The healing power of music
I was singing a love song for a couple celebrating their golden wedding anniversary. It was the same song that Carol and Joe had danced to on their wedding day. As I sang, I was struck by how in love they still seemed after all those years together. That was on a cruise ship in May 2019. Within a year the coronavirus was wreaking havoc across the world. Lockdown happened, cruise ships emptied, theatres closed and our lives were turned upside down.
Stuck at home, I started broadcasting a song every day from my kitchen, entertaining fans on social media. Kitchen Cabaret became a thing. People made requests and looked forward to 4 o’clock to hear the latest tune. It was a way for us all to forget what was going on, if only for a moment.
Carol got in touch to say that Joe was in hospital with the virus. Could I sing “their song” again and wish him well? I did just that and hoped for the best. Sadly, within two weeks, Joe had passed away. While I had been fretting about losing all of my work, poor Carol had lost her husband.
I truly believe that music has the power to heal. A good melody that touches the heart has a magic all of its own.
Encouraged by Carol and fans of Kitchen Cabaret across the world, I raised enough money to record a new album, in lockdown. People were extraordinarily generous (a special shout-out to Mark Best and Mike and Judy Harriman). My producer, Chris Traves, pulled out all the stops and, once again, showed his remarkable musical talent. This album is just as much his as it is mine. Many of these songs were new to me. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, On Days Like These, Songbird… I’d never thought about singing them until they were requested for Kitchen Cabaret, so thank you for that! Nestled in between the classics, you’ll find a couple of brand-new songs that I wrote with the creative powerhouse, Jon Nickoll.
As I write this, the world is still in a state of confusion. Despite the uncertainty, I try to focus on the positive. This virus will pass. Things will get back to normal. Until then, I hope these songs bring a smile to your face and remind you of better times. I encourage you to sing-along, dance if you want to, and look forward to a brighter future.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“A new album from the fantastic Gary Williams is always a treat… As with all Williams’ albums you get the smooth silky voice of a true artist. He loves what he does and it shines through in his performances. Looking tanned on the cover of the album, you can tell that Tenerife has been good to him and, once again, thank you to him for another glorious album.” Nick Wakeman, Musical Theatre Review
“Williams is often called upon to perform Sinatra-themed programs, but his versatility enables him to float between jazz-influenced pop, cabaret and middle-of-the-road pop. His pleasant baritone always makes for pleasant listening, and this collection will provide aural comfort food in these days of uneasiness and confusion.” Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz