Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 18

Today's blog is about Duncan Shiek, an artist that I personally underestimated.

I remember "Barely Breathing" when it first hit the radio, and I thought all he had to offer was one hit and a fauxhawk. I practically said as much when I met the guy years later, at a radio show, when 'On a High' made him a one-and-a-half hit wonder.
At that point, he had already started writing scores for films and the stage. In 2007, the musical Spring Awakening would win 8 Tonys - Shiek would personally win two of them. But this is the same Broadway that was making room for Monty Python, Rock of Ages and Shrek, so I still wasn't that impressed. Someone burned me the cast CD, and I gave it half a listen.
Researching today's blog, I finally watched the cast performance at the Tonys:

...and I'm starting to get it. I definitely hear Duncan Shiek in the music, and it's a refreshing departure from all the aspiring Andrew Lloyd Webbers. At the same time, the unreservedness of a Broadway stage is exactly what's been missing from Sheik, for me. Shiek's own performing style is so mellow (he's a practicing Buddhist) that I reflexively group him with all the Music To Shop By. Shiek's newest album, Whisper House, is becoming a musical as well, which will better gauge what he brings to the table, but I'm giving him the benefit of a doubt. Heck, I'm apologizing for all the years I've been selling him short. Now I gotta find that CD today...

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