ALBUM REVIEW: Simon Bailey – Looking Up

simon b

Looking Up is the debut album of West End leading man and current Raoul in the national tour of Phantom of the Opera – Simon Bailey.

Bailey has been rightfully acclaimed as a phenomenally talented musical theatre singer and actor and now with this album proves his credentials as a gifted singer-songwriter.

At first glance the eclectic selection of source material from Luther Vandross, Dolly Parton, Eric Clapton, Evanescence, The Avett Brothers as well as musical theatre writers Jason Robert Brown and Scott Alan to four self-penned tracks by Bailey himself, would appear diverse and divergent but this is possibly one of the cleverest and most cohesive albums I’ve heard.

It sets Bailey apart from his musical theatre peers through its clever choices and truly original arrangements. This is a very personal selection of songs, sung heart-felt by Bailey. The emotion is palpable through each song – no more so than in Dance With My Father – all the more heart-breaking when you know that Bailey sadly lost his father in the past year.

Bailey includes duets with some of his musical theatre peers – Phantom co-star Katie Hall on I’d Give It All For You from Jason Robert Brown’s Song’s For a New World. We Will Rock You’s Sabrina Aloueche on Falling Slowly from Once and most successfully with West End superstar Ramin Karimloo on The Avett Brothers Murder in the City. Karimloo and Bailey’s friendship and musical kinsmanship shine through in the song. It also says a lot that musical star and possessor of one of the finest voices in the West End, Hadley Fraser is relegated to Bass player!

This is not your run of the mill musical theatre album, relying on tried and tested songs from an artist’s best-known roles – but a sophisticated, brave and original piece of work from Bailey. A five star debut.

I urge you to get a copy of this – a unique album showing those who follow in his wake how it should be done.

Available here.

TRACK LISTING

  • Sing For The Angels
    by Simon Bailey

  • Dance With My Father
    by Vandross & Marx

  • I’d Give It All For You
    by Jason Robert Brown –

    duet with Katie Hall.
  • The Distance You Have Come
    by Scott Alan

  • The Everchanging
    by Simon Bailey

  • My Immortal
    by Moody, Lee & Hodges

  • Murder In The City
    by The Avett Brothers –

    duet with Ramin Karimloo
  • I Can’t Stop The Rain
    by Simon Bailey

  • Tears In Heaven
    by Clapton & Jennings

  • Falling Slowly
    by Hansard & Irglova –

    duet with Sabrina Aloueche
  • Travelin’ Thru
    by Dolly Parton

  • Goodbye
    by Simon Bailey