How We Met: Clare Teal & Sir Tim Rice

'I recorded a celebration of the greatest British songs and felt guilty I hadn't included any of his'

Clare Teal, 40

On the strength of her 2001 album, 'That's the Way it Is', Teal landed the biggest recording contract for a British jazz singer – resulting in her breakthrough album, 'Don't Talk', in 2004. She currently presents 'Big Band Special' on BBC Radio 2. Her latest album, 'And So it Goes', is out now

I was brought up in Yorkshire in the middle of nowhere and developed an unhealthy interest in my grandmother's old jazz records as there was very little modern music to listen to. There was also this pop single, "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", written by Tim for the musical Evita. I was suspicious of it initially as it was not terribly jazzy but I really enjoyed it.

We met by chance two years ago at this gentlemen's jazz club in London called the Boisdale, where I was asked to be the singer at an event and he was hosting it. It was a rowdy affair and afterwards I met him. I do a couple of radio shows, and one goes out on Sunday nights at 10 o'clock. He said, "I listen to that while I brush my teeth." I thought, "Great, I'm now what people brush their teeth to!"

I asked if I could send him my album Hey Ho, a celebration of the greatest British songs, though I felt a bit guilty that it didn't include any of his. I didn't think giving it to him would ever amount to anything.

Musical theatre and jazz don't often cross but when they do they make for great musicals. Tim was working on this musical adaptation of the book From Here to Eternity, and he sent me some demos with a note saying it was from his new show. I listened to them and I really liked one of them, "Another Language", and I thought might be suitable for my voice. So I recorded a very intimate version, just piano and my voice. It's been a pivotal record for me. I've got to a point where I'm fed up with the way records are made these days; it's so artificial. So I wanted to go back to basics, like how it used to be.

Looking at Tim's writing I think his skills as a lyricist are underrated. With his songs he creates the most vivid picture with a minimum amount of words that rhyme with real purpose. Look at "Don't Cry for Me Argentina": it's extraordinary how intense it feels even out of the context of the musical. I've also sung his Oscar-winning song, "A Whole New World", a piece that, despite the fact that Katie Price did everything she could to ruin it, is also great in and out of its rightful place [the 1992 Disney film Aladdin].

Of course his general pop knowledge is so extensive it's ridiculous. He can tell you what song was at number one when you were born. What do I like most about him? He's very able to laugh at himself. He's a huge Elvis fan, and I've seen him do his Elvis party pieces: it's unexpected and surprising – the sort of thing you wouldn't expect Sir Tim Rice to do.

Sir Tim Rice, 68

In a career that has spanned five decades, the award-winning British lyricist and producer is best known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, creating West End hits such as 'Jesus Christ Superstar' and 'Evita', before going on to write lyrics for Disney films including 'Aladdin' and 'The Lion King'

I was aware of her on radio for some time and I finally met her at a party at the Boisdale club in 2011. She sang three songs, which were fantastic – classic jazz standards. Afterwards, I introduced myself and she didn't disappoint. She was a sparky individual, very lively and entertaining and not just interested in the world of showbusiness.

I got to know her properly organising a big charity event in Durham Cathedral, later in the year. Clare came up for two days and we had a some nice evenings and lunches together. During one dinner she said to me, "I'm doing a new album, so if you've got any songs let me know. As it happened, I'd just completed a new score with [composer] Stuart Brayson for a new musical, From Here to Eternity. I sent her one of the songs and she loved it and recorded it.

I was thrilled to hear one of my songs sung so well, in an adult way. She sang it with a Streisand quality; understated and powerful. You get a lot of singers who think that the way to do a song is have a Mariah Carey approach and stick in 38 notes when one will do. Clare sings entirely what's necessary and adds her own style to it. I can't see it racing up the pop charts, though, as these days they seem to be only inhabited by dance records. But Clare has restored my faith that there are some younger artists still able to sing that kind of music.

We are both intrigued by the absurd side of life, too. If something doesn't work out both our reactions tend towards one of amusement rather than anger. There was a charity event in Windsor, attended by the Duke of Edinburgh, and we both sat around a table in the bowels of the castle thinking, "Will we ever find where we're playing, and with no access to water will we even survive long enough to play?" But she didn't complain, as some artists might.

She been so good at helping me out at charity events I remember saying to her, "If I can ever help you…" I didn't expect a reply but out of the blue recently she said, "Right, you're lumbered for this event at Harrogate." So I'm going up on Friday to help out. I'm not a world-class entertainer, but there's an Elvis song, "Teddy bear", I've done with her pianist. I bring my own character to the great man's songs – it's a safe bet, as it's quite short. 1

Clare Teal: An Evening with Sir Tim Rice & the BBC Radio Leeds Big Band is at the Harrogate International Festivals on Friday at 8pm, harrogateinternationalfestivals.com. 'From Here to Eternity' previews at London's Shaftesbury Theatre from 30 September

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine