MUSIC, THEATRE, DANCE & VISUAL ARTS NEWS

Content by Molly Hunt at Borkowski

The Rhythm of Life, is the second album from Classical-Crossover Soprano Joanna Forest, who shot to fame in 2017 when she became the very first independent artist to go straight to Number 1 in the Official Classical Album Charts with a debut album.

The Rhythm of Life is a concept album which takes the listener on musical story-telling adventure exploring a typical day in the life of a child through 12 glorious familiar tracks, from “When You Wish Upon A Star” to “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and “Because We Believe”.  The concept was driven by the scientific evidence that shows how music has a very positive effect in the development of children and the mental wellbeing of all.

This wonderfully nostalgic album brilliantly captures Joanna’s talent, vocal range and refreshing approach to the genre. It will bring joy and fond memories to families, parents and children alike. The Rhythm of Life features crossover artist Paul Potts, children’s presenter Andy Day, the Arts Symphonic OrchestraArts Voices which feature the country’s top choral singers and musical theatre professionals, as well as children’s choir All the Arts Theatre School.  The album is released in time for Mother’s Day.

Paul Potts says: “I first had the pleasure of working with Joanna at the Coppafeel fundraising gala at the Palace Theatre in the West End a few years ago. We developed a good rapport and great singing chemistry so I was ecstatic when Joanna approached me to duet with her on her latest album. Her voice has a very warm glow to it so I think our track, Because We Believe suits us both really well. It’s a great piece of music and we had great fun recording it. Music is a very powerful medium that transcends borders, class, language and time. I truly hope that her album is a lesson in how this is so true. I am very proud to be part of it and I hope that everyone loves our version of Because We Believe.”

Andy Day, children’s presenter says: “It was such a pleasure to sing with my good friend and fantastically talented singer Joanna and feature on her album singing one of my favourite songs, it’s so important to inspire all kinds of music to our young audience. It’s a brilliant album!”

Emma Kenny, Psychologist and broadcaster says:  “Music isn’t simply something that is nice to listen to, it’s a form of connection that can change the way we feel. It has long been known that the brain responds acutely to musical stimulation and this is why children can benefit from musical experiences. Classical music has been proven to relax children stimulating their minds positively allowing them to escape to the realms of their imagination, the very place that creativity is borne.” 

Joanna says: “I am beyond excited to share “The Rhythm of Life” with the world. This album has been an absolute joy to make and I hope that crossover fans and families enjoy listening to it as much as I did singing it. Singing has been my life, many of these songs formed part of my own younger years and bring back such warm memories of my own childhood and listening to music with my parents. It has been proven that music has a positive effect on child development, it was this that really helped to inspire the album. To be able to be part of a child and families musical memories is really special. As one of the songs on the album says, “I’d like to teach the world to sing”, and I am striving to achieve that with this album.”

Alongside the 12 tracks are 12 fondly drawn illustrations by animator and illustrator Gary Andrews. Each representing each moment of time in the day of a child. Gary has always ‘doodled’ but since losing his wife suddenly, his drawings have taken on a new significance for him and his children as they cope and capture their grief and nostalgia through his ‘daily doodles’. In this series, his illustrations beautifully capture the infectious sense of joy that children give us, and that is the foundation for this album.

Gary Andrews says: “It was a pleasure to illustrate the twelve tracks on this album, listening to the songs, Joanna’s voice and concept for the album made it a delight to draw. As a recently widowed father of 2 young children, the songs had a particular resonance for me and reminded me of of times my wife and I spent with our children and the music we’d listen to. It’s brilliant that the album has the ‘family’ at the heart of it, it will appeal to all ages and bring back many memories for all.”

The album is produced by world renowned orchestrator, conductor and pianist, Robert Emery (Sir Simon Rattle, Russell Watson, Stewart Copeland and Jim Steinman) and was recorded at Angel Road Studios.

Joanna was born in Epping in Essex and vividly remembers watching the pioneer of cross-over Sarah Brightman perform in ‘Song & Dance’ on TV. As soon as she could she trained at the Italia Conti Academy for Theatre Arts. She made her West End debut at 13 years old at The Dominion Theatre and worked non-stop in theatre and musical productions up and down the country until her career, and life, was nearly cut tragically short.

Aged just 21, Joanna was diagnosed with breast cancer, making her one of the youngest ever sufferers of the disease. Surviving so much so young shaped the way she came to see the fragility of life and the sanctity of childhood. These are lessons that she is very happy to talk about as they inspired a lot of her creative work, and she hopes that her experiences and music might help inspire anyone else suffering with their own cancer battle. Away from the stage and studio she has also become an ambassador for CoppaFeel and other important cancer charities. That philanthropic work is every bit  as important to her as her work in music.

In 2014, Joanna first burst into the world of classical crossover following a successful West End career in both musical and straight theatre. Her first public performance as a crossover artist was in duet with Britain’s Got Talent megastar, Paul Potts, at The Palace Theatre, London. Since then Joanna has worked with world renowned orchestrator, conductor and pianist Robert Emery. He acted as her arranger and producer with the City of Prague Philharmonic and Arts Symphonic Orchestras and with her on her debut album Stars Are Rising, as well as  on two singles; fully orchestrated arrangements of Bowie’s Life on Mars? and Slade’s How Does it Feel? 

Joanne shot to fame in 2017 when she became the first independent artist to get straight to Number 1 in the Official Classical Album Charts with a début album. The critically acclaimed record, Stars Are Rising, was made “Album of the Week” in The Sunday Mirror and received exceptional reviews in the music, national and global press. Further number 1’s in the iTunes and Amazon Classical Album Charts followed and she spent that summer performing to thousands of fans as she toured her album and headlined Proms concerts across the country.

She also recorded two high profile recordings that were released in the Autumn and Winter of 2017. The Royal Platinum Love Song, which recorded in duet with Daniel Koek to celebrate 70 years of marriage between The Queen and Prince Philip, went straight to Number 1 in the Classical singles chart and garnered global media coverage and acclaim.

Joanna has also appeared on the Paul McCartney backed “Choirs with Purpose” Stand Together album  as one of 10 celebrity singers where, on her track, she led a 600 strong choir. She is also a regular on BBC’s Songs of Praise.

The Rhythm of Life

Joanna Forest

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