Friday, 27 February 2015

Katherine Jenkins 'Home Sweet Home' Tour 2015

Katherine Jenkins took to the stage at Edinburgh's Usher Hall last night in celebration of her 10th anniversary in the Music Industry.
Katherine Jenkins 'Home Sweet Home' Tour 2015 Photo: Matt Thorpe
The Welsh Mezzo Soprano pleased the crowd with performances of her songs from her most recent album, Home Sweet Home, along with some of her favourites from her previous albums.
We were treated to a wonderful rendition of 'The Thieving Magpie' (Rossini's Overture) from The National Symphony Orchestra, who were in the capable hands of  Conductor Anthony Inglis.
She appeared on stage in an angelic fashion wearing a stunning gown complete with ruffles and gold sequins while singing her opening number, Beethoven's 'Ode To Joy'.
Katherine Jenkins looked stunning in her opening number- source: Daily Mail
This was followed up by her heavenly version of 'Hallelujah' and then by a rousing rendition of 'Anthem', from the musical Chess. A song which she said that she has always loved as it was 'anthemic' and reminded her of songs sang at sports grounds and also sang in honour of the country that's in your heart.
Other songs to follow in the first half included 'Land Of My Fathers', 'I Giorni' and her recent single, 'Dreaming Of The Days'.
She closed the first half, with my favourite, 'Time to Say Goodbye' (Con Te Partiro). At the first concert in which I attended of hers she did this song as her encore. All it took was for the orchestra to play the first note and I was in tears, Katherine Jenkins hadn't even stepped back out to the stage yet! (For those who don't know me, 'Time to Say goodbye' is a song which I have been known to sing myself on many occasions! So it has great meaning)
Katherine brought along a guest along on her tour in the form of the magnificent, John Owen Jones. Best know for playing the part of Phantom in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. (I just love him!). He started by giving us a taster of his alter ego persona with' Music of The Night' followed by a dramatic version of Tom Jones' 'Thunderball'. The power in his voice is something else!
The Magnificent John Owen Jones

There was a funny moment between John and Anthony where John pointed out that the kilt which he was sporting was on back to front! Which resulted in a few giggles from the audience and certainly tickled Katherine!

Instagram: @realkathjenkins "That moment when you realise you've done the whole first half with your skirt on back to front!"
The orchestra kicked of the second half with The My Fair Lady Overture featuring 'On The Street Where You Live', 'I Could Have Danced All Night' and 'Wouldn't it be Loverly' before Katherine returned to the stage with the mesmerising  'La Califfa', 'The Prayer' and 'Elgars Nimrod'.
The Welsh singer then took time to tell the audience just how much she enjoyed being in Edinburgh to perform and made reference to the performance at Edinburgh Castle which took place last year. She then read out some messages to the crowd and answered some questions. Upon doing so she congratulated a couple on there engagement after discovering that the proposal had happened only moments before the show began!
Another cheeky elderly fan asked her for 'a snog backstage' to which she politely declined.
Instagram: @realkathjenkins "Do I have comfy slippers on under here?!" (Picture by TallMartin) Proving that she was, in fact, wearing some sparkly heels!
She  was then joined back on stage by John Owen for the rousing 'Barcelona', a very impressive duet!
John then followed this up with his version of the European Song Contest Song, 'Rise Like A Phoenix', pointing out that it was sang by a bearded bloke with a dress and said that he, himself had the beard and that Anthony was wearing the dress (now the correct way round) which certainly amused the crowd! Before he said goodbye to the Scottish audience he sang an emotional version of the Les Miserables song 'Bring Him Home'.
For the finale Katherine came back to the stage to perform The Love Theme from The Godfather 'Parla Piu Piano', and 'World in Union'.
An emotional version of 'In The Arms Of The Angel' brought most of the audience to tears after announcing that she was singing it in the memory of her dear friend Polly Noble, who passed away last year after an 8 year battle with cancer. She finished the song by blowing her a kiss, very touching.
The audience where up on their feet for her encore song, Queen's 'We Are The Champions' followed by a huge applause in appreciation from the audience in the Usher Hall.
Instagram: @realkathjenkins

I then had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Katherine Jenkins after the show!

Welsh Mezzo Soprano Katherine Jenkins with Scottish Soprano Nicola Cassells

After the show I wrote, "With Katherine Jenkins!! What a wonderful woman :) she looked at me and said "are you the singer?" I was certainly taken by surprise! She also told me that she hoped that we can sing together one day! She also took away one of my CD's!! #happygirl @realkathjenkins"

Not many people get the chance to meet their idols and some when they do end up being disappointed. But I certainly wasn't! She was lovely and made me feel really special, what more could I ask for! :)

I hope you enjoyed my review of her show!

Much Love, Nicola xx

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Brit Awards 2015

This is my first ever blog post! So thank you for looking in! 
 I thought that since The Brit Awards are on this week that this would be a great opportunity for me to start!  I will be bringing you a list of the winners along with any gossip and news along the way, so I hope that it will make for a good read!

This years Brit Award were hosted by TV Legends Ant & Dec. I was secretly hoping for a cheeky performance of 'Lets get ready to rumble' but unfortunately it was not meant to be...
Kicking off the 'BRIT' Awards was the not so British singer Taylor Swift... but hey! She was fabulous as always. Even though I personally prefer her earlier  style of country girl blues, even I can't say no to watching the perfect pop performance of 'Blank Space' which was topped off nicely with some raining glitter. The only real problem I had unfortunately was the fact that she never sang live. Surely it should be a prerequisite that if you perform at The Brit Awards you should sing live?
Here is Taylor Swifts Glittering Performance...
(Only video I can find at the moment, will try and replace it with another soon)

How Stunning is the dress on the right??

So the first up was the British Male Solo Artist Award which was announced by Rita Ora and Orlando Bloom (who certainly improves with age!). The nominees included Damien Albarn, Paolo Nutini, George Ezra, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran. The award went to the unstoppable Ed Sheeran!

Second Award of the evening, presented by Jimmy Page went to the awesomely talented group Royal Blood who earlier on in the year were nominated for a Mercury Prize album of the year. I am so pleased that they won this award! Other nominees for this award included Alt J, Clean Bandit and One Direction. From a quick search on twitter I discovered that the One Directioners were less than happy, as you can imagine!

Sam Smith then captivated the audience with his effortless vocal performance of 'Lay Me Down' backed by a stunning white orchestra in an absolutely beautiful setting.

Then Ant & Dec brought out a Bingo Machine...

Louis Hamilton and Ellie Goulding appeared on stage (slightly awkwardly) to present the next award. And without coming across as superficial, I do want to point out that it was very annoying that you could quite obviously see Ellie Gouldings hair extension clips! Anyway, back to the award... which was for Best International Female. The nominees included Taylor Swift, BeyoncĂ©, Lana Del Ray and St Vincent. The award went to Taylor Swift, which explains the shows opening performance. I have to say well done to her as it turns out that this was her first ever Brit award. She was very vocal in thanking her British friend, Ed Sheeran and it was very humbling to see just how happy she was to receive the award.

Next to perform was the group of the moment, for me, Royal Blood. It still amazes me that the band only has two members when you consider the huge sound which they make. They smashed it with an electric performance!

(I couldn't find a video from the Brit Awards but here is their Official Video for 'Out Of The Black')

Mark Ronson was up next to present the award for Best British Female. (personally I think that Mark Ronsons Quiff deserved an award of its own!). The nominees were Paloma Faith, FKA Twigs, Lily Allen, Jessie Ware and Ella Henderson. The award went to the Beautiful Paloma Faith who was more than deserving of it, it was great to see her finally getting some recognition. She was overwhelmed to receive the award after so many years of hard work and determination. I just loved her 'gobbing off' speech, brilliant!I know there will be people who will be moaning about the length of her speech, but she did warn us beforehand and it was also her moment, so why the hell not!!

The cutie that is Ed Sheeran was up next to perform. I love that he can grip a crowd with just his voice and a guitar, no gimmicks, showing that he was deserving of his award from the evening. 'Bloodstream' is one of my favourite songs from Ed's recent album.

Fifth award of the night for The artist with the biggest Global Success presented by Kim Kardashian- West was awarded to Sam Smith.

Words cannot describe just how awful the next performance was from Kim's husband Kanye West. It was dreadful, I honestly thought that there was a glitch with the sound to begin with. Every second word was a swear word which had to be muted out and when this happened all we were left with was the dull sound of the crowd. This did not make for good television!!
Even Ant & Dec didn't know how to respond to that 'performance'. "Think this time last week it was double corrie on ITV"- classic awkward moment.

The lovely Cara Delevingne was next up to present the award for best international Male. The nominees for this award included Hozier, Jack White, Beck, John Legend and Pharrell Williams. The award went to Pharrel Williams, while I am sure that he deserved it, I was disappointed that the award didn't go to Hozier. I just cant get enough of his music at the moment and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who cant get 'Take Me To Church' out of my head?

To my surprise, Take That took to the stage! Definitely one of my guilty pleasures... although it was very strange to see them perform with only three members.

Ant & Dec came back out with that bingo wheel again, I still don't get it!

The award for Single of the Year was presented by Lisa Snowdon from Capital FM & Lionel Ritchie.( It was strange to think that just last week I performed in the same venue as him, very surreal!) I'm not going to go through the full list of songs as there are too many, I'm just going to tell you that the award went  to 'Uptown Funk' by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. No Surprises there! There were a lot of tweets which suggested that Mark Ronson should have thanked Fleur East, have they made a valid point?

Here is a video of Fleur East as I do love her version (even though I'm not exactly a fan of xfactor...)

I know that one of my good friends, Aimee, would have been very happy to hear that her favourite band  the Foo Fighters scooped up the award for Best International group! Very well deserving, they thanked everyone through a video message from their home in California. Other nominees in this category included The Black Keys, First Aid Kit, The War on Drugs and 5 Seconds of Summer.

The Lovely George Ezra was next to perform with the song of the moment, 'Budapest', it was obviously a hit with the crowd with shots of them all singing along.

Up next was the award for Best Breakthrough Act, presented by Fearne Cotton (I just love her!) and Charlie CX. It was Sam Smith who was given the honour of winning the award over George Ezra, Chvrches, Royal Blood and FKA Twigs.

Highlight of the show for me was Paloma Faiths performance of 'Only love Can Hurt'. She just sounded and looked stunning! In the background of her performance was some very impressive dancers who performed under a curtain of rain. Paloma herself was then drenched in a downpour towards to the end of the song. She must have been practicing in the shower! I was very impressed that she still managed to put of such a powerful performance despite the British weather making its way into the arena!

One Direction won Video of the Year. They couldn't be there to accept the awards, but Simon Cowell made it along to accept it on their behalf. They didn't even record a thank you video.

The final award of the evening, Best British Album of the year had a list of nominees who were all very deserving of the award. Presented by Russell Crowe, the award went to Ed Sheeran for his album X. What a year it has been for Ed!!!

Before I move on to the final performance of the awards I would like to show appreciation to the critics choice award winner James Bay. A very deserving talent. His performance on the after party show was outstanding, its just a pity we didn't get to see it at the main event although I'm sure his day will come.

Now for the moment everyone was waiting for... Madonna's performance.

Well, what can I say... just in case you missed it...or just want to watch it over and over again...

(short clip as I was unable to find the full performance)

I literally gasped and could barely speak for the rest of her performance. All I can say now is that, as embarrassing as that was, it does go to show just how professional she can be.

Well that's it for another year! What did you think of this years ceremony?

I hope that you enjoyed reading this Blog, as I said before, it is my first and I probably need a little more practice. But thanks for reading all the same!

Love Nicola x