Oscar winner tells Michael Bublé to "watch out".

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"There is a dreamy, easy-going timelessness about the songs"

Leslie Bricusse, the Oscar winning songwriter of Feeling Good and Goldfinger, has described my new album as a “rare phenomenon” and told Michael Bublé to “watch out”. 

I first met Leslie Bricusse last year at a celebrity party hosted by Hard Rock Cafe. My songwriting partner, Jon Nickoll and I, have been fans of his for as long as I can remember, so I couldn’t resist introducing myself when I had the chance. I told him I was writing songs for a new album and he asked me to send him an early draft.

I am happy to report that the legendary writer was impressed. He wrote back saying, “There is a dreamy, easy-going timelessness about the songs, shades of Rodgers and Hart one minute, Antonio Carlos Jobim the next. Songs like these make you want the ghosts of Mel Torme and Matt Monro to come back and sing them. Until they do, Gary Williams is their worthy guardian.”

Bricusse won his first Oscar in 1968 for Talk To The Animals, and another 14 year’s later for Victor/Victoria staring Julie Andrews. He was nominated again for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and his songs have been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Matt Monro, Shirley Bassey, Sammy Davis Jr, Michael Bublé, Nina Simone and Diana Krall.

Treasure Seeker is released September 19.

FREE POST... Pre-order here using promo code "FREETREASURE" to get free UK postage before the launch date.

1968 going to Cleethorpes

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Only 3 weeks till I'm in Cleethorpes celebrating the hits of 1968 and introducing some of my own songs from the new album.  It really is a wonderful show with something for everyone. I hope you can make it. Click here to book.

The show got a 5 star review in London, here's a taster:

"How refreshing, in an age when popular music is all noise and indistinguishable lyrics, to be able to journey back with him to the heyday of swing and crooning. In a set lasting 85 minutes he manages to deliver some 25 numbers supported by his musical director and pianist, Nathan Martin. All delivered in his own intimate style.

His choice of material features plenty of Bacharach and David including ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’ and ‘Close to You’ as well as songs from Broadway shows and films – the anthem to life ‘I Gotta Be Me’ from Golden Rainbow is a tribute to Sammy Davis Jr while Camelot’s ‘If Ever I Would Leave You’ is sung with great feeling. By contrast, Williams swings the jaunty ‘Bonnie and Clyde’."

What's your favourite album art?

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One of my favourite albums is a 1957 compilation from RCA called Mambo For Cats. I've never actually heard it. I'm just in love with the cover art. It's a classic design by graphic artist Jim Flora - the man responsible for some the best album covers of the 50s. I suppose that was my first introduction to art.

The Beatles understood the importance of a great cover, commissioning Jann Haworth and Peter Blake to conjure up the Sergeant Pepper collage. The boys were just as radical in 1968 with the White Album (perhaps a nod to Kazimir Malevich) and a year later with Abbey Road – a cover with no text. That was the work of art director John Kosh, who was also behind another favourite, ELO's Out Of The Blue. Its kaleidoscopic flying saucer always reminding me of that electronic game, Simon. 

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As a kid I'd sit listening to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours staring at the cover, admiring the fancy footstool and wondering why the man with a ponytail had a pair of balls hanging between his legs. I later learned they were toilet chains he'd nicked from a from club years earlier. 

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Treasure Seeker is my first album as a songwriter and I wanted it to look different to my other work. Through (Un)finished Works I found Portuguese artiste Mariana Baladia. I explained how Jon Nickoll and I created the songs, and after listening to the album, she got to work.

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She came up with a fantasy concert at London's Savoy hotel, where Jon plays every week. The cover features me singing as my producer, Chris Traves, plays his trombone sitting on trumpet valves coming out of the neck of a gigantic double bass. On the back there's Jon playing his piano on keys which morph into the Savoy's tiled reception floor.

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Through a window in the giant bass we see the chef in his kitchen sneaking a peek at this art deco, psychedelic spectacular. Inside, we see the rest of the orchestra, complete with violins and a very smart percussionist playing the triangle. The giant bass makes another appearance, this time as a swanky bar for the smart-set, enjoying the music and the Savoy's famous cocktails. It's quite a spectacle. 

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As technology gets smaller, so too has album art. We've gone from supersized vinyl, to compact discs, to postage-stamp sized graphics on our phones where you can't tell a tuba from a triangle. Maybe one day the resurgence of vinyl will see the return of album art we can hang on our walls. 

In the meantime, try this for a full sensory experience: get yourself of copy of Treasure Seeker, gaze at the artwork, sipping a Savoy signature cocktail, and enjoy the music. Who knows, you might find some treasure of your own.


Win a limited edition copy of the artwork and an invitation to the album launch

I've got a pair of tickets for my album launch in gig at Ronnie Scott's on 30 September, a signed copy of the album and a limited edition copy of the original artwork for Treasure Seeker by Portuguese artist Mariana Baladia.

All you need to do is comment here telling me your favourite album cover of all time. 

The winner will be announced on Sunday 16th September. I am running this same competition via my mailing list, Facebook, Instagram and on my website. Postage is to UK only. International entrants welcome but delivery is subject to postage charges. 

The artwork is printed on the highest quality, 100% cotton watercolour paper, guaranteeing archival standards. There are only five copies printed and we're giving away two of them.

You'll get a spread of three panels of the CD artwork.

 

It's here!

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The new album, Treasure Seeker, has been delivered in all it's multi dimensional glory. I am thrilled with how it's turned out. The print looks great, the lyric booklet inside is just how we wanted it and, of course, the CD itself sounds smashing.

The official release date is 19 September but we are shipping them now if you order from this website. Use the code FREETREASURE to get free UK postage.

World Singing Expo

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I’ve just come back from the World Singing Expo in Poland. Having never had singing lessons before it’s been a real thrill meet with some incredible teachers from all over the world to see what else I can do with my voice.

I worked with Wendy Parr and Greg Enriquez from the States and Richard Halton from the UK. All using different approaches to reach the same end. It was really exciting for me to see what possible with some coaching and I'm looking forward to seeing where this new journey takes me.

New look diary

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I have replaced the old diary on the website with a Google calendar. It doesn't look quite a smart but it's easier to use and has more information for you. If you want more information on any date just click on the event (name of ship or show) and you'll see what's going on. You'll also find the links to book tickets. 

I've also added details of the Legends podcast, and for the first time you can see which artiste will be featured in advance.

St Petersburg to Salerno

I am a few weeks into this summer's cruise season and am about to perform on my twelfth ship. All Royal Caribbean cruise liners in Europe and the Mediterranean including some of my favourite ports like St Petersburg, Copenhagen, Palma de Majorca, Venice and the magical medieval town of Tallinn in Estonia. You can always see which ship I'm on by checking my calendar. Maybe I'll see you at sea one day?

Symphonic Nat 'King' Cole in Ireland

Last Friday night saw me at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. I’ve worked there many times with their Concert Orchestra but this was my first time with their Symphony. What’s the difference? Not much, as it happens. Symphony Orchestras tend to specialise in the weighty classical works where you’d be more likely to see the CO tackling a movie score or what they like to call light music.

It’s always a wonderful opportunity to sing with an orchestra but Ireland makes it fun. The conductor was fellow Grimbarian Anthony Weedon. Even though we’re from the same town, this is only the second time we’ve worked together. We were actually paired up by the CBSO last year for a Christmas concert. He’s terrific: considerate, prepared and precise. So we had three happy days together rehearsing and presenting the music of Nat ‘King’ Cole. 

Gary Williams Celebrates 1968

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Reviewed at The Crazy Coqs, London by Barrie Jeram for Musical Theatre Review
Star rating: Five Stars ★★★★★

Click here to book tickets for the show in Cleethorpes on 23 September 2018

Crazy Coqs favourite Gary Williams returns with a celebratory tribute to 1968. While the Vietnam War raged and the Civil Rights movement was finding its feet, some of the greatest popular music was being made. It was the year that Andy Williams, Frankie Valli, Burt Bacharach, amongst others made their first live performances, and Frank Sinatra recorded ‘My Way’. It also saw the release of the Beatles’ White Album and Led Zeppelin’s first album.

Williams is the consummate cabaret performer. As well as his fine singing voice, he is also a good raconteur whose relaxed delivery and patter soon puts his audience at ease. He draws them in and turns them into a warm circle of friends. There are moments when they feel relaxed enough to indulge in friendly heckling.

How refreshing, in an age when popular music is all noise and indistinguishable lyrics, to be able to journey back with him to the heyday of swing and crooning. In a set lasting 85 minutes he manages to deliver some 25 numbers supported by his musical director and pianist, Nathan Martin. All delivered in his own intimate style.

His choice of material features plenty of Bacharach and David including ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’ and ‘Close to You’ as well as songs from Broadway shows and films – the anthem to life ‘I Gotta Be Me’ from Golden Rainbow is a tribute to Sammy Davis Jr while Camelot’s ‘If Ever I Would Leave You’ is sung with great feeling. By contrast, Williams swings the jaunty ‘Bonnie and Clyde’.

‘Wives and Lovers’ produces wry smiles at its dinosaur viewpoint of women. With a nod to his hero Sinatra, he puts across ‘My Way’ his way – a pensive soliloquy.

The songs are peppered with anecdotes and information. We learn that Paul McCartney was advised by Twiggy to sign up Mary Hopkins after she had seen her on Opportunity Knocks. This led to ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ which had the audience singing along as they did with ‘Those Were The Days’

Amongst all the familiar songs, Williams introduces several of his own compositions that will feature in his forthcoming album Treasure Seeker. ‘Next Best Thing’ debunks our materialist culture, while ‘Give Me a Second’ deals with mixed up feelings and decisions.

Once again Williams gives an evening of nostalgia and magic.