"I dont mind living in a man's world as long as I can be a woman in it." ~Marilyn Monroe

"I don't mind living in a man's body as long as I can be a woman in it." ~VinVin Jacla

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Missing...then seeing BLAKE (Let's get to know 'em)

October 31, 2011

I had a scheduled dinner with my friends on the night that the group BLAKE was to perform in Greenbelt 5. So, obviously I didn't get to see the guys and watch them perform. *sigh*

Not that I regret having dinner with my friends that night. Of course, that's not the case.

It's just that...well....I missed BLAKE! CHOZ!

Luckily, though, I was able to see them right after their performance. But it was only from afar....


I immediately recognized that it was them because they were wearing suits. They were so hot! Teehee!

And they were surrounded by some bodyguards as well, so, I wasn't able to get near them. Too bad. I didn't know where they were heading at that time, but, perhaps, they were gonna have dinner somewhere in Greenbelt 5.

I hope they'll still go back to the Philippines soon. Soon.

I started liking BLAKE ever since I first heard of their cover of one of my most fave songs of all time, Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. Check out their Facebook page to listen to their very lovely and soothing rendition of this song.

I love BLAKE!!!

Ok, anyhow, let's get to know BLAKE some more.

photos from Facebook / Suzie Jane Evans

From Facebook:

From forming on Facebook in 2007 to winning the Album of the Year Award at the Classical BRITs 2008, it has been an extraordinary journey so far for these four exceptional young singers. Bridging the gap between pop and opera, their classically trained voices are of unusual purity, and are perfectly showcased on their eponymous debut album. Their achievement of winning the publicly voted Album of the Year award is underlined by the fact that theirs is only the second debut album to have ever won the acclaimed title.

Their meteoric rise to stardom has resulted in acclaim from celebrities worldwide. In an early indication of the fame to come, Keira Knightley interrupted the recording of their debut album to say how much she loved their sound. Latterly, they’ve hung out with Will Smith, and Ewan Macgregor has even proclaimed himself a fifth member of the band. They’ve sung for Shirley Bassey (at her 70th birthday party), performed in front of 80,000 football fans at Wembley Stadium, and are managed by the same company as international icons Bryan Ferry and Darcey Bussell (The TCB Group).

Little did the boys know what was to come when they first got in touch with each other on the social networking site Facebook. Days after forming they had a major label record deal, and following that they were dispatched to a top flight studio to record songs for their debut album. Stephen Bowman, 27, recalls that despite only singing together a handful of times, “the sound clicked instantly; it was remarkable. It’s extremely rare to get four voices which enhance each other to produce such a distinctive sound, but with us it just worked”.

Ollie Baines, 25, reminisces: “we were suddenly in the studio with state of the art equipment, working up our own tailored arrangements to classic tunes. It was a phenomenal experience, and it was fantastic that we were allowed such a degree of control. We were, and are, extremely proud of the album that resulted”.

The summer of 2007 saw their version of the ‘Swing Low’ chosen to be the Official Anthem of England Rugby for the English team’s heroic effort in the Rugby World Cup. They roused fans with their live performance of this iconic number at venues as diverse as Twickenham Stadium and the Eurostar terminal at Waterloo.

Numerous TV appearances and interviews followed, as the boys became caught up in the whirlwind of public attention. Legendary Hollywood filmscore composer Hans Zimmer asked them to sing on the soundtrack for the sequel to the Da Vinci Code, “Angels and Demons”.

Their debut album ‘Blake’ was released in November 2007. It immediately went to number one in the UK Classical Album Chart and hit the top 20 of the UK Pop Album Chart. The polished fusion of classical music and pop, incorporating beautiful versions of the Beach Boys’ ‘God Only Knows’, the Gladiator theme music and other classical songs (all recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) proved a hit with the British public. Within three weeks the album attained gold status in the UK, and it has now gone on to sell in excess of 100,000 copies. During their time slot for the BBC TV Children In Need appeal last year, Blake were delighted to help raise in excess of £1,000,000.

The nomination for Album of the Year followed in early 2008, as did their sold out London debut concert, and before long they were at the Royal Albert Hall, delivering an acceptance speech for an award for a CD, that they had only recorded twelve months ago. It was an emotional moment for all of them. Dom Tighe, 25, says “it was honestly the night of our lives. This was an award that we had worked incredibly hard for and it was just great to see that the public had been so supportive”.

But the UK has only been the start of their career. They’ve recently returned from a triumphant promotional tour of Japan, sponsored by the luxury jewellers Cartier, and singing on the soundtrack for an advertisment, for car giant Toyota. Their touring commitments in their home country are already considerable – they are performing with Katherine Jenkins on a stately homes tour of the UK that starts at Hampton Court, and takes in Belvoir Castle, Waddesdon Manor and other superb stages. And December will bring a full support tour with Katherine Jenkins, at legendary venues such as the Manchester MEN Arena, London’s Royal Albert hall, the Cardiff Arena and the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow.

And, somewhere amongst these commitments, the group will be returning to the studio in order to record their second album. The quartet are keeping the material they will be recording a closely guarded secret, but suffice to say that their second album will be another great achievement in an astonishing musical career that is only just beginning.

And now...let's get to know the guys!

OLIVER BAINES, (Date of Birth: 23.11.82)

There is nothing, it seems, to which Oliver can’t turn his hand. Despite admitting that the male line of his family are close to tone deaf, Oliver luckily managed to inherit his mother’s talent for singing and playing the piano.

From the age of 8 Oliver received professional classical music training, singing all over the world before he was 13; he to sang in several choirs, both large and small. At the age of 17, he was accepted into the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, joining them for their world tour in 2003.

After leaving school, Oliver began a degree in music technology. ‘But this left me unsatisfied musically, and I wanted to spend more time performing music than studying it,’ says Oliver, who comes from Wiltshire and describes himself as eclectic – even slightly eccentric. ‘It wasn’t until my teacher said I had a career in singing that I had the confidence to go and train professionally. After that I was determined to get into Music College, and studied at the Guildhall School of Music’.

‘We’re not a manufactured group and this shows because we’ve been allowed such a huge amount of creative control. We chose the repertoire ourselves and all the tracks are original because every single song has been completely re-arranged. We feel we really are a unique quartet.’
because we’ve been allowed a huge amount of creative control. We chose the repertoire ourselves and all the tracks are original because every single song has been completely re-arranged. We really are a one-off quartet.’

JULES KNIGHT, (Date of Birth: 22.09.81)

Singing is in Jules’s blood. The youngest of four siblings - all gifted choristers - Jules was mimicking melodies before he could even talk. ‘I was always singing as a baby. I was sensitive to sounds and different tones,’ explains Jules, who comes from Sussex and became a chorister at Winchester Cathedral at the age of seven. Jules sung solos in venues such as the Sydney Opera House by the age of thirteen.

After winning choral scholarships to Eastbourne College and Wells Cathedral, Jules developed a second passion - this time for acting which he combined with his singing talent, playing the lead in many musicals and plays. Having completed an MA at St Andrew’s University, he won a place at London’s prestigious Central School of Speech and Drama, where he completed a second Masters degree.

‘Going to drama school has taught me to put emotion into singing. Every line should be driven by it, otherwise it doesn’t mean anything,’ explains Jules, who describes himself as the more feisty member of the group.

‘Blake is not just about high quality voices. We have personality, energy and all of us have an innate musicality which gives us a fresher, newer sound different from anything before us.’

While Stephen acts as the pacifier of the quartet, Jules is a firebrand. ‘I like to shake things up,’ grins Jules, ‘I’m the cheeky one who is impulsive and spontaneous.’


Not only is Dominic a talented singer, but he is also an accomplished and established actor. His childhood was steeped in classical music when he was a chorister for Devon’s Buckfast Abbey School. He later recorded three albums with Downside Abbey before going on to sing at the Queen’s private 80th Birthday at Windsor Castle in front of the entire Royal Family. He has also sung at Buckingham Palace before Prince Edward and in the presence of Nelson Mandela on his last State Visit to the UK.

‘My dad was in the Navy and my mum was a naval wife. Neither were musical, but somehow my big brothers and I were all born with good voices,’ explains Dominic who grew up in Devon but travelled to Italy, Belgium and the USA because of his father’s career. Dominic teamed up his talent for singing with his passion for acting and was a member of the National Youth Music Theatre from the age of 11 to 18, where he had three lead roles before winning a place to train as an actor at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama.

Prior to joining Blake, Dominic had done more acting than singing, and since leaving drama school two years ago has not had a period out of work. He has worked with (amongst other directors) Alan Ayckbourn, Edward Hall and Kevin Spacey. Dom was recently awarded a Commendation at the Ian Charleson Awards, for his work at The Old Vic from Nicholas Hytner, at the National Theatre. These are the only awards that specifically recognise the work of actors under the age of 30.

‘It was strange going from the acting world straight into singing,’ explains Dominic. ‘I love the contrast and now I’m working hard on my voice. Blake is made up of four different voices - my voice is lighter like Jules’s. So while Stephen and Ollie are fully classically trained with deep, rich tones, Jules and I are like the polish on top. I’m enjoying being more versatile with my voice; swapping between a classical and a more poppy sound.’

STEPHEN BOWMAN, (Date of Birth: 22.08.80) - He's my crush. Ahihihi! -VinVin

Talented musician Stephen won a coveted place at London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music. ‘I was a bit of musical freak because I was just 17 years old and you normally have to be aged 22 to get a place there,’ says Stephen, who is a classically trained baritone. ‘My voice broke at the age of 10 and developed very early, so I was extremely lucky. By 15 I was already enjoying success as a Baritone soloist for a number of choirs, including performances at Cathedrals in Holland, Belgium and Italy. Singing solo at the Duomo in Pisa, aged only 16, would count as one of my proudest moments.’

Stephen, who is originally from Bath, is both dogged and determined. Having left the Guildhall, he has performed as a soloist and in ensembles, both in the UK and in France. He has approached every musical style with a fresh mindset, enabling him to perform not only classical repertoire, but also jazz, blues and popular tracks. ‘As a soloist I’ve often accompanied myself with piano, but working with bands, as part of a team, has always been a massive pleasure for me. Being part of Blake is the perfect environment for me.’

To know more about BLAKE, visit:




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