Thursday, April 17, 2014

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
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.'

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