Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Les Mis Duo's Work Has Made Russell One Very Happy Man; Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR Chats to Russell Watson, Who Is at Sage Gateshead Next Week

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Les Mis Duo's Work Has Made Russell One Very Happy Man; Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR Chats to Russell Watson, Who Is at Sage Gateshead Next Week

Article excerpt

Byline: GORDON BARR

THERE'S not a lot fazes music star Russell Watson.

He rarely gets nervous and just gets on with the job.

But that all changed last year when the chance to work with one of the musical world's most iconic partnerships.

Russell's latest album, Only One Man, features new songs written specially for him by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil, the phenomenally successful writers of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon.

It is something Russell, who is at Sage Gateshead on Wednesday next week, never in a million years thought would happen.

He has won four Classical BRIT Awards and has sold over eight million records worldwide and is also the first crossover artist to hold simultaneous number ones in the USA and the UK.

But a high point of his career is working with the Les Mis pair. "They have written every single song on the record. I would say about 85% of the material has never been released to the British public before," he tells me.

"They are specifically tailor-made songs for me. They've gone for songs which in many respects I could relate to my life. To be fair most people could probably make a relation to a lot of the songs on the album. The songs are inspiring, uplifting pieces. The pedigree of the record is amazing."

But how did it all come about? Russell still can't contain his excitement at working with the Frenchmen. "When I was first approached about the project, my manager came to me and said he had this idea about making a record with Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil and what did I think of it? "I said I thought it was a great idea and that we could go down and meet them tomorrow and invite President Obama along for a drink too and have a natter together - I saw it as being as realistic as that!

"Yeh, right, the guys of Les Mis are going to write me a new record. They've never written for a solo artist before, at least not since they started writing hit musicals. …

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