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Interview with Chris de Burgh: November 2006
 

Chris de BurghChris de Burgh ready to let The Storyman do the talking
By Chris High


Lady In Red singer, Chris de Burgh, is set to kick off his latest tour off in style, at Birmingham’s NEC on November 18th. Citing the arena as amongst his favourite places to play, the singer can’t wait to hit the road once more. ‘The Birmingham NEC and the Royal Albert Hall are my 2 favourite venues in the UK,’ Chris said ahead of his upcoming tour. ‘There’s always a special atmosphere at the NEC, especially this time as it’s the opening night of The Storyman world tour and with such a large crowd I’m really looking forward to it – it’s going to be a fantastic night. My enthusiasm for touring remains as strong as ever. I’ve always written and recorded songs with live performance in mind and as long as my career carries on I will perform live in front of my fans. It gives me great energy and motivation.’

 


Chris’s new album, The Storyman, is his sixteenth studio outing to date and looks odds on favourite to add significant numbers to his already impressive sales figures of 60 million plus across the world. The album, as the title might suggest, also sees the singer return to his highly praised role of storyteller. Why produce album solely of story based songs, now? ‘I’ve always written story-based songs right from my very first album through to the present day,’ Chris explained. ‘One of the main differences at the moment though is that I now have my own record company, Ferryman Productions, and this allows me the freedom of not having to stick to traditional pop formulas. The idea of The Storyman came from the fact that for many albums I have written short scenarios for each song as a way of explaining to the musicians in the studio what each song is about and this has really helped them with the performances. So it seemed only natural for me to expand on this idea. I’m not sure I see myself writing a novel but perhaps more short stories and I have recently co-written a film script, which is in development at the moment.’


Chris de Burgh and Chris High: Liverpool 2006The album was mostly recorded at London’s famous Abbey Road studios and the cast includes a ninety-two-piece ensemble of the London Symphony Orchestra. ‘We actually recorded 6 of the tracks for The Storyman at Abbey Road. I’d worked there before but this time was such a thrill as it is every singer’s dream to perform live with an orchestra. It’s so unusual in this day and age that all the Engineers from the other studios at Abbey Road dropped in to listen. It was amazing to perform in a studio with so much history.’


Another notable guest artist is Kristyna Myles, winner of the 2006 Busker of the Year competition. ‘Kristyna is a fantastic young talent and, when possible, I always try to encourage people coming into the business. I actually first heard about her after she had won the BBC’s busker of the year competition and then by chance, when we were looking for a partner to duet with me on the track Raging Storm, my head of Promotion, Lisa Davies, mentioned that she was working with Kristyna. The name rang a bell and the rest is history. She will be performing with me at the Birmingham NEC and maybe some other dates over the next year or so.’


The title track of the album has a somewhat unique concept, given that the lyrics comprise of thirty or so of Chris’s songs from his vast back-catalogue This must have been difficult to organise and one wonders where the inspiration to write such songs comes from? ‘Writing the title track was an interesting idea for me and, as a songwriter, it was a real challenge to try and make all these different song titles fit in to one lyric. I’m inspired to write songs in many different ways – it can come from a melody, a word or phrase or something I have seen on my travels around the world. It’s one of the great bonuses of my job in that I get to meet so many people and experience different cultures and it would be hard not to be inspired.’


The Internet is a very powerful tool these days and Chris’s site, www.cdeb.com, was recently voted number twenty-two of all the official sites in the BT Digital listings, a poll voted for by the public ‘I was thrilled to hear that the site is appreciated by so many people, but a lot of credit for this must go to the people behind the scenes who work so hard on a day-to-day basis to keep it interesting and up to date. I also try to be directly involved with the site and log on almost on a daily basis. In fact I have a feature on the site called ‘Man On the Line’ and this allows me to not only interact with my fans but also answer the many questions and queries which they have – you wouldn’t believe the amount of time it takes to do this - but I believe that all Artist’s are only successful because of their fans and they deserve our respect.’


In 2005, Chris appeared in the TV drama, Down To Earth, with Denise Welch and Ricky Tomlinson. Does he have any other cameo or character roles looming for TV or radio? ‘It was a lot of fun filming Down To Earth especially with Denise and Ricky – two brilliant people who are very talented – I had a blast. In terms of other cameo roles, you never know what the future holds, but as I mentioned before, we are currently developing a Movie idea – I may even appear in it – you never know.’


Birmingham is the opening show and, currently, the only UK gig on the tour. Are there any plans to increase this? ‘The reason we are only playing at the NEC this year is because at the time we put The Storyman tour together the venues I prefer to play in were not available. There are plans to perform in the UK in 2007 but at this time I am not sure what form these shows will take, but all will be revealed soon,’ Chris smiled.
Chris also has a great affinity with the city of Liverpool. In 2001 he played before 4,500 beneath the canvas of the Big Top Arena at The Summer Pops Festival and, in 2004, packed the city’s Anglican Cathedral to much acclaim. Are there any plans afoot to join in the celebrations in European Capital of Culture year, 2008? Perhaps an acoustic set at the world famous Cavern, starting point for The Beatles? ‘I always enjoy playing in Liverpool, especially the last show at the Anglican Cathedral,’ Chris said. ‘It was such an unusual place to perform but it was something I’d wanted to do for a long time. With all the major events coming up in Liverpool, I would certainly like to play in the city again and, actually, playing The Cavern’s not a bad idea.’

Chris is also a keen football fan and indulges in his passion for the game whenever possible. ‘I have been a lifelong fan of Liverpool F.C and have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to not only go to many games across the years, but also to perform at Anfield for players Christmas parties. I also recently recorded a Radio Special by the Magic Radio Group, with my old friend Phil Easton, live from the famous Trophy Room there, which was just great. I’ve also made many friends at the club over the years and stay in touch with many of them, past and present - I’ll always be a Liverpool supporter.’


Chris was also invited by the BBC to perform at this years Remembrance Day festival. ‘I was honoured to be invited to take part, especially as many members of my family and past relatives have served in the forces and I have a real empathy with those that fought in the First and Second World wars. I’m sure that those fans who have followed my music over the years will be aware of how important these moments in history are to me personally.’


So, what’s next for Chris de Burgh? ‘Well I will spend the next twelve months or so touring and promoting The Storyman album. I am also currently working on a Musical idea and, as I mentioned before, the Film project. I also have many ideas about expanding The Storyman concept into other areas. I believe that’s enough for now! On a personal note, I’m really looking forward to the NEC and performing for all my friends and fans. A lot of time and planning has gone into the tour and I’m sure that there will be a few surprises, even for me.’

This interview is due to appear in whole or in part in other publications.

For more information: www.cdeb.com
To purchase Chris de Burgh’s new album, The Storyman: www.cdeb.net

  
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