Observations: The right choir for a Carroll
Friday 26 February 2010
Not many choral directors can claim to field daily calls from Hollywood composers Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman and Craig Armstrong. Jenny O'Grady is one such director and her phone has barely stopped flashing up LA numbers since she created Metro Voices 15 years ago. Her latest project is providing vocals to this year's eagerly anticipated Alice in Wonderland.
"The soundtrack follows in the tradition of Elfman's other films. Like Sleepy Hollow it has that wonderful ethereal quality to it but it's also quite meaty when it needs to be," explains O'Grady. Metro Voices have featured on all of Tim Burton's last decade of films: Sleepy Hollow, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd. Such frequent collaborations have yielded a good friendship and Burton enjoys playing the occasional practical joke on O'Grady. He forced her into being an extra in Sweeney Todd and then insisted she appeared on camera.
O'Grady was urged to set up a professional vocal group by key music industry figures. With a 20-year career as a professional singer behind her, she accepted the challenge and once Metro Voices had recorded the unforgettable soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet, the rest was history.
A core of 25 professional singers work with O'Grady on most projects, but she has countless singers from every genre, from opera to gospel, on her books. The group has recorded over 100 film soundtracks, including City of Angels and Moulin Rouge.
Why do Hollywood composers look across the Atlantic for vocalists? The answer is surprisingly simple. "Sight singing," explains O'Grady. "In LA choirs have to spend time learning music before they can record, but in the UK we can turn up on the day, sight sing and record almost straight away." Refusing to name a favourite soundtrack, O'Grady describes working on Mamma Mia! as a "dream come true" – it did require a little less sight singing than usual, after all.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 2 Pictures show young Palestinian girl biting Israeli soldier trying to detain boy during West Bank protests
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet: Technician quits after social media row with actor's fans
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics