In the lead up to Defying Gravity in our Concert Hall, we asked Caroline O’Connor, Amy Lehpamer and Naomi Price to give us a little insight into some of the music they have handpicked to sing on the night.
Hit play, pump up the volume and have a read below!
Big Spender – Shirley Bassey
Back in 2004 I was invited to sing at the official opening of the Wales Millennium Centre. That night they were honoring the great Shirley Bassey and asked me to perform Big Spender at the ceremony. It was one of the most terrifying and exciting nights of my life! The great English singer Michael Ball was standing with me in the wings. The music started, and just before I went on he whispered in my ear, “What’s it like to sing for Shirley Bassey?” As if I wasn’t nervous enough. I wanted to punch him! But I strutted out on stage and belted it out. I could see her face in the audience and she was smiling, thank goodness. It’s just such a great song and a real crowd pleaser.
Judy Garland Medley
I’ve always loved the great singers from days gone by. In particular, Judy Garland who I played in the world premiere of the musical play End of the Rainbow. She sang so many incredibly memorable songs, but I’ve chosen one of her famous medleys that I performed in the show and that audiences particularly enjoyed, and at times would sing along to!
Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
Preacher Man is so playful and expressive with such an irresistible groove. Playing Dusty Springfield in Dusty was one of my favourite roles and I relish every opportunity I get to perform one of her iconic songs. Though I have to admit, I’m going to feel a bit naked singing it without the kohl-laden eyes and sky high hair!
I Have Confidence
This song has magical powers - I’m convinced! It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as the song progresses. I love performing it towards the start of a set (and it’s one of the first songs Maria sings in Sound of Music, too). It let’s me channel all my performance nerves and distracting thoughts into those beginning strains, and as the chorus sets in, you really do begin to convince yourself you have the confidence to take on anything!
Wouldn’t It Be Loverley?
This version of the iconic song from My Fair Lady was inspired by one of my idols, Shoshana Bean, who I have brought out to tour Australia twice. She’s become a dear friend which is so weird to say when I think about how I used to obsessively watch clips of her singing Defying Gravity on YouTube years ago and wonder how someone could sing so perfectly. I love this uptempo reimagining of the song, it’s exactly my vibe.
Don't Cry for Me Argentina
I first performed this song in a live final on The Voice Australia (2015) and it’s probably one of the most memorable performances of my life. Singing live on national television for 2 million viewers was wild, especially a song from Evita which my coach Ricky Martin had just finished starring in on Broadway. Right before I went out to perform, I bumped into Hugh Jackman backstage (he was there as an audience member) and I was so overwhelmed I burst into tears. I remember walking out onstage telling myself “you can’t screw this up - Wolverine is watching you”.
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