Welcome back to Access London and thank you once again for your continued support for disability access and awareness in the Capital.
Our last post was the first in a two-part series on South Pacific, currently playing at The London Barbican and part 1 of our cast interview with Nick Wyschna - if you missed it, please scroll down to read more. Since then, I have checked with The Barbican box office and Access seats are selling very fast for this production. South Pacific is only at The Barbican until the 1st October when it leaves to go on a UK tour. After this date, you can catch it in Milton Keynes, Manchester, Glasgow, Bristol, Oxford and Southampton throughout the rest of 2011 and into 2012.
If you qualify for Access Seats at The Barbican (have a disability as stated under the disability Act) then don't forget to register for The Barbican's excellent Access Scheme. The scheme allows you to register your details for free so that the box office can assist you in booking the best seats for your particular needs. It also means that, if you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter, you can watch South Pacific in the stalls at The Barbican for only £7.50 a ticket for you and your companion. The scheme entitles you to free blue badge parking in one of The Barbican's car parks - simply take your ticekt to the box office on arrival and they will provide you with your exit ticket. To book Tickets, Access Seats and Blue Badge car parking, please call the box office on 020 7638 8891. To register for the Access Scheme, please see THE BARBICAN'S WEBSITE
After the popularity and all the messages (thank you) sent in after part 1 of our interview with Nick Wyschna, Access London is delighted to share with you the second part - a huge Thank You goes out to Nick again for taking the time out to talk. This second part focusses on Nick's debut album 'Lost In The Wilderness'.
AL: What was it that prompted you to decide to record an album?
NW: I don't know, it sounds quite big headed to do something like that but, I don't think I'll ever be any better and I wanted to actually capture a moment when I was OK. I don't think I'll be doing this job forever, simply because of the money, that was half the reason for it. Another reason is that I was going to work on a cruise ship and to sell an album on a cruise ship is quite nice because people like to take a souvenir home and I was the lead singer on the ship, so it was good to be able to sell it onboard.
Plus, I trained at The Royal Academy of Music and so I was surrounded by all these amazing musicians, so I had lots of friends that were willing to do it with me, which was incredible. And if you listen to it, the band are just....it's only a 4 piece but it's superb.
AL: The band was something I was going to ask you about....if you had worked with them before?
NW: They are amazing lads. I love working with the guys. I'm not into the stereotypical and bad side of what people think the industry is like - I've surrounded myself with mates and people and I'm blessed with that and some amazing friends. They really did me a favor, I was dead chuffed with it.
AL: It does have almost a gig-like sound to it....
NW: I wanted it to sound like that.
AL: It does, as if you've got the band right there with you in the room when you listen to it, quite intimate...
NW: Well if I'd have had my own complete choice, I'd have done it as a live recording, which I didn't, as it's not really practical but, I wanted it to sound as live as possible and most of the takes were in one block, it's not cut and paste. If there was a tiny mistake I didn't really mind, as long as it wasn't flat or anything like that but I didn't mind if a particular note wasn't held for the right length - I wanted it to sound raw.
The original master of it was really raw and rocky, I loved it. But, I wrote off to the record label, Making Records, who are a label for musical theatre people - they've got an album with Julie Atherton and Gemma Atkins - they're fantastic. So I wrote to them and sent them my rough demo, just to ask their opinion as to where I should go from now, not expecting anything to come of it. Then Guy James, the Producer, called me and said 'we'd like to have a meeting with you, we think you've done a great job on this, producing it yourself'. So I went and met him and he said 'we'd like to sign you to the label' - which meant that they re-mastered it and made it sound a little bit less raw, they haven't taken it all away but they've made it alot cleaner - it's much better quality, it's shop quality now. So they did that and thanks to them it's been packaged lovely, they put good money into the album cover and it's a much better product thanks to them.
AL: Your voice does have a jazzy sound to it, do you have many influences in that area?
NW: Neil Diamond. I love jazz, I love swing and I've done loads of it so I can't help but be influenced by that kind of vocal sound.
AL: The choice of tracks on the album are from quite contemporary musicals - how did you go about choosing them?
NW: Well I didn't want, against my mum's best wishes, as she wanted me to do all the Les Mis stuff and I wasn't up for that. I didn't want it to be a self-indulgent album, I wanted to do stuff that people don't always hear. I think there's only one track on there that people would really really know and that's 'High Flying, Adored' from Evita. Other things from The Life people haven't even heard of that musical a lot. I've got Wicked on there, I've got a track from Jason Brown's album which isn't strictly speaking from a musical but it's from JRB who's a musical theatre composer - so they're all songs that are less known. I wanted it to be really contemporary.
AL: I think that helps with the gig/live sound you wanted. If you did Les Mis, it would certainly be a very differernt type of album.
NW: Yeah. If I did that, it would have been very self-indulgent. When I first decided to do it, I knew I wanted to do an album of contemporary musical theatre and I think that's what I've got.
AL: If you did make another album and could have anyone to come in and sing alongside you on it, who would you choose?
NW: Paulo! (laughs). My God but he would make me look really rubbish. But there's so many people. Dan Koek has got a lovely voice, he's playing Cable in the show (South Pacific), but he'd upstage me too so I wouldn't choose him (laughs) but I don't know, there are so many...we have a very talented cast here too.
AL: Would you like to be part of any of the shows that feature on the album?
NW: Well I got down to the finals for Fiyero in Wicked for Germany, so I had to learn the whole score in German, I'd never spoken German before, so it was very intense but, I really wanted the job, but I didn't get it - I would have loved to have been in that. I'm getting to the age now where I can't play young leads so that would have been my last chance to play that kind of part.
AL: You must have really wanted it, to learn it all in German?
NW: Oh my word! I can still remember it, it's imprinted on my brain, the madness!
AL: How long did the recording of the album take?
NW: About a week, working full days. Clive Cherry produced and recorded it for us in a shed at the bottom of his garden, so that's another thing that I think contributed to the live sound, I loved it! And he's an old rocker, long hair, really cool guy. It was fantastic with all the lads, the band, lots of fun.
AL: Do you play your own gigs?
NW: Well I run a company called Prestigious Entertainments which is an entertainments agency and I book out anything to do with entertainment for weddings, corporate events, that kind of thing. That's where I started, I started my career singing swing, jazz and Blues Brothers at weddings and it kind of snowballed and people were asking me if I could put them in touch with a harpist or choir for their wedding and I was saying 'no'! Then I thought, 'why am I saying no?', I trained at The Royal Academy, I know all these musicians, so I just started saying 'yes' and it developed into a business. It's not massive and I couldn't make it massive yet as I'm too busy with other things but I do want it to get to that stage. If I do cut back with tours and musicals, I want it to be in place so I'm not scrabbling around - I think it's very important as an actor to have something to fall back on.
AL: But you would carry on performing yourself?
NW: Oh yes, absolutely. I do, as soon as I'm out of work, out of a musical, I'm straight back into corporate and weddings.
AL: Would you ever make another album?
NW: I'd love to. But I think I'd wait. If I got a lead role in a show then I'd probably re-master this one or bring a new one out, they're very expensive to do (laughs).
A huge Thank You once again to Nick for answering all those questions. Nick's album, 'Lost In The Wilderness' is available to buy from his website www.nickwyschna.com
You can also follow Nick on Twitter
For Nicks entertainments agency, see the Prestigious Entertainments Website
COMING NEXT: Phantom of the Opera's 25th Celebrations - Interview with former Christine Myrra Malmberg
COMING SOON: The Tempest, Priscilla, The Globe Theatre and Exhibition