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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber’

sod_logo_smallThere are times when I really miss the daily blogs followed by instant reactions that usually developed into full-on electronic dialogues. But for better or worse, I can only count on a few minutes here and there to post my regular (or nowadays “irregular”… My bad!) updates. Not surprisingly, though, it takes me so long to actually get to the computer for these overdue “news blogs” that I tend to forget half of them by the time I’m typing away yet again!
So, first things first… Earlier this afternoon, we heard from our European counterpart that the authors of “Is It True” (Christopher Neil, Oskar Pall and yours truly) performed most gloriously by Yohanna, have been awarded for the #1 Eurovision Song of the Decade as voted by the ESC viewers and ESC Today readers worldwide. Did we really beat some of the greats, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Diane Warren, Ronan Keating, Patricia Kaas, etc. to name but a few? I’m still reeling from this, to be honest!
And from Sweden – this very song was performed at the Swedish Idol semi-finals (and won the semi’s!) by Erik Gronwall last week… which, by the way, you can hear (and see) right here.
Now, on a political note… As I’m getting ready to return to the UN Radio HQ next week to resume my weekly UN Uncovered show on Progressive Radio Network (it’s been over a month, I can’t believe it!) I am still trying to keep up with international political affairs… Believe it or not, I do read the Financial Times – still, even a year after the August War back home… So…. The other day, as I was surfing the web and reading the online Friday edition of the FT, I came across this article:
“Iceland after a year of financial crisis
Financial Times – London, England, UK
‘Is it true? Is it over? Did I throw it away?’ Seldom can the words
from an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest be more appropriate…”
To read more, please go to: FT.com
If you read on, you’ll be equally surprised by the sudden twist – a pop song lyric in a heavily political piece? I couldn’t be more excited, though, I admit!
And pop songs aside, I can proudly confirm that I am about to start working with the great Timothy Graphenreed, who wrote my very first song for me back when I was 16 years old, on our Broadway-themed concert to take place in NYC (theater, date, etc. TBC) in the new year – a variety of songs, ranging from American standards and some of my own tunes… Quite a challenge, but I’m extremely excited and really, really psyched!
While brand new material is on its way, I can already give you a quick hint – there’s about 4-5 new tunes that I’m dying to post on here asap, but it will have to wait until it’s been sent to my publishers at Kobalt Music and straight onto my homepage.
Please do stay tuned for more news and I promise to keep this blog up to date as much as possible… But for now, happy holiday to everyone (Columbus Day, if you haven’t noticed – some of the stores are closed today…. Brrrr…..!)
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Picture_3It’s not only true, but it’s also over (the madness, the excitement, the 24 hour schedule with no time to sleep, et cetera). But what a fantastic ride it’s been, and what a great payoff in the end! I couldn’t be more ecstatic about the results…

Iceland came in second, with 218 points, including ‘Douze Points’ from three countries: Norway, Malta and Ireland. Ironically, one of the co-writers of our song – the legend, that is – happens to be an Irish-born Brit, Christopher Neil. I have to admit, getting 12 points from Chris Neil’s native Ireland was rather special for us. I sat next to him during the televoting and clutched his hand tightly with excitement throughout.

After all, it wasn’t just about Iceland anymore, was it? It was about a great singer singing a song that Graham Norton, the BBC commentator (and a huge UK TV personality) referred to as “a real song” in a song contest. 

Countless TV interviews, shoots and meetings back to back – how does one leave such an artistic haven in the very heat of the moment? Truth be told, I should really be staying here for another week or so, but who could have predicted the outcome? The pre-ESC live primetime TV show, which broadcasted both nationwide and internationally, targeted  millions of Russian-speaking viewers that certainly helped. And singing the song in Russian, in front of my colleagues in Moscow, well, it was simply unforgettable!

What’s next, I wonder? Apart from a flight to New York first thing in the morning, as well as tons of work waiting for me on the other side of the world, it’s probably wisest to strike the iron while it’s hot, and not relax for a second. Otherwise, how often does one compete and, moreover, beat songs written by Andrew Lloyd Webber,  Diane Warren and Ronan Keating? I’m so proud of our achievement, and of course so thrilled with Yohanna’s final performance on the last night (and all the nights prior to the grand finale – she’s been amazing throughout!) As a young songwriter, I’m humbled, but I’m also over the moon to be on the same songwriting team with real pros such as Christopher Neil and Oskar Pall Sveinsson!

It really has been a thrill and a great adventure taking my friends, readers and listeners along on a special Eurovision ride to Moscow, but everything has to come to an end at some point. But, rest assured that when the next big opportunity comes along (and there are a few ideas in the works, more on that later!) you’ll be the first to hop on the train and come along with me. There will be new stories, new characters and more unpredictable adventures. Indeed, there is a lot to look forward to!

In the meantime, thank you all so much, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing this very special moment with me from Day 1. Don’t forget – Chapter 2 is just around the corner!

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iceland
Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to confirm that yes, indeed, it’s true Iceland! My self-penned song, “Is It True” co-written with Iceland’s very own Oskar Paul Sveinsson (Bjork, Steps, S Club 7, etc.) and Christopher Neil (Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Mike & the Mechanics) has now officially been picked as the Icelandic entry for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Moscow this coming May.

As some of you may already know, “Is It True”, performed by the wonderfully gifted and beautiful Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir, will be up against some of the upcoming highlights of the contest, including songs written and/or performed by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, Diane Warren, Patricia Kaas, to name but a few.

For those of you interested in the details of how this year’s Icelandic entry came about (and yes, as you know I am Georgian-born, a Russian citizen after moving to Moscow at the age of 9 and currently living in New York, so why Iceland?) …..

Two hundred and seventeen songs were submitted to the Icelandic broadcaster in their open call for songs for the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest pre-selection. Sixteen of those were selected to proceed to the next phase which will include four televised heats in January, leading to the national final.

In an announcement made earlier this morning, Icelandic television broadcaster RÚV made it clear that just over 69,000 votes were cast by the Icelandic public when they chose Jóhanna’s performance of the song “Is It True” as the nations representative for 2009 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest.

The results clearly show that when it came down to choosing an entry to fulfill Iceland’s Eurovision hopes and dreams, there was really only one choice.

To watch the youtube of both the national semi-final and final performances of “Is It True”, please follow these links:

Semi-final Performance:

Semi-final performance

National finals

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBQv4k3hu28

Official Eurovision YouTube homepage

Thank you all for your continued support and look forward to seeing you either in Moscow or live from the Russian capital on national European TV and/or online webcast!

In the meantime, stay tuned and don’t forget to vote for Iceland (of all countries!) on May 12th! 🙂

Tinatin

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If anyone had told me several years ago that I’d be launching my career on a commercial scale with a club remix, I would have laughed in their face – for no apparent reason other than the fact that I’ve always been miles away from dance music, let alone clubs and remixes.

In fact, years ago I was strongly advised to take this very route by a dance music connoisseur but chose to keep pursuing what I had initially envisioned.

In the very beginning of my career, a very good friend and publicist, Jeff Chegwin, arranged a meeting for me with one of the most prominent figures in UK Dance music, Eddie Gordon. I couldn’t quite understand “why” dance music when my demo recordings at the time were all compiled of classic musical numbers, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Sunset Boulevard” and songs penned by Michel Legrand and the Bergmans. Now how did that fit in with club music, I wasn’t so sure….

The day before I met Eddie Gordon, I had just been introduced to Nigel Wright, one of Lloyd Webber’s primary producers, who was incredibly charming and sweet. It seemed like a perfect match for the type of music I had been passionate about, but it was the same old story – with just a few bare-bone demos to my name and no management whatsoever, there wasn’t much Nigel, or anyone else in his position, could do for the Moscow-based teenager.

Next stop – DANCE.

I can vividly remember walking into Eddie’s office together with my parents (they were with me in London for my two-week trip of meetings and initial introductions – that was right before I actually moved to the UK) – club music thumping out of loud speaker, I felt at the very least out of place genre-wise.

We spent about an hour talking about this, that and the other. Eddie’s immediate verdict was the following: “forget theater music for the time being, you should pursue dance music instead…” It came across as Chinese to me at the time, honestly. Imagine a Streisand-admiring teenager singing songs from “Yentl” who is suddenly being told that it’s dance and club music she should consider above all.

My folks and I exchanged puzzled looks of confusion, as Eddie stepped away for a few minutes. He came back a while later with a notepad and started drawing a big circle which then became a spiral….And by the end of it, he put a big black dot in the middle of the spiral.

What did that mean?

“Basically, you’ll keep going in circles and all sorts of musical directions until you finally home in on a dance track, trust me.”

We thanked Eddie for his time and left the meeting feeling a little puzzled.

And guess what?

I have a feeling that he was right!

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