Ramin Karimloo showed audiences just how ‘phabulous’ he is when he played the title role in The Phantom of the Opera and he proved that talent never dies either in the Phantom sequel Love Never Dies. Now the people are flocking to the Queen’s Theatre to hear him sing in Les Miserables. He has – unsurprisingly – received rave reviews for his stint as ex-convict Jean Valjean, but his journey there ends soon and another is about to begin.
Since that first stage performance doing panto in Chatham, Karimloo’s star has risen to become one of the brightest in the sky. Widely considered to be the leading man of the West End, he is now branching out into other areas – starting with the release of his album. Karimloo was signed up by Sony for what is technically his second album (he released the first Within The Six Square Inch on his own label in 2004), believing that he has “tremendous star quality”; something I think most people would certainly agree with. I was invited along to the Ramin showcase at Café de Paris in January where he performed a selection of songs from the album and star quality shone out of every note and lyric. Everyone knows that Ramin Karimloo has a phenomenal voice (I avoided a Phantom-related pun there) so it will come as no surprise that he sounds just incredible on each track, but beyond that voice are a collection of poignant songs that epitomise Ramin the Performer and Ramin the Man. In contrast to his first album, Ramin is not just him covering a few choice musical theatre classics – many of the songs are his own or written in collaboration with others. The ones which do appear on there won’t be recognised as the definitive versions most theatre fans are accustomed to hearing, with Karimloo offering his own interpretations: as he said, “I didn’t just want to be a theatre star putting out an album.” The songs on the album all hold some personal meaning for him and could be described as providing the soundtrack to his life, with Karimloo explaining that “I wanted to have lived the songs. I wanted an album that was like a diary.”
Although the album launch has been pushed back a number of times, it is now due to be released on 9th April 2012, which is sure to make a lot of Ramin fans very happy. Something which will also make them happy is the UK album tour planned for May 2012. Karimloo has previously announced the tour dates and venues he will visit, getting the ball rolling at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 1st May 2012. From there, he goes on to Southend-on-Sea, Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Birmingham, Gateshead, Glasgow and Cardiff, all of which take him through to 26th May 2012. Yesterday further details were released for the next stage of the tour – in the US/Canada. Karimloo will be heading across the Atlantic in September to promote the album there, starting by paying a visit to his home country to play at the Rose Theatre in Toronto on 7th September 2012. Following that performance, he will travel through Chicago, Pittsburgh, Bethlehem, NYC, Charlotte, Atlanta, Washington and Philadelphia, rounding off the trip at The Egg in Albany, NY on 21st September 2012.
UK fans are being rewarded for their patience with a Thank You gig later this month, with everyone who pre-ordered the album eligible to see him perform a free-entry acoustic set. A Ramin Karimloo gig is always good fun and it’s always worth the chance to see him perform live. It will tide fans over until the release of the album and, having already heard what’s in store for them, Ramin is going to further cement Ramin Karimloo as a star that has no limits and is going to just keep on rising.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Friday 9th March 2012