|9 Dec 2020|
As the lockdown hit in March, my shows for 2020, Half a Sixpence at Kilworth House this summer, and Top Hat at The Mill at Sonning this winter, were immediately cancelled - or at least postponed until (hopefully) the same time next year.
I wanted to try to use this time productively and so I started by revisiting past songs, which had been sat in notebooks and on old hard drives, with the simple intention of creating new demos; more than anything, so I’d be thought of more as a composer again, rather than a musical director. These past few years I’ve been musical director for productions of Cats and Singing’ In The Rain, and the UK tours of Tell Me On A Sunday and Jersey Boys, with next to no scope for any sort of ‘creativity'. It was the care and craft of the first few singer-friends I asked about recording demos that made me think the tracks would work in their own right, perhaps on an EP.
I met Midge Parry as part of this year’s virtual Music Festival OI President's Event. My dad, John Goodhand, taught her dad, Ben Parry, at the School back in the early seventies, and directed him in productions in Great School - there Midge and I both were, almost fifty years later.
I asked Midge if she’d consider recording one of the songs, which she did - brilliantly. All the singers recorded vocals remotely, with me editing, playing, and producing here at home. It has been a rare treat to have the time to learn and experiment, especially with music production; there’s not a single real instrument on the album. And eventually, I found the headspace to write new material too, making enough music for an album, ‘Lights'.
I was as amazed as I was thrilled that ‘Lights’ reached number 1 in the UK Easy Listening Album Charts this weekend. It was completely unexpected, and I’m just happy people are listening.
Francis Goodhand (OI 1985-92)
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