Nadim Naaman, an accomplished West End star, marked the release of his second CD Sides, produced by Auburn Jam Music, with a live concert performance at London’s Hippodrome on Sunday, June 19th.
From the moment he took to the stage, this youthful and appealing performer showed the assurance of an artist with something to say, grabbing the opportunity with both hands.
Sides is presented in two parts. A selection of music theatre tunes which play to his strengths; currently appearing in the West End in Phantom of the Opera, at Her Majesty’s Theatre. The second part is a selection of originals by Nadim.
Projecting two different sides of Nadim Naaman live or on CD could be seen as a challenge, but Nadim, in both roles, shows that he is a talented story-teller and it is no surprise that he would want to branch out into expressing his own stories.
The first part of Nadim’s concert featured a number of his contemporaries sharing the stage. A real highlight was Jeremy Secomb giving a sensitive and accomplished rendition of one of Nadim Naaman’s own compositions. Here I Am is a song that would comfortably sit within the score of a major musical. Celinde Schoenmaker, singing I’d Give It All For You (Jason Robert Brown) showed exactly why this young and powerful soprano has been given the opportunity to star in one of London’s biggest hit shows, Phantom of The Opera. Nadim could not have asked for a finer interpretation of his song Falling than that given by Laura Tebbutt. It was thrilling to watch such a young and dynamic vocal performance live. By sharing the stage with such talented singers, Nadim Naaman was not only celebrating the release of his new CD, and proving his ability to command the concert stage, but perhaps he was very purposefully sharing with us a burning ambition to write musical scores in the future. Rob Houchen and Will Barratt rounded off the special guest list with fine performances.
The second part of the concert saw a more relaxed and rocky version of Nadim Naaman; a songwriter sharing with his audience, guitar strapped over his shoulder, relaxed, vibrant, witty and at home.
The team behind the production of Sides show a great deal of ambition. Producer, Joe Davison, has successfully arranged and produced a CD that sounds both contemporary and theatrical. Expertly colouring the rock backing with strings. The vocals sound bright, and showcase all of vocal performances in a first-rate recording while the backing never detracts.
This CD could be viewed in the tradition of “guitar playing singer/songwriter” except that Nadim Naaman’s vocal ability is stronger than most in this field. The textures include vocal harmonies, atmospheric percussion, and dramatic use of strings, reminiscent of The Corrs.
Particular highlights are the upbeat country feel of This’ll Be The Year, Here I Am sung by Jeremy Secomb, and grungy rock anthem of Falling with Laura Tebbutt. Nadim rocks in Things Are Moving Too Fast, mature performances with signs of things to come in Out There (Hunchback of Notre Dame) and Funny (City of Angles), a punchy version of Fight The Fight (From Here To Eternity) and an original treatment of Phantom of The Opera.