Backstage Pass were delighted to catch up with acclaimed composers Daniel and Laura Curtis ahead of their concert in the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room.
When did you realise that composing was what you wanted to do?
I have always wanted to write music but never learnt to play the piano until a few years ago. Before that I would just write a tune in my head and try and get other people to put the song down on the piano for me. It was only when I started playing that I was able to convey exactly what was in mind. Laura has always dabbled into song writing by mainly as part of coursework and it took a little bit of coaxing to get her to write but we now make the perfect team. I tend to start by writing the basis of the melody and starting lyrics and then hand it over to Laura who puts her own stamp on it and changes some things here and there and then writes the introductions, instrumentals and we work on the final lyrics together.
Who inspires you musically?
We get inspired by writing for individual artists rather than by things we have seen or heard. There is nothing like writing a song knowing the voice you are working with. Musically we were both inspired by Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Alan Menken.
What piece of music are you proudest of?
It is a tough call but it would have to go to ‘A Miner’s Song’ because of the blood, sweat and tears that went into making the song. In the end we had a brass band, three choirs, 200 school children and over 20 celebrities from Wales take part including, Michael Sheen, Jonathan Pryce, Paul Potts, Aled Jones, Matthew Rhys, Ioan Gruffudd, John Owen-Jones and the boxer Joe Calzaghe. We also able to use the voice of Richard Burton with the kind permission of the Dick Cavett show. It was a logistical nightmare and it all started when we took a piano down Big Pit in Blaenafon to perform a special concert to remember those would have lost their lives as a result of working in coal mines. The song was launched before the Wales vs England game at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in 2013. The song really does mean a lot to us. The video is still proving to be very popular.
Your album - 'Love on 42nd Street' - was released to raise money for Children in Need, how did you become involved with the charity?
The charity do so much incredible work across the United Kingdom. and help so many people We always watch the appeal show every year but have wanted to raise money for the charity for a long time. This seemed like the perfect opportunity and it has been a real pleasure to work with the charity. We hope to continue to raise money with future projects.
The album centres around the theme of love, where did you draw inspirations from?
On Laura’s first visit to New York City we spent the first few days walking pretty much everywhere and on the last few days Laura’s feet were not doing so good so we found ourselves stopping at lots of random places around the city. It is only when you slow down in a fast paced city that you really see what is happening all around you. We saw people new romances, mothers with their newborn babies and at the 911 Memorial such sad stories of grief that will live forever in the memory. We decided that we like to write an album that explored all the different kinds of love and also use different styles of music to tell that story. So we really have our favourite city to thank for the inspiration.
You're about to embark on a concert in the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room. What can the audience expect from the night?
They can expect to hear all the songs from our album ‘Love on 42nd Street’ plus a number of new songs that will be premiered for the very first time on the evening. We have a fantastic live band joining us and some incredible artists that we are really excited to work with. We want people to go away with a smile on their face and feel like they were part of an event rather than just a concert.
Are you working on any future projects that you can tell us about?
Next up for us is the release of ‘When You Smile’ our song with Broadway star Laura Osnes which comes out across the world on the 10th August. We are working on some other singles to release later in the year and a few musical concepts. So lots to keep us very busy!
Tickets for 'The Songs of Daniel and Laura Curtis' can be purchased via the Royal Albert Hall website http://www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/daniel-and-laura-curtis/default.aspx . To find out more about their upcoming projects check out their website www.danandlauracurtis.com or follow them on twitter @danlauracurtis