Sunday, April 20, 2014

singer inc vol 2 - Steve Balsamo

I'm singing on a beautiful album with a group of fabulous singers, Singers Inc., Vol.2, out tomorrow. I'm covering 'Calling You' by Bob Telson. Stunning song and we've tried to create a haunting version. My good mate and ace muso Andrew Griffiths produced it , and I LOVE how it's turned out. Please check out snippets of all the songs here

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/singers-inc.-vol.-2/id767747331

Please share far and wide if ya moved to! Thank you all very much x Steve

new solo album Rosalie Deighton

Wonderful Rosalie Deighton has just released her gorgeous solo album. Please go get it, it will make your life better! https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/burning-boat/id849716614


watch the video on:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erOXvUKbhok

Friday, April 18, 2014

Steve Balsamo -interview juli 2th 2011

A new television series starts tonight looking at just what special qualities go into making a truly timeless pop song. But Swansea singer-songwriter Steve Balsamo tells Nathan Bevan that he believes one Welsh band captured that magic more than 40 years ago and are yet to be bettered



Whether it’s London Calling by The Clash or Agadoo by Black Lace, the mark of a good pop song is one that will sink its hooks into the listener’s brain and refuse to let go.



And, be it the work of punk upstarts railing against the socio-political mores of modern Britain or a Eurovision-begetting novelty act given to dressing up as giant pineapples, all those songs started life in exactly the same way – as scribbled ideas on a notepad, the back of a cigarette packet or a cocktail napkin.



It’s precisely that journey that will be explored on the BBC from tonight as the network launches a two-month long celebration of and investigation into the craft of songwriting.



Called Secrets Of The Pop Song, the three-part series sees Guy Chambers – the man whose starry CV includes the co-writing credit on Robbie Williams’ mega-hits – dissect the art of penning perfect pop by collaborating with different artists to write a new song each week, while we at home track its progress from the written page to being performed live.



The series, featuring contributions from musical heavy-hitters like Sting and Brian May, will also see Chambers attempt to create a radio-friendly anthem with soul-rockers The Noisettes and team up with celebrated record producer Mark Ronson to score that elusive breakthrough single.



In the first episode though, Chambers will collaborate with American singer Rufus Wainwright to produce a timeless ballad, a skill that would appear to require an ingredient best referred to as ‘The Ex Factor’ – the ability to tap into one’s own heartbreak and channel it to pen a bona fide tear-jerker.



It’s something a lot of Welsh acts are more than acquainted with.



When his relationship with actress and society girl Sienna Miller went into very public free fall, Ruthin-raised actor Rhys Ifans threw himself into working with his rock band Y Peth, whose debut LP The Golden Mile included a tortured confessional called Stonefinger.



“Every little thing you said would break me. All of it came true. Every bit of love I give. You mock it, yes you do,” sang Ifans, before subsequently denying it was about Miller and adding that the lyrics had been penned before they’d even met.



Meanwhile, Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones, more used to singing about the minutiae of Valleys life, turned the spotlight on his own private affairs come album number four, You Gotta Go There To Come Back – the gravel-throated Cwmaman vocalist writing Rainbows And Pots Of Gold about his split from a childhood sweetheart.



But surely the peerless pop yardstick by which all else should be measured is Without You, the seminal effort from ill-fated Swansea band Badfinger.



Their 1970 chart-topping smash has since been recorded by more than 180 artists including Shirley Bassey, Harry Nilsson and Mariah Carey and was once described by The Beatles’ Paul McCartney as “the killer song of all time”.



Fellow Swansea star Steve Balsamo, for one, couldn’t agree more with the former Fab Four legend’s accolade.



“I suppose Macca’s more than a little qualified to comment as to what makes a good tune,” laughs the former West End Stage star-turned rocker.



“Without You is one of my favourite tracks of all time and a prime case of someone using a terrible heartache they’d suffered to inspire a musical moment that connects with everyone who hears it – which is what every songwriter worth their salt tries to achieve.”



Adding that its poignancy was only compounded by the group’s own tragic story – financial and legal woes led to two members of the group committing suicide tragically young – Balsamo says that the old adage of writing about what you know was crucial in creating something memorable.



“You have to pour yourself, good experiences and bad, into your work because all of us have the same feelings, wants, fears and needs; that stuff’s universal,” he smiles, recalling how he also took tips from another master of the trade.



“When my last band The Storys supported Elton John we’d all stand at the side of the stage watching him every night with our jaws on the floor.



“It was incredible just how many brilliant tunes that man has, from ballads like I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues to out-and-out pop numbers like I’m Still Standing – it was like being given a free pass to the best songwriting school in the world.”



So where do his songs find life?



“Like every other lyricist I used to jot ideas down whenever they came to me, so my house would be crammed with bits of paper with ideas written on them,” reveals Balsamo.



“Now it all goes into my Blackberry so my wife shouts at me less, and if I get inspired on the train or something I’ll lock myself in the toilet and quietly sing melodies into my voice recorder.”



He adds: “But that’s the beauty of it – you go into a room with nothing and, hopefully, you come out with something that’ll move people – alchemy, basically.



“True, you can be scientific about it, and a lot of jobbing songwriters watch the current trends and learn how to craft tunes to order for various different artists, and Guy Chambers is a great example of that.”



But Balsamo believes serendipity could have a role to play in what makes a song special.



“A mate of mine called Steve Booker had a huge success writing with Duffy on her first album and that only happened because he put his London flat on the market and she came round to view it and they got chatting,” he says.



“So perhaps it’s destiny that great tracks like Mercy are born, but maybe that’s just the old romantic in me.”

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Balsamo/deighton I dont know why


FORGET Abbey Road - Swansea band The Storys have chosen a little-known Llanelli studio to cut their new album.




 The six-piece outfit have decamped to the Sonic One Studio in Llangennech for their first stab at laying down material for their third album.

 The band was formed in 2003, with Steve Balsamo at the helm, playing a '70s West Coast-influenced country rock style. They have quietly built up a large fan base, which includes some major stars with Elton John personally calling the band to say how much he loved their debut album.

The move saw them support the rocket man at his Liberty Stadium gig last summer.

They have recently returned from touring Europe and headed straight into the studio owned by Tim Hamill, himself a musician of note as part of Mal Pope's band the Jacks.

 Steve said: "I've known Tim for almost 20 years, he used to have a studio in Kidwelly, but opened this place in 2005. It's a superb set-up and Tim is a great engineer, producer and a great guitarist. "It's very inspiring when you work with someone as fantastic as he is. The ideas just flow and he is so quick to put them down, it makes it an absolute joy - sometimes it can be like pulling teeth when you work with people who don't know what they are doing. "I have been all around the world and Tim is as good as anyone I've seen. It's also nice to keep it local."

Although a completion date has yet to be set, the band are likely to try out some of their new material in a special concert in the Brangwyn Hall, Swansea on February 26. "We will be showcasing it at the Brangwyn Hall gig - whatever songs get the biggest clap on the night will be going on the next record," the singer joked.

The Swansea gig will give the band's fan base a chance to meet the newest member, who, as Steve says, adds a touch of glamour to the line-up.

 "Unfortunately Dai Smith left the band last year, but has been replaced by a fantastic singer songwriter called Rosalie Deighton who has toured as a support act with the band over the last couple of tours," he said. "She really adds to our sound, she's a fantastic singer and a signed songwriter. Apart from the glamour, her fantastic voice brings great harmony. She really enhances the Storys

town beyond the trees


The Storys Following the release of TOWN BEYOND THE TREES in March of this year, the Storys have continued to go from strength to strength and ultimately shape their career as a long-standing Americana/country-rock band on the UK country music scene. A tricky start regarding the band's beginnings has meant they have all been ready for unhappy endings and tough times ahead, as Steve Balsamo explains: "'We started as songwriters trying to write the best songs we could. We soon had a load of good tunes and Dai and Rob set about producing what became our debut album in an old converted cinema in the Welsh valleys. It sounded great so we borrowed money from local gangsters and set up a label. We released the album and got some lovely reviews.

A label in Warners signed it and put some money into the project, which allowed us to tour overseas. We sold quite a few records, and Warners wanted us to make a second album. We went into Real World with Jon Kelly and made the album in 5 weeks, during which time everyone at our label was sacked and the label shut down! A great fan of the band and head of the label, Nick Stewart saved the day, by getting the album back for us.

So here we are at the beginning of the journey again!" From Swansea, the original six-piece band recently suffered a massive blow, when after five years with the band, Dai Smith on vocals and guitar decided to quit the Storys for his own musical endeavours. Announced officially on the website on September 9, Steve Balsamo said: "It's great news that Dai says he is feeling better, but unfortunate and sad that he decided to leave the band last Thursday. We all remain good friends and wish him the best of luck with all his musical endeavours, and of course wish him health and happiness. Steve, on behalf of the band." Obviously a shock for the band and coming at a really bad time, considering the following night they had a gig supporting Van Morrison, you cannot choose the time for something so cataclysmic, and as it is they are continuing forward with their many upcoming dates and projects.

 The band now stays as a five piece for the time being, consisting of Steve Balsamo on vocals and guitars, Andy Collins on vocals and bass, Rob Thompson on guitars and vocals, Brian Thomas on drums and percussion and Alan Thomas on keys, mandolin and banjo. Their style is often described as a '70s west-coast influenced sound,' but encapsulates deeply organic influential acoustics, crafted with passion, harmony and a masculine rush of adrenaline and compassion that ultimately shines through. With a sound that encompasses the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and the songwriting skills and talents that are now offered by three of the five members, the outcome is something quite extraordinary.

Welsh band get Elton's helping hand

Welsh band get Elton's helping hand
Mar 4 2006, Karen Price, Western Mail

A Welsh band chosen by Elton John to support him on his forthcoming UK stadium and arena tour are hoping his 'midas touch' will bring them major stardom. Relatively unknown, The Storys - featuring former West End star Steve Balsamo and five of his friends - set up their own label to release their debut album. But now the Swansea band, formed almost three years ago, is hoping for similar success to New York
sensations Scissor Sisters and chart-topper James Blunt, who have both achieved phenomenal success after receiving support from Sir Elton.

The superstar has been full of praise for The Storys after hearing a copy of their self-titled debut album.

'They have made a fantastic debut album, and I am really excited that they will be playing with me on tour,' said Sir Elton.

About three weeks ago, Balsamo received a call from his manager John Waller telling him to expect a call from The Piano Man himself.

'I said, 'Is this a joke?' And then Elton called up,' said Balsamo, who shot to fame in the
West End
playing Jesus Christ Superstar. 'He told me he had been given a copy of our album and couldn't stop playing it. He said he absolutely loved it and spent the next 10 minutes telling me how great he thought it was. He then asked if we would like to support him on tour. It's very hard to put into words how I felt. Someone I respect as an amazing artist and songwriter rates what we are doing. Afterwards I thought, 'Did he really call?""

The Storys also features Andy Collins, Dai Smith, Rob Thompson, Brian Thomas and Alan Thomas and they range in age from thirties to fifties. They recently signed a four-album deal with Warners and they describe their music as '70s West Coast-influenced. They are now preparing to perform to hundreds of thousands of music fans as part of Sir Elton's 11-date tour, which opens at MEN Arena,
Manchester, on May 29. There will be no performances in Wales
.

The Storys initially thought they would only be playing the stadiums. 'Elton called me back a week later and asked if we wanted to do the indoor arenas too.'

The band now hopes that some of Sir Elton's magic will help them on the road to major stardom.

His ability to spot great new musical talent is legendary. He brought Anastacia, Scissor Sisters and James Blunt to the attention of the public over the past few years. The first time he saw the Scissor Sisters perform live he proceeded to purchase a glut of their self-titled debut CDs and share them with all of his friends.

Since first gaining Sir Elton's support, they have headlined major festivals, such as the V Festival, played to millions with a storming set at Live 8, and won a clutch of industry awards, including three major prizes at last year's Brit Awards. Sir Elton is now collaborating with them on their new album.

He was also an early supporter of James Blunt. He dubbed You're Beautiful a fresh descendant of his 1970 breakthrough, Your Song. Blunt has now topped both the singles and album charts and last month he won two major Brit accolades, including Best British Male, and this week he topped the Billboard chart in
America
with You're Beautiful.

But Balsamo is not looking too far ahead. 'I would not like to be presumptuous at all really,' he said. 'It's just a great honour to play to a lot of people, which is exactly what we want to do. We are a live band but, of course, the idea of raising our profile and selling lots of records is attractive.'

The Storys -five-album deal





The Storys received a bumper Christmas gift this year, signing a five-album deal with the Warner Group record label.




The major deal means their recent release, The Storys, will be put out worldwide on Warner's Korova label.

Frontman Steve Balsamo says: "We are delighted. Wednesday, December 21, was an auspicious day to sign the deal. It was the winter solstice and it was also Dai's birthday.

"We did a bit of celebrating and played a great gig that night at the Ginglik Club in
London
."

The Storys are the first band to be signed to the relaunched Korova label. Steve says its rejuvenation is a sign of a positive move in the music industry to recognise diverse and mature tastes that are looking for something more substantial than pre-teen pop.

"I think since the success of acts like KT Tunstall and James Blunt, there is a move to meet more adult tastes."

On the back of the deal the band will head off to one of the most important music events in the international calendar, South By South West, out in Austin, Texas, in March.

Grandaddy of Grunge Neil Young will be there and other acts making the trip include KT Tunstall, Beth Orton, Tom Verlaine, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Death in Vegas.

The Storys will head off for mega music-networking shindig Midem, in Cannes
in January too.

Steve says his previous rocky deal with Sony gave him some invaluable experience.

"We are completely positive about this. They are taking the whole album, lock, stock and barrel, so we feel we are steering this one from the beginning.

"We have all been working so hard at this for so long. And we have put the record out on our own, so we know we can do it ourselves."
 

The Storys

What's the Storys?
Mar 10 2006, Gavin Allen, South Wales
Echo

His huge shadow hung over the conversation from the second it started. Plain fact: Welsh band The Storys have been handed the coveted support slot on Elton John's UK
tour.

"Totally surreal," said singer/guitarist Steve Balsamo. "Our manager called and said, Brace yourself. Elton John is going to call you in 10 minutes. So I spent 10 minutes dancing around the room and then he called, 'Hi Steve, it's Elton'. I have met a lot of famous people but I've never been so tripped out as I was speaking to him."

Elton's backing clearly pays off - just ask James Blunt, Anastacia, Ryan Adams or the Scissors Sisters.

"There's no guarantee it will happen for us, but if nothing else happens with this album, having Elton John validate the songs like that is worthwhile."

Validation is a big but accurate word and there's no hiding the fact that Balsamo is unashamedly parading that validation (who wouldn't?) hoping his career of aborted launches is finally paying off.

"I've been close a few times, yeah. I think we have a lot of respect from artists we have worked with, but we do want commercial success. In medicine, if you put in 12 years work you will be a consultant and we've put in our 12 years, we want our consultancy."

The six-strong
Swansea
outfit are in the middle of promotional work for the release of their self-titled debut album on March 27, the first of a five-album deal with label giant Warners.

Their unusual set-up of four singers - Balsamo plus Andy Collins (bass), Dai Smith (guitar) and Rob Thompson (guitar) with Brian Thomas (drums) and Alan Thomas (keyboards) - is bleached with experience and Radio 2 loves their 1970s West Coast influence.

"We were in a pub called the Red Lion in Barnes,
London
, after recording some Radio 2 sessions to have a celebratory drink and across the room the Gallagher brothers were drinking with Kasabian! It's moving so fast for us at the moment that it's important to sit down after every little achievement and celebrate it because you never know what's going to happen next."

Those words show Balsamo has trodden this road before and knows promises often lead nowhere.

"When I had a deal with Sony it was very much a case of 'Let's throw some money at it all and see what sticks'. But it feels very different this time. I hope it is."

steve Balsamo -debutalbum


Na onenigheid met platenmaatschappij Sony, ondervond steve's eerste album "all I am" grote problemen met het uitbrengen ervan. Maar achter de schermen bij de BBC wales talenten jacht "Just Up Your Street", straalt de walese zanger en acteur een verbazingwekkende zekerheid uit,terwijl hij zich voorbereidt om deze wedstrijd te jureren. Hij spreekt met ons over het kwaad dat muziekwereld heet en waarom Nashville werkelijk is wat het is.

Is, sinds de beëindiging van het contact met Sony, je motief om de muziekwereld in te gaan veranderd?
Nee, helemaal niet. Ik wilde de muziekwereld in omdat ik gek ben op muziek, en dat is nog steeds het geval. Muziek is een constant gegeven: iets wat nooit verandert. Maar wat ik heb geleerd over de platenindustrie de laatste jaren heeft mijn ogen werkelijk geopend. Je hebt muziek en de zakelijke kant ervan. Ze zouden eigenlijk niet samen moeten gaan.

Wat gebeurt er nu met "All I am"?
Ik promoot hem nu zelf nu de samenwerking met Sony officieel beëindigd is. Er was niks mis met het album, Alleen met de mensen die het wilden uitbrengen. Je gelooft die onzin niet. Er zijn echt geweldige platen gemaakt die de kans niet krijgen, en dat ligt aan de manier waarop die mensen werken. Maar het voelt geweldig om het heft nu in eigen handen te nemen.

Heb je in deze onrustige tijd nog gelegenheid gehad om nieuwe nummers te schrijven?
Oh, dat moet ik, absoluut! Ik schrijf iedere dag, waar ik ook ben, of het nu in de studio is of thuis met een dictafoon en mijn gitaar. Ik woon in Chiswick, net om de hoek bij Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones huis, dus er is inspratie genoeg.

Door dit album en Jesus Christ Superstar heb ik heel wat van de wereld gezien en het heeft me de gelegenheid gegeven te werken met de meest gewelidge musici. De gaafste klus was het schrijven met Tim Schmidt van the Eagles. Voor mij is dat altijd DÉ band geweest, The Eagles zijn je van het!

Het is moeilijk om van je musical-label af te komen. Sla je met je nieuwe nummers een andere richting in?

Ja, zeker. Ik had een reuze interessant musical-aanbod maar ik was ook bezig om een band samen te stellen. Ik nam mijn beslissing om het af te slaan in Nashville - vlakbij Cardiff, dat is de plaats waar ik gek op ben,waar ze musici echt waarderen.

Hoe dan ook, de band gaat Grand Canyon heten.
Ik wil 5 zangers op het podium en een band bestaande uit 5 leden die echt samen gaan werken. Het wordt een mix van the Eagles en Jackson Brown met een vleugje Crosby Stills and Nash - maar met een lading heftige beats. Wat David Gray deed voor Bob Dylan wil ik doen voor The Eagles. We zouden zelfs een tour kunnen doen met iemand zoals Wilco.

Wilco en Ryan Adams zij echt doorgebroken bij het grote publiek als songwriter. Hoe sta jij daar tegenover?
Ryan Adams is fantastisch. Ik denk echt dat goede songwriters meer gewaardeerd worden tegenwoordig. Ik denk ironisch genoeg dat dat het enige positieve is wat uit deze popster-onzin is voorgevloeid. Ze zeggen in shows tegenwoordig meer over songwriters. En wanneer ze een nummer op de radio draaien zeggen ze nu ook wie het nummer geschreven heeft, of het nu Cathy Dennis of Don Henley of Tom Waits is.

Cardiff, London, Nashville... wat is het volgende?
Ik vind het momenteel heerlijk om in Londen te wonen maar ik ben in veel plaatsen geweest en Cardiff is echt één van de meest levendige plaatsen in de wereld. Het is zó veranderd - Ik snap echt niet waar al het geld vandaan komt. Ik heb de theorie dat ze olie onder de baai hebben en het niet iedereen vertellen. Ja, ik vind het heerlijk om hier terug te komen.

Steve Balsamo -FROM SWANSEA TO GETHSEMANE, THEN GIBRALTAR


FROM SWANSEA TO GETHSEMANE, THEN GIBRALTAR

 Alice Mascarenhas and Jonathan Sacramento Interview Vocalist Steve Balsamo

 Steve Balsamo is not just a two-dimensional singer, he is a student of the voice who has drafted into his repertoire a range of influenced from different cultures, including Western and even Mongolian throat singing. Steve not only has an incredible voice, but is fascinated with the effect of the voice on mood and emotion, and is constantly on the look out for new techniques and new teachers to learn from.Most famous for his fabulous rendition as Jesus in the 20anniversary production of Andrew Lloyd Weber's Jesus Christ Superstar, Steve's career has already seen him display a range of talents, from rock bands, to musicals, and now his pop record 'All I Am'.

Yet the young man from Swansea is humble enough to keep his feet firmly planted on the ground. You don't describe yourself as a musicals singer/actor despite the fact that you've come across very well in both the musicals you've done. Why is that? I don't describe myself as anything other than a singer. The route I took back home was firstly to come through Jesus Christ Superstar, that's how I got recognition. I was singing in bands and writing songs before that, but I really got recognised when I got the part of Jesus in 1997.I was able to, luckily, make the leap from that into pop music. Superstar was such a high profile thing I was recognised by record companies.

What was your experience like in Jesus?Playing Jesus was is hard thing. I did a lot of research, read a lot of books, went to see a lot of plays, watched a lot of films. Probably every culture in the world has some sort of image of the crucifixion scene, so performing that over 400 times and keeping it fresh was not easy. It becomes very tiring, and also takes its toll on the voice- there was no drinking, smoking or partying for a year to keep it fit.

Was it something you'd think of doing again?I may do, I never ruled anything out. I never set out to be a musicals actor or singer, I set out to be a singer and this is one of the things that was part of a pre-destined route in my career.I am currently involved in a project by Eric Wolfson (the writer in the Alan Parsons project) who's written a musical based on Edgar Allan Poe. We've recorded a record which will be released in Germany and Holland in September. It's a 'rock concept' musical kind of like what Superstar was when it came out.What was your favourite song from JCS?My favourite songs were probably the Judas songs, I think they are better songs. But of course Gethsemane was the song I was recognised for.I know Andrew Lloyd Weber liked the performance very much, he was there during rehearsals and he was very complimentary and supportive.

How did you get to Notre Dame de Paris from Superstar?I got asked to do that. It was a huge phenomenon in France, I was working with Sony at the time and Sony records were putting out an English version. I think that having done something as high profile as Superstar people know what I can do, and even though I still have to audition, I am in the position that people are forthcoming in asking me to play parts.

What direction do you want to take now?I released an album with Sony Records aimed at the pop market, which was great and I had some amazing fun. It was a personal expression of where I was at the time. Now I'm part of a new band comprising four or five different singers who are all fantastic, and four or five writers who are all fantastic. I don't take the lead vocals on some of the songs- there's a lot of harmonising and is really going back to the music I grew up listening to. It's a little rockier than my album, but that's how I started, playing in rock bands in Wales.You grew up in South Wales, which has become an excellent breeding ground for musicians over the last few years.

Why do you think this is? I tell you something, South Wales has been an amazing breeding ground for musicians for a long time. What the industry didn't do is go down there. 25 years ago Ireland was the butt of British jokes, but they reinvented themselves and put an infrastructure in place to nurture talent. Then you had really amazing bands like U2 come out of there. Around five to seven years ago- in my view- the music industry exhausted talent in England, Ireland and Scotland, and looked to Wales. There is a huge music scene in Wales, and bands like Catatonia and Stereophonics have emerged 100 years ago, people who used to work underground in mines for six days a week used to come out on Sundays and sing in chapels and churches. This huge choir society grew up from that. I'd love to see a merging of American Gospel music with Welsh male voice choirs.Gibraltar has been linked with the Southwest of Britain in time for the European Elections.

Do you identify any cultural ties between Gibraltar and Wales?Gibraltar is very much like Wales. Because it's so small, you always know what everyone else is doing, and there's a great in interest in other people. There's also a great music scene here. We've been here a couple of days and we've seen more than twenty bands in concerts and jam sessions. There's a Welsh sort of feeling here, which is very much like Wales, and some of the roads and areas in Gibraltar remind me of Swansea. We were walking down Main Street the other day and I thought we were in Neath.

What sort of reception have you had from the Gibraltarian people?Very good. It's very exciting. Some of the VIPs are part of my new band and we've written a lot of new songs, so it's been really exciting to have the chance to play some of these songs for the first time. We had a feeling they were good, but we've had the chance to play them for audiences without any pressure because nobody knows us here. It's nice to get a fresh set of ears. When something is new, on a spiritual level it's a good indication of how something is going to carry through ultimately.

Steve about his childhood

THREE months after the death of his beloved mother pop heartthrob Steve Balsamo today speaks movingly of his loss and his happy childhood.

In an exclusive interview with
Wales on Sunday Steve, 29, recalls growing up in Swansea
and opens his heart about his mum Elaine's death from lung cancer earlier this summer.

``Everyone was present at her death,'' says Steve. ``Andrew, Michael and me (Steve's brothers) were all singing and we could all feel in harmony with each other. It was beautiful and profound.

``She died three months ago from lung cancer, she was 62 and she was first diagnosed fifteen months earlier, the doctors said she had only three months to live. ``Before she died I said, `When you go, come back,' and she has, I've seen her.

``My mum was a big Jim Reeves' fan and I'm going to record I Love You Because for her, and me, one day.''

Musically, Steve is celebrating the release of his long-awaited new album All I Am. He is fast establishing himself as one of
Britain
's finest singer-songwriters. Here, he unveils a variety of photos from his youth. They reveal a time full of dodgy barnets, angelic looks, dubious tank-tops, curtains ahead of their time and a dad with an uncanny resemblance to Austin Powers.

Welcome to Steve's world.

BABE IN ARMS

I LOVE these pictures of me with Mum aged a few weeks, right and about eight months, above. I'm about to sneeze in the top one. My mum, Elaine, loved watching TV, she was a soapaholic.

I get my stubborn streak from mum. Along with Dad she tried to instil honesty, manners and being polite. Mum told me not to swear, dad didn't mind so much! My mum didn't do any outside work, she was totally devoted to her boys. Most people say I take after my mum, I've got her eyes and a bit of my dad's nose.

Michael looks like me and Andrew looks like my dad.

POODLE POWER

EIGHT months old and I still have the poodle. I love toys. My first musical toy was a small piano and I also had a wind-up TV that played`Row, row, row the boat gently down the stream.' Mum said I'd sing myself to sleep, I was very serene.

I loved Action Man, and I used to play war games with Marcus Hopkins next door. I love children and the idea of being a dad in the future and learning from them is very appealing to me.

BROTHERLY LOVE

I'M 18 months older than my brother Andrew, here wearing the football shirt. He's a lovely guy and started singing before me - he's got a band as well. We were thick as thieves when we were young, we hardly ever fought but we made mischief.

We'd give Mum hell and sometimes we'd fight over girls. We've always been close but with mum dying that brought everyone closer. I feel very protective towards Andrew. Our brother, Michael came later - he's taller and looks like Tom Cruise!

SUNDAY SCHOOL

THINK this was taken in
Argyle Street in Swansea
, the street where I used to live,outside the Glamorgan pub. remember going to Sunday school which is ironic when you consider I went on to play Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar.

was conscientious at school, I enjoyed art and had great days at St Helen's in
Swansea
and then Dynevor Comprehensive. When Mum was ill I came back to see her as often as could and I met some familiar faces.

MISCHIEF MAKERS

I'M about six-years-old here with Andrew, cousin
Sian
and my nana Ivy in the background.

Andrew looks like he wants to get up to some mischief.

Sian
's got two kids now. We had great fun in those days.

The last big family get together we had was for John, my grandfather's 90th birthday a couple of years ago. He died a few months later but it was a great family occasion.

My uncle Gerwen, got up and sang miners' songs and Andrew, Mike and me sang some songs acappella.

LITTLE ANGEL

I LOVE that shirt! I was about six then and I never went to bed early used to drive my mother crazy. All kids go through phases and I wentthrough mine when I was about 15, I was very keen on music, and girls of course.

was always asking big questions about God. Dad was into philosophers like Kant and I'd go through phases of, `What's it all about?' I'm still searching. Now I'm doing a course on Gurdjieff.

MULLET ALERT

LOOK at that hair, I sure don't recognise that guy! This was After Dark, the band I was in - from left to right: Lino, Stuart, Rhod, Steve, Miles. This was taken between 1989 and 1991.Stuart wrote all the songs, I learnt a lot from him and we were really good, doing 80s melodic rock like Bon Jovi. I heard some of our songs recently and didn't wince as much as thought would.''

MUSICAL AWAKENING

JESUS Christ Superstar was my early musical break, but some of my earliest music memories are of dad belting out Mario Lanza and my mum doing Jim Reeves love songs.

Jealousy motivated me to sing at 17 when I suspected my girlfriend loved Jon Bon Jovi more than me!

YEAH, BABY!

ME at 18 months with Dad on the beach - look out Austin Powers!

My girlfriend
Tracy spotted the similarity, he has got a bit of Tony Blackburn too! This was taken in Venice
, where my dad, Luciano, who is very fun and loving, was born.

When I have a beard I look like my dad - sometimes I look in the mirror and see him. I'm fine with that, it's good to accept that your parents are part of you.

I think if you run from that idea you quickly become like your parents.

I've definitely got my dad's Latin temper which combined with my Welsh blood is an explosive mix. But I rarely lose it, I'm a placid guy. I don't know if I'll resemble Austin Powers when I get older but I'm a fan of Mike Myers, just give me the girls! I'd pose nude again for the right price - about a tenner!

IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR

VERY 70s wallpaper! And love those curtains, they're hip again now! My taste is simple and I do like retro styles though I wouldn't say my flat is like Gracelands!

This was taken at Uncle Amleto's in
Swansea
, like dad he's a chef and he cooks amazing food. Mum was expecting Michael at that time in this photo.

The best thing my parents taught me was not to be afraid, to have a go at anything, if you want to do it give it a go.

A lot of parents are career-minded when it comes to their children but mine said that if you want to do it go for it.

I remember coming home to my dad and saying, `I'm going to be a singer'.

He said: `Go on then.' I think he sensed how much wanted it.

STEVE'S new album and single of the same name, All I Am, are both out now. You can see Steve on HTV's Pop Factory on Friday September 27 at
11.40pm

BREATHING DEEPLY - Steve Balsamo


BREATHING DEEPLY - Steve Balsamo

An Exclusive Interview

(2009-03-14)

Your performance as Jesus in the 1996 London production of Jesus Christ Superstar is unforgettable. How did you get the part?

I was in a show with another actor, and he was sick of everyone moaning about an agent, so he said: when we finish this show, I’ll become an agent. Truly enough, he became an agent and I went back to write songs and so on. A couple of years later he called me and asked what I was doing and I said I was still trying to write music and get a deal. He asked me if I wanted to audition for the part of Jesus in Superstar, and I said yeah, I’d love to. He came and listened to me singing the song.
He thought it was amazing so he called the guy who was casting it. So I went to the audition and that famous casting director saw me and cried, and after 14 auditions over the next year, I got the part. It was crazy, because I had no acting experience and they wanted to know if I could take direction. They eventually needed to match me up with Judas, to see if we were great together. The guy was called Zubin Varla, and he is a brilliant actor and we were great together voicewise. It was a very long process… and a couple of months after opening night I got a recording contract. It was all I wanted to do, and they even asked me to stay. The show had some great reviews, I had some great reviews, too. I loved that period of my life. It was an incredible learning experience, working with so many great actors and so many great musicians.


How did you prepare for the part actingwise?

I don’t come from an acting background, but I’m very good at watching people and learning very quickly. In any given situation I can clearly see what needs to be done or doesn’t need to be done. The director, Gale Edwards said: the less you do, the greater the smallest gesture may become. And I took that literally and metaphorically, and I was kind of ’reducing’ the performance to the essentials over the year .
Zubin Varla, who played Judas, was so generous with his ideas and tips, it was a fantastic experience working with him and it was easy to react to and with him.
Besides, I read lots of books and watched lots of films and talked to people who played Jesus before and I listened to every Jesus there was at the time. It was a kind of a mixture of watching and learning very very quickly and ’stealing’ from everybody.


How demanding was it to play the part eight times a week?

It was extremely demanding, but rather physically than vocally. For I took care of my voice, I did not drink or smoke or party like many of my collagues. It was essential to keep my voice in shape, for it was my debut in a leading role in the West End. So I had no problems with the vocal part, but phsyically it was a huge task; e. g. just think of carrying the cross so many times… My back was in a desperate condition by the end of the run.
However, this period was and is a greatly memorable, vital part of my life.


Getshemane is a song you performed on many stages of the world, always with huge success. Has the way you perform it changed over the years?

It has changed very much, for I was 24 or 25 when I first performed it, and now I am 37. Since then, I’ve experienced death and the loss of my mother; I got to know a lot more about myself… or, in a way, less…. If I look back on my birthday, it is always interesting to realize, how much the song has changed again. It is growing and developing, and my voice is also changing as well. It’s very strange, it has changed a lot, and yet, it hasn’t changed at all. I think it’s fantastic that destiny made me to play that all. It was my path and journey to play it.
I perform the song next time at a charity concert in
Greenwich on 22 March.


Would you ever decide to play the part again?

Yes, I would, though I’d prefer to play Judas, because I think I’ve done everything I can with Jesus. I’ve changed physically and vocally as well, and the part of Judas would be a new and exciting task for me.

What other musicals would you like to take part in?

I took part in a musical entitled Poe; we recorded a studio album, and the premiere would have taken place in Germany, but it did not happen, for reasons I am not sure of.
However, I prefer creating the role entirely by myself, for it is such an exciting task. Not that I don’t like Jean Valjean, for instance, one of my favourites as well as the Phantom, who I’ d love to play.


Your band, The Storys is increasingly popular all over the world. Would you tell me the brief story of The Storys?

At the time when we formed the band, I had been through a very tough period: my mum had died, which is an incredible loss in my life. I was in desparate need of something new: I was even thinking of living the life of a Bohemian, drinking wine, painting etc, Nevertheless, music is so deeply in my soul that I could not live without it. I had an idea of forming a West Coast harmony band. At that time – around 2003 – Rob Thompson, who was in my solo band project, and I got together and started writing very quickly. Things moved fast, we formed a band and made a record. We had some great reviews, so we started to play everywhere and anywhere clubs, in pubs, etc.
Later on, when we signed to Warner Bros., I got to know that Elton John is a huge fan of our music and he even called me to tell this and to offer us the opportunity to play as a support during his European tour, which was an unbelievable experience.
Fortunately, success came along with more albums, and we also had the chance to support stars like Celine Dion or Joe Cocker.
 
Can you share with us some of your personal interests?
What are your hobbies?


I want to keep fit, so I do running. I am also interested in arts, in painting and I like esoteric reading very much. I am trying to educate mysef about quantum physics and how quantum physics and the spiritual cross over. The old thoughts of spiritual connection, mind-reading and the psyche… all of these are exciting topics for me.
Besides, I am planning to go back to school to finish my degree in painting that I started several years ago.


How would you describe your philosophy of life?

That’s a deep question, even if I think about this all the time. The thing I am sure of that my soul and beliefs all root in music that makes us who we are. It may sound cliché, but I try to be in the moment, live the moment and just breath deeply.

What are your plans for the future?

The members of The Storys would like to do solo albums, so I will record one as well. Besides, I try to enjoy as much time as possible with my family. It’s such a joy watching my daughter growing up. I try to remain focused spiritually, enjoy the moment and live as full a life as possible.

What is your biggest dream?

This is not an easy question either, but I think my biggest dream is that The Storys becomed very succesful, selling millions of records worldwide.

You seem to be a person who is satesfied with his life. Am I right?

I try to be… But, you know that’s a strange thing… what is success? Is it 1 million pounds in the bank or an overall feeling of happiness? By the way, I don’t have 1 million pounds in the bank (yet! :) ), so I can’t tell you how it feels like, but success is built from many different angles… I’m satesfied with the things I've achieved, the respect I get as a singer and a writer, but I am always trying to reach even higher… And I won’t forget to breath deeply...

Daniel Vincze

19 February 2006 - Wales on Sunday - Nathan Bevan - My Story Has a Sting in it's Tail

He's not the Messiah. In fact, he's not even a very naughty boy. Actually, it's hard to imagine former Jesus Christ Superstar, er, superstar Steve Balsamo doing anything as stereotypically rock and roll as trashing a hotel room or sending a TV set sailing into the night from a top floor window. Indeed, I get the impression that if he so much as spilled his camomile tea on the bed-sheets he'd be straight on the phone to reception to ask for a cloth to clean up with.

"It's true, we are the politest men in rock," said the 34-year-old one-time
West End
board-treader, referring to the equally genial bandmates who make up hotly-tipped West Coast-style rockers The Storys. "You've got to be nice to people all the time," he added, "because it's like Ozzy Osbourne said, the people you meet on your way up are the same ones you'll see on your way back down again."

Relaxing in a plush red leather booth of a swanky
Swansea eatery and looking thoroughly rakish and dapper with his shoulder-length hair and black linen suit, the Swansea-born singer certainly knows all about the ups and downs of show business. From his earliest memories of his Italian dad, a chef from Venice
, belting out Mario Lanza standards, to the country songs his Welsh mum would sing him to sleep with, music has been in Steve's blood. Aged 17 and prompted by jealousy over his then-girlfriend's teenage crush on Jon Bon Jovi, he would trawl the decidedly unglamorous pub and club circuit of South Wales in various bands, belting out classic rock covers to regulars who'd take umbrage with the fact their bingo night was being disrupted.

"I remember one place in Bridgend years ago someone tried to strangle me as I was singing, which, as criticism goes, seemed a bit harsh," laughed Steve. "The bouncer - this big, hard, black guy with white tattoos - stepped in and really saved my bacon."

At 21 he swapped the spit and sawdust of workingmen's locals for the smell of the greasepaint and the roar of the crowd, his impressive three-and-a-half octave vocal range having landed him a role in a touring production of Les Miserables - or The Glums as it's known in
Swansea
. "That came as a hell of a culture shock," said the self-confessed pints-not-tights man. I was surrounded by people who'd been to theatre school and all I could do was watch them and pick things up quickly. Luckily, I'm a fast learner."

Steve shot to fame, and saw his face plastered across bus shelters nation-wide, when he landed the lead in Andrew Lloyd-Webber's musical Jesus Christ Superstar. With just one televised performance, it's said Steve caused ticket sales for the show to go stratospheric, selling more than £160,000 worth in 30 minutes.

But the desire to be a pop star was still as strong as ever. "To be honest, I could have stuck with it and earned myself a flaming fortune, but I only went into Superstar to get a recording contract out of it, and five months into the run that's exactly what happened," he said.

So, in 1997, he left behind a lucrative career as Lord Lloyd-Webber's cash cow to go his own way - but his solo career stalled when he was dropped by his record label five years later. "They ploughed a lot of money into making my record but there was all sorts of restructuring going on and people started losing their jobs," said Steve. "I'd waited for years to be signed and put something out there with my name on it, and just as I was on the brink...," he said, his voice trailing off as he drops his head into his hands in mock exasperation. "Ah well, let's just call it a bad case of musicus interruptus!"

But he remains philosophical about the whole episode. "Look, I had a big record deal, met a lot of great people and travelled the world - to me that's success. And if things hadn't happened how they did I would never have met the guys."

Along with 'the guys' - five other like-minded souls with a love for bands like The Eagles, Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac - he decamped to an old cinema-turned-social club in Glyncorrwg, near Neath, called The Hall. "We went for a few weeks to rehearse and ended up staying a year," laughed Steve. Everyone was really nice to us, we'd try the songs out on them, then they'd buy us pints if they liked them."

They also got an inkling they were doing something right when they did a session for seminal Radio Two DJ Whisperin' Bob Harris. "We told him how we wrote most of the material sitting around in our guitarist Rob's kitchen in Sandfields and he said that Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young had done exactly the same in Joni Mitchell's kitchen in Topanga Canyon in California when they were starting out. We just thought, 'Perfect!'"

Although their self-titled debut album isn't even out until next month, they've already been rubbing shoulders with royalty, both of the rock variety and otherwise. "Our first proper gig was in front of about 70,000 people at the Olympic Torch event in the mall outside
Buckingham Palace
," said a disbelieving Steve. "We were on with the likes of Rod Stewart and James Brown - not bad company, eh?! Mind you, the organisers did make us clear up afterwards," he laughed.

And, with The Storys snapped up by Warners Records before Christmas, Steve - who recently returned to his
West Wales hometown with his long-term partner Tracy after 10 years in London
- knows he's a lucky man. "We begged, borrowed and stole to make this record and put our own label together, so even if there's no major label involved, it won't matter. We made it ourselves, it's exactly what we wanted and we're so proud of it. It's real music and people seem to want to have real music again."

Calling up a picture on his mobile phone of his six-month-old baby daughter Isabella, a mop of cute brown curls and bows sitting at his piano, Steve looks up and beams. "Not many get a chance like this for a second shot, and we're gonna go for it."

Steve Balsamo -Biography


Steve Balsamo was born in Wales om 19 may 1971. His father, a chef from Venice, his mother Welsh.

 At school, Steve was dismissed from the choir, being told he could not sing. He channelled his creative leanings into art and attended art school to specialise in painting.

 At the age of 17, Steve once again started singing and songwriting again, forming several bands that toured pubs and clubs doing renditions of classic rock songs.He had jobs that included a stint as a piano remover and working at Port Talbot steelworks - in between bouts on the dole - taken to support himself whilst gigging, Steve secured a place at Bristol University to study Graphic Art. He turned it down to accept a place at a local music college, where he fatefully played the role of Jesus in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar. In the meantime, Steve picked up a guitar, taught himself to play and continued to write songs.

Around this time, Steve attended a workshop in Cardiff run byThe Prince's Trust for unemployed musicians. So successful was Steve's performance, that he was asked to open The Prince's Trust Masters of Music at Hyde Park in 1996. The Who ,Alanis Morissette Eric Clapton Bob Dylan were among those who entertained the 150,000 fans that day.

After a friend mentioned to Steve that Andrew Lloyd Webber was looking for a performer to play the part of Jesus. Seizing the opportunity to showcase his 3½ octave range voice, Steve was determined to get the part. Despite his lack of West End experience, Steve won the role of Jesus from the thousands who auditioned, leading to a memorable headline about the origins of the Son of God. His performance was a revelation and his face was seen on bus shelters across the capital.

On one television performance from the show he not only had Andrew Lloyd Webber weeping, but also managed to sell £160,000 worth of tickets to "Superstar" in half an hour.

 Steve signed to Columbia Records and started writing and recording his first album, "All I Am", which was released in September 2002 to great reviews. The debut single from the album, "Sugar for the Soul" even cracked the UK Top 40, was a frequently-requested favourite on The Box music channel and led to a TOTP2 appearance for Steve. The second single from the album, "All I Am", even became Ken Bruce's single of the week on Radio 2.

 Since leaving Clumbia Records , Steve has formed a band with some friends from back home in Wales. They have called themselves The Storys and they consist of Andy Collins (bass/vocals/songwriting), Dai Smith (guitar/vocals/songwriting), Alan Thomas (keyboards), Brian Thomas (drums/percussion) and Rob Thompson (guitar/vocals/songwriting) and they have a sound that is described as "raw, rocking, with influences of the Eagles Led Zeppelin and Badfinger".

The band were personally chosen to support Elton John during his 2006 stadium tour. Their debut album has been released on Korova Records.

 Steve and Storys bandmate Rob have also been working on progrock project CD ChimpanA, which Steve's vocals feature on. In January 2009, Birmingham artists Dave Cureton and Adam Gough released their debut album, "IOEarth" on which Steve appears as guest vocalist on three tracks. Steve can be seen on their myspace in a brief interview about their unusual style of "genre-defying" music. Also noteworthy is that one of Steve's IOEarth tracks marks the first time that his Mongolian throat singing talents have been showcased on any album. The album is available exclusively via the band's official website