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Broadway Soul, Vol. 1


Artist: Kyle Taylor Parker
Label: Broadway Records
RRP: £12.99
Release Date: 16 August 2019

Broadway Records has released Kyle Taylor Parker's debut album: Broadway Soul, Vol. 1. Drawn from and inspired by Kyle Taylor Parker’s hit series The Soul Sessions, the album reimagines Broadway classics with an R&B twist. Featuring an eclectic array of songs from musicals as diverse as Anything Goes, The Phantom of the Opera, Next to Normal, The Wiz, Hairspray and more, putting soulful vocals on display...

Kyle Taylor was originally cast as an Angel in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots and eventually went on to headline the First National Tour of Kinky Boots as Lola and later became the first actor to replace Tony Award-winning Billy Porter in the role on Broadway. Over the last decade Kyle has been seen on Broadway, television, and on some of the most celebrated stages in the country including the Apollo and Radio City Music Hall. Kyle moved on from Kinky Boots to be featured in the original Broadway cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Smokey Joe’s Café revival Off Broadway, and NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live!

In 2017 Kyle started a series of YouTube videos called The Soul Sessions with collaborator Joshua Stephen Kartes. The pair would take popular songs from the Broadway canon and outfit them as soul standards. This video series quickly became a live concert series... which eventually led to Broadway Records releasing this collection of 10 songs (36 min, 52 sec). I was slightly disappointed that there weren't a few more tracks, as I could have listened to much more in a similar vein.

Of the record, Kyle says, "As a kid I would check out Broadway cast recordings and solo albums from the public library, close my eyes and imagine the performances. I’d escape the sometimes challenging realities of living in the Midwest and imagine myself front row with the greats. Enraptured in the force and presence of Lillias White’s voice on the Actor’s Fund Dreamgirls recording, enchanted by the charming coos of Bernadette Peters at Carnegie Hall and inspired by Billy Porter At the Corner of Broadway and Soul, I was comforted and dreamed of the day when I would move to the big city and make my mark on the great white way. I wanted to make an album that brought Broadway to the listener in a way they’d never thought of it. This album is dedicated to my twelve-year-old self sitting on his bedroom floor eyes shut tight wanting nothing more than to be a part of it all."

For lovers of soul and musical theatre (a strange mix, I'll grant you) this is an incredible mashup of both genres. It might just entice some soul fans to explore the delights that musical theatre has to offer... and vice versa.

An engaging listen and I'm very much hoping that a second volume will be released soon.

Track listing:

01. Anything Goes
02. I’m Alive
03. Out Tonight
04. Think of Me
05. Ol’ Man River
06. I Feel Pretty
07. No Bad News
08. Run and Tell That
09. Do You Hear the People Sing?
10. We Are Young


Nick Smithson

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