While recently cooped up in a small Chinese hotel, drinking a glass of red and savouring my precious wheel of Camembert, I set about looking for some relaxing music on my computer. A friend recommended an album she had recently purchased on iTunes – Till The Night Is Gone. Thankfully, it was the perfect addition to my evening, and arguably the best $16.99 I have spent in a long time.
Released this year by one of Australia’s leading musical theatre performers, David Harris, Till The Night Is Gone is certainly a debut album to talk about. Peppered with classics and standards like ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’, ‘Vincent’, and ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, all interpreted for piano and voice in a uniquely beautiful way, Harris’ album certainly had me listening till the night was gone…
Originally from the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney, Harris’ life as a professional performer is certainly a far cry from the degree in architecture he always thought he’d undertake, and Australia’s arts industry is undoubtedly richer for the inclusion of such an artist in its ranks. As a performer who has appeared in countless professional musicals, movies, on television and in straight theatre, it appears there is nothing this man cannot do. Releasing an album seemed like a logical step to take in his already shining career.
Despite a full schedule in 2009, including appearing in the musical Breast Wishes, and rehearsing for the upcoming season of LoveBites, Harris was able to set aside enough time this year to design, create, record, manage, market and launch Till The Night Is Gone in September. For those who don’t know the enormity of such a process, this is no mean feat, and the star of Miss Saigon has come away from the experience with more tools in his “professional toolbox” than he could ever have imagined.
“The business (of putting together an album) is all encompassing. You need to be able to focus on a venture like this as a business. You have to sink yourself into it,” Harris said.
Cleverly, Harris compared the process of making an album to that of renovating an apartment. There are steps and procedures that need to occur in sequence before another can begin. For example, you can’t get to the paint until you have finished the plumbing, the plastering and installed the loo. In a similar way, the tracks, artwork, and the organisation of copyright, sales and distribution need to be finalised before the finishing touch – the Launch.
Time management, he discovered, was a large part of the process.
“Juggling the album artwork, organising everything through APRA, iTunes, barcoding; I didn’t think of it all until it was happening. It was the biggest business learning curve,” he said.
Thankfully, although business meetings and deadlines engulfed much of his existence for the better part of 2009, Harris was also able to be creative in the studio and record the 16 tracks which make up the album.
“I spent 28 hours in the studio, which is more than I had initially thought I’d need”, said Harris, who worked with musical supervisor, arranger and accompanist, Bev Kennedy, on the entire album.
“We had about 30 song choices initially, then we narrowed them down to the tracks we recorded and eventually used on the album.
“I’ve always wanted to do this album: a late-night-glass-of-wine, piano bar kind of feel. I thought about chucking in a few instruments here or there but I love the sound of just piano and vocal. I’m glad I have that on there.”
To experience Harris in concert, performing songs from this newly released record, mark your calendars for the special one-night-only performance on November 22 at 7:30pm, at Sofi’s (Sofitel Melbourne).
After the success of his recent Sydney concert, this show is sure to be a hit. Were I in Australia, and not downtown China, I would be there with bells on.
For bookings, visit www.ticketek.com.au or call 1300 795 012
Till The Night Is Gone is available on iTunes, through David Harris’ website www.david-harris.com.au, and is certainly beautiful addition to any evening involving wine and cheese.