around in my head. So when people were asking me what sport I wanted to go in to, I was telling them I wanted to be a musician. It all started from there.

I think the first single you bought says a lot about a person…mine was East 17 Stay Another Day! What was yours?

That one is a classic! Well mine is rather embarrassing! It was Two Unlimited’s No limits! It’s funny you should ask that questions because I was sorting through my attic recently and found the hundreds of CDs I’ve accumulated over the years and I found that one! It’s actually not too scratched either!

What music are you listening to at the moment?

As Blake sings such an eclectic mix of music; rock, pop, classical, my iPod collection reflects this. I enjoy listening to a wide range of music and I’ve got my Dad’s record player so I can listen to his records too. For my own down time I actually like lots of electronica, deep house and drum & bass.

Where is the best place you’ve performed?

We’ve been lucky enough to play the Royal Albert Hall twelve times and every performance is more enjoyable than the last. It is such a prestigious venue and just amazing to walk out on to that stage and sing.

In terms of biggest venues, we sung in front of 145,000 people at the Melbourne Cup with a TV audience of 30 million. But bigger than that was the Shanghai International Film Festival which was broadcast to 700 million viewers and we got to perform Charles Aznavour’s ‘She’.

It is fantastic to play all around the world and we are so lucky to get to do this. It really shows that music transcends cultural barriers and can be enjoyed by everyone. People love romantic, emotional music, which is what we do! But we also try to inject a lot of comedy in to our shows!

Where would you most like to perform?

We’ve played Wembley and Twickenham in the UK – which were great! But we were booked for the Sydney Opera House – but couldn’t make it as we were double booked for a show in China, so that is somewhere we’d still really love to perform.

 

What can we expect from your concert at Bluewater in August?

It is our biggest UK show this summer. If you’ve ever seen us before it’ll be Blake on steroids! The show will look and sound incredible. We’re able to push the production values of the show up some notches. There will be big projections screens and lights. The main thing the fans can expect is to experience lots of different types of music in one night – rock songs, classical, musicals all mixed together in one show.

I enjoyed your With or Without You cover – are there any other songs you’d love to do your own spin on?

We’ve performed Chasing cars, which is always popular, and Make you Feel my Love which was by Bob Dylan originally. We constantly ask people for ideas for what they would like us to do. We’re really active on Twitter and Facebook so send us in suggestions and it could appear on our album!

Is there anyone special you’d like to work with?

Major female stars would be amazing to work with, Jennifer Hudson for example. In terms of UK singers, we’ve sung for Shirley Bassi, but never sung with her – that would be amazing!

What’s coming up next for Blake?

We are recording two albums at the same time. We record for the UK and then special albums for other parts of the world. We’re doing one in Mandarin and one in Tagalog for China and the Philippines. We’re also touring around the UK and performing for the Prime Minsiter in Trinidad and Tobago!

 

Questions from Twitter:

What makes you blush?

When ladies ask us to sign their chest! It is really embarrassing and although it might seem like a really good idea to them at the time…it isn’t! The pens we use last quite a long time! We’re always happy to sign programmes and photographs…just not body parts!

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

It would be quite incredible to meet the great composers – Mozart or Beethoven for example. People today talk about geniuses in our era. But the genius of the great composers has never been replicated. We’d have to brush up our German and then ask them how they did it!

What has been your funniest experience on tour?

Things often go wrong in concerts (although Glow assures us they have the best venue so nothing to worry about in August!). One comes to mind when we were using lots of video projection. We were just preparing to start Amazing Grace and the projection behind us was of Scottish Pipers marching down the fields. We were building up to our big start when suddenly there was a power cut and the entire power went out! You have to laugh though – I made a joke on stage about the pipers not getting paid so they weren’t going to play!

 

What does your life say about you?

I’m lucky! Because the reality is I know hundreds of musicians who’ve trained as hard as me and worked hard to get into the industry, but haven’t made it. There’s a lack of fairness there. There are also people you meet who you think are better than you and they’ve not made it. The industry has an element of luck that you need – you’ve got to work really hard but you also need that tiny bit of luck – my life and career reflects this.

 

Stephen was lovely to chat to and his passion for music and the group really came across! You can see Blake perform at Glow, Bluewater on August 8th.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Twenty Minutes with Blake!

  1. Pingback: What’s Happening with Stephen, Humphrey and Ollie~BLAKE | swissdiva

  2. Now I’m pleased I’ve seen this article about Stephen, I really am! It is amazing to learn about Blake, really does make us happy! They are special to me and I’m so proud of them, of Stephen, Humphery and Ollie. It’s a life changing experience for them. They’re a great group and every fan feels part of Blake. I myself am so grateful and honoured to be a number 1 fan of them!

  3. Pingback: Twenty Minutes with Blake! | swissdiva

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