Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Voice of the Week: Colm Wilkinson

How I found out

The moment I heard this man's voice on the Les Misérables Original London Cast album, I said to myself: "I've never heard such a special voice before, now I must find out what I can about this wonderman."


Colm Wilkinson really is a superman in the world of stage music. Not only did he originate the role of Jean Valjean, still considered one of the most coveted and most demanding roles of musical theatre – did you know that he actually was also the first man to play the Phantom – in the workshop performance of Phantom of the Opera at the Sydmonton Festival? When he was a younger man singing through Bring Him Home for the very first time, his co-stars said he was the voice of God, and miraculously, his voice still holds that magic in it now that he's approaching age seventy. I have never waited so anxiously for an album to be released in Spotify as I was when I heard about Wilkinson's new album Broadway and Beyond. And it was worth the wait – track after track, Colm Wilkinson shows both the power and the sensitivity in his never-ageing voice.

Favourite songs

Tennessee Waltz

His covers on Anthem and The Wind Beneath My Wings are also among my favourites, but unfortunately I couldn't find them in Youtube. If you have Spotify, iTunes or something, just look up Broadway and Beyond, okay? Wilkinson actually auditioned for Jean Valjean with Anthem, and after hearing him sing that I'm not surprised that he was immediately cast. I have never heard a better take on it.

I would listen to this music when...

I really want to take time to concentrate on listening and do nothing else. Colm Wilkinson doesn't work as background music because the moment he lets out the first note you forget whatever else you were supposed to do.

Random lyric sample

Some enchanted evening
You may see a stranger
You may see a stranger across a crowded room
And somehow you know
You know even then
That somewhere you see her again and again
(Some Enchanted Evening from the musical South Pacific, covered on more than one occasion)

Stars ★★★★★

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