On Wednesday this week I shared a press release about a charity single You Raise Me Up which has been produced by west end musicals actor and singer Martin Dickinson, for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices. I am now delighted to share an exclusive interview with Martin, here at Jem Girl at the Piano. We chatted about his single, why he chose to produce it for charity and so much more!
Please share the inspiration/concept behind your single You Raise Me Up (If You Only Have Today)?
Back in July I was sent a video, which was a Mamma Mia medley by a local community choir, (as I had been a part of the show (Mamma Mia) recently), at the end of the medley was an appeal by Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, who I knew of already. It really struck a chord with me, thinking of how everyone was being encouraged to stay at home and do nothing. I knew that a lot of charities were struggling. So I decided to help regardless of how you measure your life, whether in minutes, or days weeks or years – how do you still make the most of that? So I decided to do something to help out by putting together the project, ‘If You Only Have Today’
If this is your first charity single, how was the process of bringing it all together during these difficult times?
I did release an album back in 2012, but the logistics of this were much more complicated. It came down to scheduling, reducing the choir size to 5, finding a Studio who was confident in being Covid secure. Lots of messaging/zoom calling etc…and bucket fulls of sanitizer…But we got there!
Popular TV personality Brenda Edwards (X-Factor and Loose Women fame) has lent her voice to the single. How did this collaboration come together?
Brenda is a good friend of mine, we became friends back in 2013 when we worked together at the Dominion Theatre in We Will Rock You and we have remained friends ever since. I wanted a voice that people would recognise instantly, that made people feel warm a snug and she fit the bill perfectly!
2020 has been such a difficult year for so many people. Has your single If You Only Have Today been inspired by this year?
Massively, because I live on my own, it gives you a lot of time, I have kept very busy thankfully, but there are those quiet moments, I have done a lot of mediation which is great and highly recommended; I have a great teacher who inspires me – Sal Worringham. I guess I listened to my own advice and to make the most of what I had I had to run with the ideas that came to me and this was one I felt passionate about.
The pandemic has affected a lot of industries this year and as someone from the theater and entertainment industry please share the impact it has had on your working life.
Let me set the scene for you, when I walk into a theatre, it feels like walking through my front door, it’s home. I feel most content, you feel the magic and energy of all the people that have gone before you. Theatre has always inspired me ever since I was a child the magic, the stories, and I have missed it so much, it is incredibly important that we take care of our world leading industry. That we hold it with the highest regard, this really inspired the Music Video. It really made me realise that future generations rely on the stories we tell to educate and move them, it inspires people, whether you are watching a play, a comedian, a dancer or a musician they all connect with people in different ways.
Please share why you have partnered with this particular charity?
There are a few reasons, when I was young, I suffered badly with Crohns disease and in the later days at 18 found myself in Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), being one of the eldest in there at the time, it really opened my eyes… I was very poorly, but I was very lucky. GOSH have a great relationship with Shooting Star Children’s Hospices, so when I discovered them some years later through various circles and having lived in the area for sometime it seemed logical that what I wanted to do felt fitting for this charity. Making the most of now, helping to create great memories.
While it may seem like a lifetime ago, please share your most recent project, as well as any upcoming ones.
Well lockdown has been very busy, until March when theatre doors were locked and bolted shut, I was in the International Touring Cast of Mamma Mia which was a dream of a Job, this year I have created a podcast for Children called Teddy Time Stories, I have made a movie in the States (it was a voice over so I did it from home). At the end of the first lockdown I built a home studio so I could record voice overs/tracks from home, which was one of the best things I could have done. I have since voiced over 10 animated characters. The most viewed being for the Children’s You Tube Channel Buster the Bus part of the ‘Little Baby Bum’ empire. Viewed by over 2 million I believe.
Do you feel the theatre and arts industry will bounce back from this year?
By nature we are the kind of people that evolve with the changing world… It will, without a doubt, bounce back and thrive once again. There have been so many innovative ways that we never would have dreamed of that have been used to share and connect with people. But to replace live art… that’s never going to be replaced, you can throw all the money, and latest technology at things but I don’t think you will ever replace that live connection between artist and live audience.
Thank you so much Martin for giving me your time and sharing the details behind this amazing charity single. You can listen to You Raise Me Up on iTunes/Amazon Music and you can watch the music video here:
I hope you all enjoyed this interview which is the second in my Get to Know series.