image © EMI Records 2011
click on image to visit Sara's MySpace
image © EMI Records 2011
Ed. Note: We gratefully acknowledge sources of the biographical information available elsewhere on the internet that has been used within the text of our album review.
(21 March 2011) Welsh recording artist and performer Sara Kempe has released her debut album Let Me Fly (EMI (UK) 5099907 109027, 2011). Recognized by her crystalline voice with an incredible range and well-honed power, she is an exceptional vocal talent with fast developing career. Her twelve-track classical crossover album includes several originals and covers of a variety of popular and classical tunes. Lushly arranged self-backed and supported harmonies add lovely texture to the recordings. An eight page booklet and color tray liner designed by EMI's Rebecca Edwards accompanies the jewel box package.
In 2010 Sara worked closely with The Celtic Manor and The European Golf Tour and recorded the title track for her new album. It was specially written for her by composer Ben Robbins. Initially released as a single, it was the first time that there has a been a song specifically written for golf's Ryder Cup, an event that attracts huge global television audiences, and with the combined support of the players, the European Tour and the music industry, it put put Sara well and truly on the map. Ben Robbins, who also worked with Katherine Jenkins and new classical outfit Elysium, co-produced Sara’s album with Goldust Productions (website).
Today aged 21 Sara has already gained a considerable amount of live experience already having sung both at home and abroad at a number of highly prestigious events. These include gigs in Pakistan and Abu Dhabi, in front of Royal Families and Nobel Laureates. At home in the United Kingdom, Sara has performed at a number of key events including the Wales Open golf gala dinner at the Celtic Manor, Blenheim Palace and Chepstow Racecourse, where she sang live in front of the packed grandstands at the Coral Welsh Grand National as well as a live television audience in the millions.
Sara has performed alongside a list of household names including The Priests, Paul Potts, Rhydian, Aled Jones, Darius and many more on the Classical Relief for Haiti charity single "The Prayer" that was released on Gray Barlow's Future/Decca label in March 2010. The single raised both awareness and funds to help those who suffered in the Haitian disaster. Sara performed last summer at various events before the Ryder Cup 2010.
Aside from her love of music, Sara also has a passion for horses. She is a talented show-jumper and horse trainer but we understand that her number one love is Stanley, her chihuahua, who she confesses to being slightly obsessed with. Sara loves to be busy, enjoys hanging out with her friends in London and also regularly visits her home in Wales to visit her family and her horses.
Produced by Goldust and Ben Robbins, the album was recorded, mixed and arranged by Ben Robbins. Vocals on Let Me Fly are by Sara Kempe performed with the Soho Studio Orchestra. Marli Harwood, who wrote several of the tracks for the album also provides backing vocals to most of the tracks. Steve Balsamo also contributed backing vocals to the title track. Other guests include: Simon Johnson (guitars and backing vocals), Snake Davis (whistles), Michael Harwood (drums), Matthew Sharp (cello), Henry Prestman (backing vocals) and Greg Scott (violin).
Sara Kempe's first record offers several fresh and surprising covers. These include her own rich interpretation of Madonna's "Frozen", a lush Celtic-edged rendition of Cindy Lauper's "Time After Time" and a delicate West End-styled version of Keane's "Bedshaped" alongside a few of her own originals with additional strings. Sara's tremendous cover of Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" is backed with an especially rich orchestral arrangement and her own backing harmonies. A pretty multi-layered version of Sarah McLachlan's ballad "Angel" also appears on the album. The Celtic spirit is driven home by Sara's performance of the Rolf Lovland lullaby "Sleepsong."
In addition to the title track "Let Me Fly," Sara's debut album includes the original ballad "The Wish" written by Marli Harwood. Sara Kempe, Marly Harwood and Ben Robbins co-wrote the lovely ballad "Breathe Me In" celebrating the forthcoming royal wedding. Listen for strong Sarah Brightman allusions in Kempe's version of David Gray's
1999 ballad "This Year's Love" in a higher key. Sara's voice is certain to attract significant interest from classical crossover enthusiasts.