Tuesday, September 26, 2017
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Editor's Pick: Top Twenty Artists

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

Affinití
Why: These girls have many factors going for them. They really are unique, have a gorgeous vocal (thanks to Emer Barry) and possess refreshing arrangements that the trio themselves create. They take any track and rearrange it for voice, harp and violin. For so few instruments it's incredible how full the arrangements sound. Check out One Day Like This for a case in point.

Highlights: My Immortal, One Day Like This, Falling Slowly

Album pick: Rebirth
iTunes
CDBaby

Camilla Kerslake
Why: Her debut album showcased the purity of her voice whilst her second release illustrates her diversity and invigorating approach to the genre. She also has a sense of humour! If you ever have the chance to see Kerslake live, take it!

Highlights: How Can I Keep From Singing, Stay (unreleased), This Woman's Work, Dancing On My Own (unreleased), Restless Warrior, Surfing in the Air

Album pick: Moments
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
iTunes


Jennifer Thomas
Why: It would be understated if I simply described myself as a fan or that I liked her music: I'm simply in awe of her. It's difficult to pin point who has the most talent out of a wide spectrum of artists, but I can say with confidence that she's near the top. There are no words. Just buy her latest album. Buy it now.

Highlights: Etude For A Dreamer, Gymnopedie No. 1, Illumination, Requiem For a Dream, New World Symphony, Eventide

Album pick: Illumination
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
iTunes
Official Site Store (autographed)

Katherine Jenkins
Why: Is there anything Jenkins cannot do? She sings, she dances, she acts and she's so, so charming. She also tops my most beautiful women list. More importantly, I go back to her on a weekly basis on my MP3 player. With nine studio albums under her belt, there's a wide range of different material to choose from.

Highlights: I Believe, Vide Cor Meum, Abigail's Song, Bring Me To Life, Questo É Per Te, Hallelujah, Chanson Bohème

Album pick: Believe (Platinum Edition)
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
iTunes

Rhydian
Why: Rhydian is super versatile. His career has been a bit all over the place, probably due to his ability to do everything and trying to cram it all in. I find myself liking this anarchical approach, especially when it brings out albums like Waves, a pop 80's concept album. If you'd describe yourself as a bit more traditional, try out O Fortuna - but do ignore the terrible CD cover.

Highlights: Benedictus, No More I Love Yous, Hands, Ave Verum Corpus, Annie's Song, What If

Album pick: Waves
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
iTunes

Jackie Evancho
Why: With her latest album, Songs From the Silver Screen, comes more wealth of material and the ever growing maturity of her voice. I've said it before, I'll say it again - she's an interpretive genius. Evancho has come top of the leader board on CCUK (as determined by visitors) three years in a row and with good reason: she's charming, pretty and has an exceptionally warm and emotive voice.

Highlights: Lovers, Nella Fantasia, Pie Jesu, Music of the Night, Can You Feel the Love Tonight?, I See the Light, Pure Imagination

Album pick: Songs From the Silver Screen
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
iTunes

Siobhan Owen
Why: Her latest album Storybook Journey is as strong as classical crossover albums come and it won the 2012 Album of the Year award on CCUK. Owen is primarily a singer but also partially arranges songs for her harp. She has a sweet voice that rings with clarity and approaches her classical vocals with a Celtic twang giving her interpretations an unusual twist.

Highlights: Cariad, The Rose, Nearer My God To Thee, Caledonia, Prayer, Sora Wo Aruku, May It Be, If I Were A Blackbird, Dark Iniseoghain

Album pick: Storybook Journey
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Official Website (autographed)
iTunes

Kanon
Why: Kanon, a singer-pianist from Japan, is quite fascinating. She takes many Western crossover standards, such as 'Nella Fantasia', 'Time To Say Goodbye' and 'You Raise Me Up' and gives them her own distinct sound. She also writes the majority of her material. The only problem is that if you don't live in Japan, she's an artist to become a fan of. If you're not in Japan, you can try out her worldwide release A New Story (a 2011 Album of the Year nominee).

Highlights: キセキ Song of Love, Saga~This is My Road, プレリュード (FINAL FANTASY Seriesより), Brand New Breeze, Kyrie~荒野の果てに

Album pick: A New Story
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
iTunes


Toni Gibson
Why: When I first saw her clearly home made video on youtube in November 2010, I was immediately struck my her stunning tone and world class voice. Equally striking was hearing a voice so evidently meant for the world stage being used in so humble a setting. But things are set to change. She's just signed a record deal and her lush debut album is due for release in 2013.

Highlights: Wild Horses, How Can I Keep From Singing, Paper Airplane, Sing For Me

Album pick: Echo in My Soul
(Spring 2013)

The Tenors
Why: There are many male vocal quartets but I find these guys the strongest of the bunch. They all have beautiful accessible voices, play instruments and write some of their own material. Live, they are entertaining, moving and incredibly funny. For a boy band they show great credibility and integrity and their performances are always gorgeous.

Highlights: Instrument of Peace, Forever Young, Remember Me, Hallelujah

Album pick: Lead With Your Heart
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
iTune
s

Hayley Griffiths
Why: A soprano that's influenced by new age, celtic, classical and even R'n'B so it's of no surprise that she sounds different from her contemporaries. She writes her own material and it's edgy enough to appeal to a younger audience. With a more traditional Celtic album also under her belt she also appeals to traditionalists.

Highlights: Separated By Glass, Vanished, Our Love, Mechanical Lives, Blank Canvas, May It Be, Isle of Hope Isle of Tears, Lagan Love

Album pick: Celtic Rose
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
iTunes
Official Store

Il Volo
Why: This is a group so charismatic and ridiculously talented they could probably sing the phone book and still make this list. As it is, they've put more effort into their albums than that and have some wonderful original tracks alongside familiar ones that will make the typical CC audience comfortable.

Highlights: Il Mondo, O Sole Mio, Smile, Painfully Beautiful, This Time, Bring You To My Senses, Questo Amore, Beautiful Day

Album pick: We Are Love
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
iTunes

Phillippa Lusty
Why: Lusty is a talented composer, violinist, arranger and not to mention an immensely talented singer. She's consistently pitch perfect, has fantastic stage presence and writes her own material. What's not to like?! She's the full package and is definitely the one to watch.

Highlights: Please Stay, Guiding Light, Weight of the World, Vanishing, Ave Maria, When A Child Is Born

Album pick: A Simply Beautiful Christmas
Official Store
Mary-Jess
Why: A British soprano signed to a major British label releases an album of original material with a Chinese flavour. It simply hasn't been done and the unique direction has definitely paid off musically. Stunning voice and an album so ground-breaking that I can't do it justice.

Highlights: Glorious, Did I Make the Most of Loving You, Are You the Way Home, Lighthouse of Mine

Album pick: Shine
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Play.com
iTunes
Sisca
Why: The best type of artist, for me, is a unique one, and Sisca certainly ticks that box. Her exotic debut album, Impermanent Life tackles issues of morality, environmentalism and philosophy with original material. Not a standard in sight and the only cover (Michael Jackson's 'Earth Song') is an achingly appropriate one. Her album is now available to download worldwide.

Highlights: Kindness, Beautiful, Hope, We Are All the Same, Time, Earth Song

Album pick: Impermanent Life
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
iTunes
Official website (physical copies sold out)

Annelies
Why: It's hard to convey why when not many of her songs are made public, but having heard over a dozen demo tracks from Annelies it's even harder not to be excited by her voice and direction. She has an accessible tone and a hypnotising voice which is enough on its own, but coupled with her original material and unique sound, Annelies is going to be unstoppable when launched.

Highlights: Song to the Siren, Per Sempre, I Believe, Home, Weightless

Album pick: Debut album
Release 2013

Hayley Westenra
Why: As far as note accuracy is concerned, Westenra is probably one of the most talented there is. Always pitch perfect and giving technically flawless performances she will hypnotise those that are fascinated with beautiful voices. Starting out as a child star, Westenra has really grown into a mature artist over the years and now relishes writing her own material.

Highlights: I'm Kissing You, Dark Waltz, Summer Rain, Prayer, Never Saw Blue, Pokarekare Ana, Peace Shall Come, Here's To You, Lezione Di Musica

Album pick: Pure
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Play.com
iTunes
Josh Groban
Why: It's a common misconception to assume that Groban is just a balladeer, but his latest albums have shown him to be a real artist, writing a number of his songs, and hand-picking a variety of different artists to work with to produce a wide and eclectic repertoire. Illuminations is the best example of this though Awake remains his best album to date.

Highlights: To Where You Are, Remember When It Rained, You Are Loved (Don't Give Up), February Song, Awake, War At Home, Straight To You

Album pick: Awake
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Play.com
iTunes
Gregorian
Why: Little known outside of mainland Europe (where they've sold over 5 million albums), the Gregorian choir continue to not disappoint. They re-interpret pop and rock classics with slick and rich production, provided by Sarah Brightman's long term producer Frank Peterson. Stylistically, they have not changed a bit since 1999 but they have progressed to darker material with every album. Sarah Brightman and her sister Amelia are often heard providing vocals for the project.

Highlights: Tears in Heaven, Maid of Orleans, The Gift, Dark Angel, Both Sides Now, Stay (Far Away, So Close), Moment of Peace, Don't Give Up

Album pick: Masters of Chant Chapter IV
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Amazon.de
iTunes
Sarah Brightman
Why: Brightman is one of the most creative and visual artists in classical crossover and with over 30 years in the business, she's had the time to develop into such. Often credited as the pioneer of crossover as we know it today, Brightman is also one of the most emulated. All of her albums differ and she scarcely sticks to one sound from one album to the next. My sixteen year old self listened to nothing outside the charts, but once I accidentally heard "Deliver Me" my whole taste in music altered forever.

Highlights: Figlio Perduto, Deliver Me, Time To Say Goodbye, A Question of Honour, No One Like You, Fleurs Du Mal

Album pick: La Luna
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com
Play.com
iTunes