Marc Almond – OBE -Singer-Songwriter, Musician and Campaigner. For services to Arts and Culture
Marc has enjoyed several number one hits across 38 countries and has sold over 30 million records worldwide. He is daring and unapologetic about standing up for gay rights on a public forum, which allowed for others to follow where previously they had not been able. His work challenges homophobic attitudes in many countries. He continues to inspire the young artists of today and his pioneering work in the pop/synth genre is paid tribute to over and over in contemporary music. Since his near fatal accident in 2004, Marc has become a staunch Ambassador for the Headway Charity. In 2017 he was made Doctor of Philosophy by Edge Hill University.
In 2013 he was awarded the Icon Award by Attitude Magazine and the Ivor Novello Inspiration Award, an industry recognition of the enormity of his work and his influence on the music industry.
Celebrated vocalist and performer Marc Almond announces the release of a new studio album The Velvet Trail for 9th March 2015 through Cherry Red Records. Marc had previously hinted that his 2010 album Varieté would be his last recording to feature his own original material. Famed English producer and songwriter Chris Braide, a huge fan of Marc’s work, set to change his mind and succeeded after sending him a trio of tracks written especially for Marc.
Los Angeles based Braide – who has also worked alongside Lana Del Ray, Beyoncé, Britney, and David Guetta – was determined: “I simply had to get in touch to try and tempt him to do the exact opposite. It was such an absurd idea to think there would be no more new Marc Almond original songs. This is the man who wrote ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’ and we need more of those passionate, unique and original songs. Just like Bowie and Bolan before him, he’s a true original” says Braide.
Marc explains “I felt the songwriting muse had left me, possibly forever. Then an email arrived with three instrumental tracks. I got goose bumps. I was blown away. Chris had an understanding of the chord changes I adored, of the sounds I loved; songs in minor keys with big dark dramatic pianos and strings. I sat down to write, both excited and inspired. Three songs were written in a matter of days: ‘Minotaur’ a dramatic song about rage and animal passions, ‘Scar’ a torch song about deception and ‘Winter Sun’, a melancholic reflective song about fading love”.
Almond and Braide continued their long distance arrangement with intensity and enthusiasm. Chris would send new songs to Marc; in turn Marc would record the vocals and send files back to Chris. They would exchange several long emails a day, discussing ideas as well as music, films and T-Rex, inspiring each other as the chemistry deepened. “I didn’t have to labour over lyrics, as they came to me, sometimes telling a story and often abstract, a colourful line or an image was enough”, Marc remembers. To keep that chemistry unaltered, they decided not to speak on the phone until the record was complete and only then would they meet – at London’s Delauney over tea.
Talking more in depth about the album, Marc adds: “Some of the songs have a more personal melancholy, reflective and evocative, like the title track ‘The Velvet Trail’, a song about memories, nostalgia, childhood and death. So it is too with the song ‘The Pain of Never’ (Chris Braide’s personal favourite). Chris wanted to create his ultimate Marc Almond record, electric, lush, emotional, dark and sexy and I felt inspired by his tunes and production to deliver just that”. He then explains the seamless format of the album: “Chris saw the record as one journey, one record you put on from beginning to end, linking tracks with musical interludes. This a reaction against the downloaded digital age, where individual tracks are taken or albums re-arranged in different orders. I always see my records as a show running from beginning to end that takes you on a ride”.
The Velvet Trail is an album that wasn’t supposed to exist – born from a spontaneous, organic inspirational process. It wasn’t just written and recorded, but felt and created. For all those who love Marc Almond’s work and those who just love true music and the emotions it generates, this is one not to be missed.
The March 9th release will be followed by a UK tour. “I’m really excited about the tour and the new album ‘The Velvet Trail’, I can’t wait to perform some of the songs live” – says Marc passionately – “this will be one of the most exciting shows I’ve ever staged”.
The Velvet Trail will be available in the following formats:
Regular CD Digipack – SFE039
Limited UK Edition CD/DVD – SFE039D
Limited Edition double LP with poster plus 2 bonus tracks – SFELP039D
Bad to Me
Zipped Black Leather Jacket
Pleasure’s Wherever You Are
The Pain of Never
When The Comet Comes
Life in My Own Way
The Velvet Trail
The Velvet Trail Tour Dates are as follows:
Thu 16th NEW BRIGHTON New Brighton Floral Pavilion Theatre
(The Wirral, Merseyside)
Fri 17th BIRMINGHAM Town Hall
Sat 18th IPSWICH Regent
Mon 20th CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange
Tue 21st BRIGHTON Dome
Thu 23rd BRISTOL Colston Hall
Fri 24th LEEDS Town Hall
Sat 25th MANCHESTER Bridgewater Hall
Mon 27th EDINBURGH Queens Hall
Tue 28th GATESHEAD Sage
Thu 30th BASINGSTOKE Anvil
Fri 01st LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Tickets are onsale now from Gigsandtours.com, ticketmaster.co.uk plus venue box offices, or by phone from 0844 811 0051 or 0844 826 2826.
Ticket prices from £19.50 regionally / £29.50 London (plus booking fees).
Iconic singer and performer Marc Almond has announced a full UK tour in April 2015 to follow the release of his much-awaited new record – entitled The Velvet Trail – on 9th March.
The Velvet Trail Tour is Marc’s first major solo jaunt in two years. The show will include a mixture of old and new material and will have an emphasis on the pop, big ballad and electronic rock side of Marc’s catalogue.
Fans attending the shows will enjoy a live premiere of tracks from his new album, together with acclaimed 2014 extended EP The Dancing Marquis and chance to relive his greatest hits and old classics.
Marc is joined by loyal stage companions Neal X on guitars, Martin Watkins on piano and keyboards, Carl Holt on bass and Tim Weller on drums with the addition of Kelly Dayton and Billie Godfrey on backing vocals. Pop legend Marc is looking to add more dates and make a presence on next year’s festival circuit.
The eclectic artist, last year’s recipient of the Ivor Novello Inspiration Award, is currently touring with Jools Holland, following the 2013’s triumph of his award winning Ten Plagues song cycle performances and subsequent album release.
Almond says: I’m really excited about the tour and the new album The Velvet Trail, I can’t wait to perform some of the songs live – this will be one of the most exciting shows I’ve ever staged.
Dates as follows:
||NEW BRIGHTON (The Wirral, Merseyside)
||Floral Pavilion Theatre
||O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Tickets go on sale at 10am Friday 14th November at Gigsandtours.com, ticketmaster.co.uk plus venue box offices, or by phone from 0844 811 0051 or 0844 826 2826.
Ticket prices from £19.50 regionally / £29.50 London (plus booking fees).
Marc Almond announces the release of Ten Plagues on 7th July 2014 on SFE Records through Cherry Red; a special 2-disc package incorporating an all-new studio recording of the complete work on CD, alongside a live performance DVD of the Ten Plagues song cycle performed at London’s atmospheric Wilton’s Music Hall.
Ten Plagues is a one hour-long song cycle written especially for Marc Almond by celebrated playwright Mark Ravenhill (Shopping And F**king, Mother Clap’s Molly House, The Cut) with music by accomplished musical dramatist Conor Mitchell. Ten Plagues is set during London’s 1665 Great Plague and tells the story of a city in the grip of crisis and disease through the eyes of a survivor (Almond). Wracked by the loss of his friends, lovers, family and sanity, he tries to hold on to his humanity despite the unrelenting grief, mourning, despair and physical isolation which the plague is causing.
Ten Plagues in turn evokes a poignant parallel with humanity’s reactions to more contemporary epidemics; such as the fear, hysteria and prejudice directed at the first victims of AIDS – initially referred to as a ‘gay plague’ – and the fear, isolation and ostracism from society experienced by sufferers at the outset. After experiencing the loss of many loved ones himself to AIDS related illnesses, Marc comments;“You could take Ten Plagues literally, as a historical piece. But you can also see parallels at a time when we seem to be obsessed with fear, pandemic and viruses”.
Ten Plagues debuted at the Traverse Theatre in 2011 during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it won the prestigious Fringe First Award. Marc remembers: “If I could perform a piece such as Ten Plagues, I could do anything. Nothing would daunt me again.” And so it proved, for Ten Plagues was indeed another important turning point in Almond’s diverse and acclaimed career, giving him the confidence and credibility to tackle all new dramatic stage roles including Seneca in Poppea (a reworking of Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea) performed in 2012 at Le Châtelet Opera House in Paris, and to act in The Tyburn Tree; a collaboration with the award winning composer John Harle in 2014.
In 2013 Ten Plagues ran for a month at London’s most unique venue; the historic Wilton’s Music Hall, and is captured on DVD for this release. Accompanied by composer Conor Mitchell on piano and video projections in an otherwise minimalistic set up, Almond brings to life Ravenhill’s thought-provoking script through his poignant vocals and charismatic stage presence. Ten Plagues combines music, drama and opera in a unique piece of art that, whilst depicting a tragic time in London’s history, evokes scenarios still relevant to contemporary times.
Reviews for Ten Plagues at Wilton’s Music Hall:
‘Marc Almond brings alive the horrors of the plague (and by implication its modern equivalent, AIDS) in a way no other pop singer except Diamanda Galás could..Ten Plagues is his tour de force’ The Guardian
‘Venue, singer and material are a perfect fit.Moving, thought-provoking.Seeing it inside a building erected within the lifespan of plague survivors, on the very streets it affected, adds to its power’ Independent on Sunday
Disc One – Studio Recording CD
Without A Word
A New Law
Disc Two – Ten Plagues: The Live Stage Show DVD, Filmed at Wilton’s Music Hall
Tracklisting as above
Pre-order link: http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=4711
Marc Almond, winner of the 2013 Ivor Novello Inspiration Award, also releases an extended EP The Dancing Marquis on June 16th. The Dancing Marquis – featuring collaborations with Tony Visconti, Jarvis Cocker and Carl Barat – combines two previously limited edition releases with two brand new tracks and two exclusive and stunning remixes. Marc is touring throughout 2014 with Jools Holland.
Marc Almond announces the release of Dancing Marquis, an extended EP which compiles two previously limited edition releases with two brand new tracks and two exclusive and stunning remixes.
In 2013, Marc Almond realised the ambition of a lifetime when he collaborated with legendary producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie, Hazel O’Connor, T Rex, Morrissey.) The stunning results of their unique collaboration can be heard on the opening track The Dancing Marquis.
Next to producer Tris Penna, Visconti also lends a helping hand with string arrangements and mixing duties on two further tracks; Tasmanian Tiger and Death of a Dandy, the latter inspired by the death in 2010 of Soho’s tragic artist Sebastian Horsley.
Continuing in this collaborative vein, the CD also features the talents of Martin McCarrick (Siouxsie and the Banshees, Therapy?) contributing cello on the hearteningly buoyant Burn Bright, and strings on title track The Dancing Marquis, a song which Marc penned ‘with Henry Paget, 5th Marques of Anglesey in mind’.
Jarvis Cocker contributes an infectious electro-pop number he wrote especially for Marc, Worship Me Now, where he also features as a special guest on backing vocals and production duties in conjunction with Jason Buckle (All Seeing I).
Love Is Not On Trial sees Marc once again collaborating with Carl Barat (Libertines), his co-star in the 2012 opera ‘Poppea’ at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. Produced again by Tris Penna, the song was written especially for Marc by Carl, who also features on guitar and vocals.
Rounding off this release are two brand new tracks, So What’s Tonight? and Idiot Dancing. Two additional dance remixes of Worship Me Noware also included exclusively on this release.
The Dancing Marquis (Produced and mixed by Tony Visconti)
Burn Bright (Produced and mixed by Tony Visconti)
Tasmanian Tiger (Produced by Tris Penna)
Worship Me Now (Feat. Jarvis Cocker)
Love Is Not On Trial (Feat. Carl Barat)
Death Of A Dandy (Produced by Tris Penna)
So What’s Tonight? (Previously unreleased)
Idiot Dancing (Previously unreleased)
Worship Me Now (Starcluster Remix – exclusive to this release)
Worship Me Now (Spatial Awareness Remix – exclusive to this release)
Marc Almond, winner of the 2013 Ivor Novello Inspiration Award, will be releasing Ten Plagues in July 2014; a 2-disc release incorporating a live performance DVD of the Ten Plagues song cycle performed at London’s atmospheric Wilton’s Music Hall along with a CD featuring a studio recording of the song cycle. Marc is touring throughout 2014 with Jools Holland.
Marc Almond is back with a brand new 4-track EP, featuring a plethora of excellent ‘friends’ including Jarvis Cocker (Pulp) and Carl Barat (The Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things). Following the successful experience with double A single ‘Burn Bright/The Dancing Marquis’, legendary producer Tony Visconti (Bowie, T-Rex, The Moody Blues, Morrissey) is also back working alongside Marc.
Next to producer Tris Penna, Visconti lends a helping hand on string arrangements and mixing duties for the opening track, ‘Tasmanian Tiger’, and ‘Death of a Dandy’, the latter inspired by the recent death of Soho’s tragic artist Sebastian Horsley and featuring special guest Danielz from T-Rex tribute ‘T.Rextasy’. Jarvis Cocker brings to the mix an infectious electro-pop number he wrote for the occasion, ‘Worship Me Now’, where he also features on backing vocals and takes care of production with Jason Buckle (All Seeing I). Completing the excellent recording, ‘Love Is Not On Trial’ sees Almond continuing his collaboration with Carl Barat, his co-star in the 2012 opera ‘Poppea’ at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. Produced again by Tris Penna, the song was written especially for Marc by Carl, who also features on guitar and vocals.
The eclectic 4 track EP will be available to buy on digital download from 10th February; for die-hard fans and collectors, there will be a strictly limited edition 7″ turquoise coloured vinyl in a beautifully designed gatefold sleeve, complete with a CD of the same four songs which you can pre-order from here now: http://www.cherryred.co.uk/shopexd.asp?id=4502
Tracklist as follows:
1. Tasmanian Tiger
2. Worship Me Now
3. Love is Not on Trial
4. Death of A Dandy
Marc Almond, this year’s winner of the Ivor Novello Inspiration Award, recently played a show at London’s Union Chapel, which sold out several months in advance; for those who missed out, he will be touring with Jools Holland in 2014.
A full album of unreleased material is due to follow in summer and will not include any of the tracks on the EP. 2014 is set to be another busy year for Marc Almond, but he’s not complaining. and neither are we.