The first time I encountered Auburn Jam was in 2011: I was invited to visit the studio to cover a recording session for singer/songwriter Joe Sterling, who was in the process of creating his debut album. The professional and high quality nature of the service they provide, especially in terms of new writing, is the reason they have continued to grow and progress in the years since then and become such a big part of the musical theatre scene. They moved to new multi-room premises in Raynes Park, SW London (Kingston Road) in March 2013, which offers a bigger space from the intimate studio they started out in and has allowed them to offer an even higher standard of recording needs for the visiting artists.
Auburn Jam has also progressed from recording to include the producing side of the business – following the success of his debut album Somewhere in my Mind – The Songs of Joe Sterling (featuring his own original material and released by SimG Records in 2012), Joe Sterling is working on an EP which will feature further original songs and is being recorded and produced by Auburn Jam. Songs from new musicals such as My Land’s Shore, The Bakewell Bake-off and Van Winkle – A New Folk Musical have been released through Auburn Jam, as have albums from new and exciting singer/songwriters like Nadim Naaman, Jonathan Eio and Nazneen.
In fact, Auburn Jam have had so many wonderful talents cross their threshold that they are gathering together some of them for a special showcase event at the upcoming MyRaynesPark Festival. The concert will mark their third annual Auburn Jam live gig and is to be hosted at the local festival, which takes place at the Lantern Arts Studio Centre on Friday 30th May 2014.
Auburn Jam have produced albums with many emerging composers, and the idea behind the concert is to showcase the work of a selected few of them. Some of the songwriters will be performing their own work, while a top-notch cast comprised of West End and Off-West End guest artists who have previously recorded vocals at the studio will be singing the songs of other featured writers.
Among the names who will be performing original songs are Shaun McCourt (Miracle On 34th Street, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat UK tours); Jennifer Hepburn (Les Miserables, Taboo), Michael Storrs (Les Miserables), Suzi Power (Blood Brothers), Kate Scott (Honk and Cinderella at the Tabard), Hollie Cassar (Fame at the Gordon Craig Theatre), Joel Hutchings (soloist for AIDA Entertainment) and Michael Risely, who will soon be joining the West End company of Les Miserables at the Queens Theatre). They will be giving a voice to a collection of original material from such composing talents as Alexander Bermange, Christopher J. Orton, Caroline Wigmore, Tim Connor and Jonathan Eio.
Alexander Bermange is the composer of the musical Thirteen Days who is currently recording his new musical The Route To Happiness with Auburn Jam Music. A production of the show was performed at the Landor Theatre in 2013, and the studio cast recording will star Jesus Christ Superstar’s Ben Forster along with West End leading ladies Louise Dearman and Kerry Ellis. Christopher J. Orton is an actor/singer/composer who has performed on the West End stage (Spamalot) and is one half of the creative minds behind original musical My Land’s Shore. Auburn Jam recorded the studio cast recording of the epic Welsh musical which was then subsequently released by SimG Records in 2012. Caroline Wigmore is the composer of Van Winkle – A New Folk Musical which was produced by Auburn Jam Music and released by SimG Records. Fellow composer Tim Connor wrote The Station Master (workshopped at the Royal Academy of Music) and the one-woman song cycle The Heart of Winter, which was performed at the Leicester Square Theatre in 2009 and will be recorded and produced by Auburn Jam Music later in the year. Some may know Jonathan Eio from the Spring Awakening UK Tour (Melchior), but he is also the singer/songwriter behind New Beginnings, his album of original songs which was the first album to be fully recorded and produced by Auburn Jam.
Songs from the new musical The British Bake-off will also be performed at the event. The musical, which was devised in 2013 by MA students of the Guildford School of Acting, had successful runs at the Landor Theatre and Waterloo East Theatre and was released as a studio cast recording in 2013 by SimG Records, following recording sessions at Auburn Jam Studios.
The composers who will be in attendance that day to perform their own work include Joe Sterling, Will Barratt and Nadim Naaman.
Joe Sterling has appeared on stage as Ugly in Stiles and Drewe’s Honk! (Tabard Theatre) and as Mowgli in the UK Tour of The Jungle Book, but is perhaps best known within the world of musical theatre as a singer/songwriter. He often performs his songs at cabaret/concert events and is the composer/lyricist of the concept musical Roundabout – a number of songs from the musical featured on his debut album, Somewhere in my Mind, which is soon to be followed by a second album.
Will Barratt has performed in a range of shows in the West End such as Sweeney Todd, The Producers and Les Miserables, as well as having played the prominent roles of Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera and Bob Crewe in Jersey Boys. He is currently working on material for his own debut album.
Nadim Naaman’s theatre credits include roles in Chess, The Phantom of the Opera (understudying Will Barratt as Raoul), Titanic and One Man, Two Guvnors. He released his debut album We All Want The Same in 2013, which featured a collection of his own material written in various musical styles. Following its release by Auburn Jam, he hosted two sell-out gigs at the Union Theatre and The Pheasantry.
Auburn Jam Music was established in 2010 and is run by husband and wife team Joe and Nikki Davidson. Their studio in SW London has been involved in the recording and producing of albums for many songwriters and bands, musical theatre performers and writers, and music for media, and they were recently nominated for an IVCA Award for Best Music for their soundtrack to the BMW/England Rugby Six Nations 2013 Sweet Chariot advert.
The community arts festival, MyRaynesPark Festival is ‘a gift’ from the local churches to the residents of SW20 which has been held for the past few years. The theme for the 2014 event is The Pursuit of Happiness, which will be ‘pursued’ through a variety of activities and entertainment to suit all ages and interests. There’s plenty going on during the course of the festival, which runs from 30th May to 8th June 2014, so you can find your happiness not only in the enjoyment and support of new musical theatre writing, but in the other events to be discovered there.
By Julie Robinson @missjulie25
Tuesday 27th May 2014