Earlier this year, 24-year-old mezzo soprano Laura Wright – one of the biggest selling classical artists in the UK combined her love of music and sport when she was taking part in the London Marathon.
“I stopped halfway around Tower Bridge and sang Jerusalem live on the BBC which was quite daunting,” she laughs. Laura completed the run in 4 hours, 20 minutes “I was pleased with my time,” she continues, “I felt pretty exhausted at the end, it was the third time I’d done it and that’s why I wanted the added challenge.”
Laura is the first to have taken on this remarkable feat of music and sports fusion, and it was to coincide with the release of her stunning EP The Sound of Strength, recently released on Decca. The concept behind The Sound of Strength EP is the body as the ultimate instrument. There are plenty of similarities between athletes and classically trained singers – the need for dedication, being healthy and being prepared to challenge yourself. Laura has taken this desire to always challenge herself as an inspiration for the EP. “We love the kind of music that goes with sport which tends to be classical,” Laura continues, “You look at The Three Tenors and The World Cup and I’ve tried to bring that (music) and my sporting passion together. I wanted something I could listen to in the gym because I see my body as an instrument and my voice as a muscle.”
Laura has taken her classical music to a new level with tracks including Puccini’s Nessun Dorma and Barber’s Adagio for Strings, arranged herself and melded to driving beats, with the help of producers Starkey (who has worked with composer Einaudi), Killahurtz and Dan Vinci (who has worked with everyone from Skream, Snoop Dogg and Jesse Ware). Doing so, she has created a new sound which melds beauty and power to startling affect. She is currently working on her forthcoming album, due for release in September.
“It’s been quite exciting writing and arranging music with my producer,” says Laura, “I can’t wait for people to hear the music and see that there’s a real story behind it.” Laura fells that her approach will also help Classical music be more accessible for younger people. “We’ve recently done a video (Barber’s Agnus Dei) for the lead track. I think the video shows this is not just classical music, it’s a new way of listening to things. I don’t want people to write it off just because they hear the words classical music. Classical music is for everyone and it’s a matter of how you use it and produce it. I feel I want to be someone who presents it in a different way, I’m 24 years old and I listen to Coldplay, Drum and Bass and Dub step when I go to the gym, but I also love performing classical music. It’s the power that classical music has that I think people love, the feeling that you want to be a superhero!”
Laura says the release of her forthcoming album will likely be followed by a tour. “Early next year is the idea, I don’t have any involvement in the Rugby World Cup yet, but I’d love to be involved in some way!” I suggest that maybe Laura should come to Wales and sing at one of our matches. “I’d love too,” she says enthusiastically, “I’ve never performed in the Millennium Stadium, so I’d love too!” You read it here first!
- Visit laura-wright.co.uk for more information on Laura.
- A version of Andy Howells’ interview with Laura Wright was published in the South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide during August 2014