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Gary Barlow has done everything in his career. He has toured the world fronting UK Sensation Take That, reached platinum status several times, got numerous hit charts (as a soloist, band member and songwriter) and even became a talent show judge. But he has never made an album with an orchestra

It’s hard to believe that it took so long. But here he is with his first solo recording in seven years – Music Played by Humans, packed with emotional songwriting, framed by big band sounds and backdrops loaded with strings – and it’s a great hit on the charts The 14-song set (with another five songs in the deluxe version) debuted on the UK Album chart marking his third solo project

Last year, Take That celebrated a 30th anniversary titled Greatest Hits Live to commemorate their enduring legacy as one of Manchester’s best exports. As the tour ended, Barlow felt the itch of creativity ” I felt so positive about this tremendous tour and decided while I was out and about to write a new record, “he told the American songwriter over a recent phone call

In the final days of the tour, he was struck by both the beauty of the crowd and the collection of musicians on stage – and then the album title came to him. He had never planned in advance and was quickly busy planning, what to do next “I’m worst at forward planning It’s like a curse on me Once I know what’s next, what I’m doing is less important. The next is shinier and more attractive. It ruins the now “He explains

“So I made a promise to myself when I went on tour last year, don’t think about what’s next,” he continues. He learned to live in the present as seriously as possible, and that was him also “Every night when we were on stage I was in this room and loved it. It was a huge party and it was absolutely beautiful – until about five shows at the end,” he says with a laugh

The record, with an 80-piece orchestra and staff like Michael Bublé, James Corden and Barry Manilow, was largely recorded two weeks before the global pandemic that forced the country to lockdown when he put it all together with various arrangements and production elements, he said Initially strong reservations that the recording was “too positive” for the audience to digest. But then a thought occurred to him: “This could be exactly what we need”

“Who knew how much the world would change from the completion of an album to the release of an album,” he muses

He didn’t dive right in though, he first went to his Polydor Records label under the UMG imprint to propose his ambitious and completely unexpected concept instead of making an album of 15 songs and not really knowing if it’s even worth it To pursue his creative fantasies, he made three fully produced and mixed tracks to give label managers a proper taste test, needless to say, he didn’t have to worry, and a full record was instantly lit in green so he returned in returned to his home in Los Angeles and feverishly began writing for the record

Music Played by Humans is rooted in the big band of the 1950s and 1960s and also shimmers with rhythmic R&B (“What Leaving’s All About” with Alesha Dixon), disco (“Let’s Get Drunk”) and a pulverizing contemporary vibration ( “Supernatural”) The latter, we learned, was heavily influenced by Beyoncé’s 2003 smash “Crazy in Love,” which Barlow described as “one of the best pop moments” in history. “It’s so smart you could take almost all of the music away and you’d still nod your head to that amazing rhythmic melody she wrote, ”he says.“ I’ve always wanted to try to weave that into pop music. Now, unfortunately, I’m not a cool R&B act so I never had that Chance to do so ”

“I was determined to bring that bouncy, almost spoken sense of word into one of these tracks,” he adds

One of the album’s cheekiest moments, “Bad Libran,” was inspired by several of his friends, “who live their lives by the stars”I’ve always wanted to write a song about the forces that exist, especially in a world where computers now make our matches for us,” he says. “I find it fascinating. As usual with my music, it’s a game with Relationships The more I dialed into the orchestra, the more I realized that there is a lyrical doorway that I’ve never had access to This door is access to things like crazy topics, humorous topics I’m not a comedian I don’t try to make people laugh ”

Barlow takes a moment to reign with “This is My Time”, a piano ballad that “uses the power of love and how it beats and trumps everything we can experience and feel in our lives” occupies “I knew it was special when it arrived. It is not very often that I leave my computer workstation. I have a piano behind me and was sitting there that day”

“Going home is always a good reminder that it’s not about discs on the wall or albums sold I have a wife and family at home In this building that my job paid for is this ecosystem of love It’s one thing to write these songs and it’s a whole different game that gets the right performance for something We settled down in the middle of the studio and didn’t have a click. The orchestra followed me. So it turns the key a little further ”

One deluxe track, “The Day the World Stopped Turning,” captivates the listener with its cinematic, almost 007 movie soundtrack sensibility. Coincidentally, in the past year, Barlow made “more songs for movies than ever before” The Movies , with which he stayed on the lips, are expected in 2021

When the album came together quickly, he quickly realized I didn’t have something like that on the record It’s pretty small, thoughtful. With the other ballads, they were a little brighter. You definitely get to a point on an album where you do it look at you and say, “There’s a hole”It will be wonderful to sing live”

If Barlow feels more present and magnetic on the album, there’s a good reason why. Just imagine: It’s 1992 and a 21 year old Gary Barlow trots off to see Frank Sinatra play at the Royal Albert Hall He grew up very familiar with the work of the jazz legend as his father often used Sinatra vinyls, Sammy Davis Jrand many more from that time “I couldn’t say I loved it, but it was there and it went into my system,” he admits

“It only took me a few months to realize that I heard so much of this music as a kid,” Barlow continues, pausing for a moment, while Sinatra certainly fondly looks back on it three years ago Watching the icon’s official resignation play live, it was more than just the music that transformed him that evening

“He wasn’t in the best voice let me say the scary moment for me was before it came out, however, the orchestra came out and they agreed and they started playing It was like a surge of electricity through my body It was absolutely exciting “Recalls Barlow.” Then the lesson came out for me, Sinatra The only thing more than the singing or the songs is that he was the boss. He was the leader. He was the guy who counted the orchestra. I remembered just because I had 60 players in the first session and thought, “I can’t be me today”I have to be the leader” I’ve taken on that kind of personality ”

Barlow easily slips into such a role, and the record undoubtedly speaks for itself. When he decided to hire an orchestra, he naturally cut the work out for him “You should always feel like you’ve learned something from a recording When I came up with this idea, I thought, “We’ll be done in a week!” Of course, follow the idea that you can hear in your head. If it’s not what you imagined, keep working and take things away and add things until you finally come across the recipe. When you find the recipe, it’s like finding gold. Then you have the blueprint to apply to everything else ”

Music played by people happens to arrive at a time when art is as precious as ever Barlow himself has “heard more music in the last month than I’ve heard in years” and is culturally monumental television shows like ” The Queen’s Gambit “and” The Crown “are viewed to distract himself significantly and move him to his core

“Gosh, the cinematography in TV shows is now taking people in movies to a whole new level. I can’t help but take inspiration from it. Even more than that, just to see photographers and people eating on Instagram do People are amazing. It’s the only thing that keeps me sane with all of this. It won’t beat us People are too smart. People will beat this in anything they do or specialize in ”

Ultimately, Barlow is still working on what he learned the most in 2020, “I’ve never spent so much time at home I do 150 flights a year and very rarely unpack a suitcase I’ve loved being home so much I was reminded of the simplest things: light a fire, have dinner as a family, play a board game.All the things we have taken for granted for years have suddenly become the focus and the things we enjoy most The problem with this year has not occurred yet The problem will go back to the life we ​​had before I like this life, I’ve discovered It’s going to be difficult I can’t wait to get home at night and I don’t have any right now Desire to get on a plane ”

On further reflection, as he reflects on his 1997 solo debut, Open Road, and, if at all, grown as a songwriter, it all boils down to living a vibrant, fulfilling, and risky life. “I’ve lived a lot since then As any songwriter will tell you, all you have to do is live to learn how to play melodies or lyrics and bring emotion into them. You have to look up and see the sky and be amazed by the clouds. You have to acquire this life from somewhere ”

Gary Barlow

World News – GB – Gary Barlow climbs to “American Songwriter” with big band sounds on the new album “Music Played By Humans”

Source: https://americansongwriter.com/gary-barlow-music-played-by-humans-album-interview/