English singer and West End star Michael Ball has a positive message for everyone, as he enjoys the time and headspace lockdown has given him to write and record a brand-new album, We Are More Than One, entirely at home!
It’s been a tough 12 months for everyone and multi-platinum selling recording artist and much-loved TV and radio presenter Michael Ball is no exception.
He and his partner Cathy suffered Covid-19 early on in the pandemic and, like many, much of Ball’s work was stalled as theatres closed across the UK.
However, the West End star says that lockdown has been a positive experience and urges everyone to make the most of the time at home they have left to seize the moment do that one ‘thing’ they have always wanted to do!
For Ball, this was his most personal album to date, We Are More Than One, which sees the star pursuing his song-writing talents, a creative process which he says has given him much enjoyment.
“In the words of Charles Dickens, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…That about sums up how I and many others feel about this last 18 months,” said Ball.
“The worst of times is pretty self-evident. The fear, uncertainty, isolation and at times mind-numbing boredom have taken their toll on everyone, myself included but for me there were moments when it was indeed the best of times and this album is the result of those.”
Ball revealed that one man in particular provided him with the inspiration he needed.
“It started when, I interviewed Capt. Tom and became inspired by his positivity and determination. He galvanised me into believing I needn’t just sit around desperately looking for the next box set on Netflix, but I could try to use this time creatively and do what I’d always promised myself I would do one day and write and produce my own album…my first call was to Amy Wadge and it started from there.
“Lockdown freed up the space in my life to focus on writing and recording the entire album at home and the chance to work virtually with some amazing collaborators.
“I urge everyone to make the most of what’s left of this time to really put energy into achieving that one thing you’ve always wanted to do…now is your chance!”
After a number one selling solo album in 2019 and number one Christmas album in 2020 with best friend Alfie Boe, Ball’s new album features 14 tracks, 10 of which Ball co-wrote, a new departure at the age of 58.
Teaming up with Amy Wadge (Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue, Camilla Cabello) & Liz Rose (Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood), the album sees Ball looking within himself for an album even more personal than the last. After learning how to write and record remotely, every track on this record has an inspiring story to tell.
“This is 100 per cent my most personal album to date,” he told The Express.
“I’ve invested so much love and time and so much of myself in it. The lyrics are personal to me, or to people I know, or to experiences I’ve had. Without doubt, it’s me there on the record.
“I always thought I wasn’t motivated, that I needed someone to motivate me, but I have been able to work and I have been able to switch it on when I’ve needed,” he said.
“But it’s not a competition as to who’s made the best use of their time during lockdown, who has lost weight, or who has put on weight,” he added. “I’m in the latter category – yeah, in a big way!”
The album opens with Be The One, an uplifting track in which Ball pays tribute to “the one” who supports, inspires and keeps him “strong”.
It is very obvious that Ball was inspired by the lockdown and troubles of the past year, with the country-infused God Willing spreading hope that “things are going to turn around again” as he sings: “We are going to learn to laugh again. If our arms are open wide and hope is on our side, we’ll love again”.
Then, in the up-tempo Home With You, the singer has fun making the most of staying in with his loved ones, as they “roll back the rug, turn down the lights, dance across the kitchen like it’s Saturday night”.
There are also a number of incredible covers sprinkled amongst the original material, including Ball’s takes on Dionne Warwick’s timeless 1982 classic Heartbreaker and Beverley Craven’s popular 1990 hit Promise Me.
He is also joined by Amy Wadge on their duet version of Bob Seger’s We’ve Got Tonight, which has famously been covered as a duet by Kenny Rogers and Sheena Easton, as well as Ronan Keating who had two versions, one with Lulu and another with Jeanette Biedermann.
After a difficult year and more, Ball hopes that We Are More Than One will encourage people to come together and live life doing what they have always wanted to do, with people they love, in what we all hope will be a brighter future.
• We Are More Than One by Michael Ball will be released on Decca Records on 7th May.
Picture: Michael Ball. (James Hole).