Broadway singers live a tough life. Unlike recorded singers, there’s absolutely no post-production support or second chances while singing to a live audience. On top of that, they have to act and dance between their rather vocally challenging pieces. Broadway singers such as Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, Michael Crawford and Alfie Boe perform up to twice a day. Some Broadway singers record music in their spare time, whether it be personal interpretations of the famous music they sing every day, or their own original compositions. Everything about Broadway singers is indisputably a hundred percent real talent.
Introducing: Ramin Karimloo. He is currently playing the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway. On top of his Broadway career, Ramin also writes and records his own music. Unlike his live works, which are usually sung in a classical vocal style, Ramin Karimloo sings in a more modern fashion while retaining the complexity of the pieces he sings. In his album rendition of “The Music of the Night”, a song that he has probably sung thousands of times while playing the Phantom on West End, Ramin chooses to play the guitar while singing the vocally very demanding piece, which spans three octaves. His original works are also as impressive—songs such as “Constant Angel”, “Coming Home” and “Show Me Light” also showcase his voice in a similarly striking manner.
Alfie Boe, on the other hand, is a very different story from Ramin Karimloo. He sings in a rather neutral style on stage, but expresses his inner classical side with his very operatic recordings on his album. Being a true musician, he also covers “The Music of the Night”, but two half steps higher with a full orchestra. As much of a showoff this may sound, he does have astounding voice control, and can manage to sound calm and entrancing despite the strain being put on his voice. Also listen to other covers such as the very famous “When You Wish Upon a Star”, “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables, and “Maria” from West Side Story.
An honourable mention goes to Nicole Scherzinger, who is a founding member of the American girl group the Pussycat Dolls. Outside of her PCD works, she has proven to be an accomplished soprano, singing at various events. She has yet to record an album showcasing her wonderful natural voice, but there are videos online of her singing rather difficult songs such as “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” during live events.
This writer urges all readers, especially self-proclaimed “indie” music lovers to listen to the songs and artists mentioned in this article. Not only do they demonstrate the control, skill, and technique that sets Broadway singers apart, they can also fit anywhere in your playlist.
This article originally appeared in the March, 2014 issue of UNIT-E. It was written by Russell Ng, a student at the Yew Chung International School of Beijing.
UNIT-E was founded in the spring of 2010 with the aim of establishing a non-profit, student-run magazine for international students in Beijing. Staffed by current students from a range of international schools, the magazine provides an amalgam of cultural tidbits, fragments of Beijing student life, and a broad spectrum of unique perspectives from a diverse group of young adults.
Photos courtesy of wikimedia commons.