Saturday, May 23, 2009

Elton & Ray Coming to London

Elton will return to London's Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 for a very special evening of entertainment in aid of the Royal Academy of Music.

Joined by percussionist Ray Cooper, Elton will perform in the intimate surroundings of one of the world's finest concert halls. The performance will give friends and fans alike the opportunity to savour the peerless musicianship of both these extraordinary artists, as well as enjoying their incredible showmanship and onstage rapport of this legendary show.

Elton and Ray Cooper will be joined on this spectacular bill by special guest Teddy Thompson, the Royal Academy Musical Theatre Company, instrumentalists from the Royal Academy of Music and compere for the evening, actor and comedian Stephen Fry.

Since 2002, Elton has supported Royal Academy of Music students through the Elton John Scholarship Fund. Countless young musicians have now been able to study at the Academy because of the essential support that they have received from this fund. Now, Elton has turned his attention to improving essential facilities at the Academy. Funds from the concert will help to purchase and install a brand new organ for the Academy's main concert hall.

This latest event with the Academy is another example of Elton's tradition of leading by example. It is hoped other philanthropists will follow his lead in supporting his 'home' educational institution - making it possible for more talented young musicians, whatever their backgrounds, to fulfil their dreams by studying at the Royal Academy of Music.

Elton and Ray Cooper famously performed in St Petersburg in 1979, a historic date in the former Soviet Union which was broadcast by the BBC. Following the success of Elton's idea to collaborate, their first tour in 1979 saw the pair go on to play over 122 shows worldwide. This reunion will be the first time that they have performed together since 1995.

Elton himself studied at the Royal Academy of Music, along with many of the world's greatest musicians. A then young Reginald Dwight was awarded support as a 'Junior Exhibitioner'. Elton is now repaying his debt by supporting new generations of musical stars through their studies at Britain's longest-established institution for music education, the Royal Academy of Music.

Elton says, "I have always regarded my training at the Royal Academy of Music as vitally important to the development of my career as a musician."

Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music, says: "Sir Elton John's identification with the life and mission of the Royal Academy of Music is an inspiration. It has been nurtured through memorable collaborative concerts, both in the UK and USA, leading to his legendary generosity in providing scholarships for our most needy and able students. Now he's decided to raise money for a fantastic new organ which will transform our wonderful, elegant Duke's Hall. Above all, Elton is a supreme advocate for what the Academy represents in British cultural life, in the broadest sense."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Elton's Madonna Speech at Drama Awards

Elton John couldn't resist a playful jab at Madonna during his Drama League Awards acceptance speech this weekend.

"I heard about this from my office," the British singer told the audience after receiving his Distinguished Achievement honor.

"They said, ‘They want to give you an award from the Drama League.' I thought, I've been a member of the drama league for years. They went, ‘No, no, no. Not the Madonna drama league. The OTHER drama league!' "

All kidding aside, the five-time Grammy winner is just happy to contribute to consistently successful Broadway shows like "Aida," "The Lion King" and "Billy Elliot."

"I find it quite easy to write songs for theater because you have a story line," Elton said. "You have characters to write songs for.
But you do have to swallow your ego because some of your songs don't make it. The director usually decides that. You present some things to the team and they go ‘yay' or ‘nay,' and sometimes you go away sobbing. But that's part and parcel for the experience."

Speaking of people who cry, Jeremy Piven was skewered during the ceremonies, too. Raul Esparza, nominated for best actor for his "Speed-the-Plow" performance after taking over for the "sick" Piven, couldn't make the gala because he was called back to rehearsals at the last minute. "He actually came down with mercury poisoning," co-host Cynthia Nixon joked to a thunderous round of applause.

Red Piano Back to Finland

British pop music icon Elton John is bringing his "The Red Piano" show to Finland in the autumn. He will perform in the Helsinki Arena on Saturday, October 10th.

Elton John was slated to appear at the same venue last December, but the gig had to be cancelled at very short notice owing to the artist's coming down with laryngitis and bronchitis.

It was not possible to reschedule the date in that particular tour.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A letter from Elton to Himself

To celebrate their 25th birthday, Gay Times recently asked a few celebrities to do the following: Write your 16-year-old self a letter. Among the letters was one from Sir Elton John offering the 16-year-old Reginald Kenneth Dwight some advice on life.

Following is the letter in its entirety as transcribed from the current May 2009 issue of Gay Times:

Atlanta, March 8th 2009

Dear Reg,

You are a very young 16. You know nothing about sex – you don’t even know what a ”queer” is. Trust me when I tell you – you are ”queer”; you are a gay boy. I made the mistake of not having sex until I was 23! I loved being with another man and felt relieved that I finally knew who I was. I made the mistake of falling in love too soon because I was naive and romantic. My advice to you is never to chase love – it will find you when you least expect it. Have fun, have lots of safe sex and enjoy your sexuality. Be proud of who you are and, as you get older and wiser, fight for gay rights – I’m 46 years older than you are, and we have a long way to go. In certain countries we are still not treated as equals, especially by the so-called ”Christian” church. I made a lot of mistakes. Stay away from drugs, they’re a waste of time. Stand up for every human being’s rights. Be loving, kind and strong. Set an example. You’re going to have a hell of a life!!

Love you, Elton


- Courtesy Martin M. Aamand

Teddy Thompson to Open for Elton

Teddy Thompson will be opening the following shows in June for Elton John and performing solo at these shows:

June 6th: Thomond Park Stadium - Limerick, Ireland
June 13th: County Ground Cricket Club - Bristol, England
June 16th: Sonderborg Castle - Sondorborg, Denmark
June 27th: Estadio Do Restelo - Lisbon, Portugal

As the festival season approaches, Teddy will also be appearing at the following festivals in the UK this summer:

June 28th: Glastonbury Festival - Pilton, England
July 12th: Cornbury Festival - Cornbury, England
July 16th: Larmer Tree Festival - Salisbury, England

Sir Elton, is reportedly a very big fan of Teddy's work.

Teddy Thompson, son of folk-rock legends Richard and Linda Thompson, developed his musical drive early in life and launched his first band while still in his early teens. By the time he released his self-titled solo debut in 2000, he'd served a stint in his father's touring band and contributed guitar and vocals to his dad's albums "You? Me? Us?" and "Mock Tudor". He subsequently co-produced and played on his mother's 2002 comeback disc "Fashionably Late", and toured as a member of Rosanne Cash's backing band.

After signing with Verve, he released his widely acclaimed 2006 sophomore album "Separate Ways", which demonstrated how much his songwriting, performing and record-making skills had evolved since his debut. It was followed in 2007 by "Up Front & Down Low", a collection of personally charged readings of classic American country songs that demonstrated Thompson's increased assurance as a performer and interpreter.

"A Piece of What You Need", his fourth album, is a landmark for an artist whose creative restlessness continues to yield deeply compelling musical results. Thompson's sense of purpose — and sense of humor — are reflected in the song title that provides the album's name.

"The song was born from frustration with the state of music," he explains. "I liked it as an album title because I thought it sounded like an offering, like this record is a small bit of truth. For most people, it's gonna be an absolutely miniscule piece of what they need. But I'd like to think that I'm contributing some tiny little building block of something worthwhile, rather than just adding to the massive pile of disposable rubbish."

See for more information and to preview his work.

Teddy on MySpace:
Teddy on Facebook:

Sir Elton Helps Eminem with Drug Addiction

Eminem has spoken out about guns, saying they are "bad news" and also revealed he has been taking advice on dealing with his drug addiction from Sir Elton John.

The We Made You rapper despises firearms and doesn't want to be around them after two of his uncles committed suicide and his best friend, rapper Proof, was shot dead.

He told the Detroit Metro Times newspaper: "For me, personally, I mean, I'm done with guns. You know what I mean? They certainly never ever brought anything good into my life. Especially with my own family and our history of suicide and s**t like that. And my own personal experience with guns. And then you lose your best friend to guns. Guns are just bad news."

The rapper also revealed Circle of Life singer Sir Elton John has been helping him in his battle to overcome drug addiction.

He added: "I talk to Elton a lot. We became friends and I talk to him about things, career wise. And he had a substance abuse problem in the past. So when I first wanted to get sober, I called him and spoke to him about it because, he's somebody who's in the business and can identify and relate to the lifestyle.

"Me and him have had similar lives and stuff. So I reached out to him and told him, 'Look, I'm going through a problem and I need your advice.' "

Friday, May 8, 2009

Red Piano Coming to Holland & Spain

Sir Elton will bring his Red Piano Tour of Europe to The Netherlands and Spain this October. The details are below:

17-Oct-2009 Rotterdam, Netherlands -Ahoy
20-Oct-2009 Barcelona, Spain -Palau Sant Jordi

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Billy Elliot Nominated for 15 Tony's

The Broadway version of Billy Elliot the Musical has been nominated for a record-breaking 15 Tony Awards, including one for Best Musical, in New York today.

As well as Best Musical, Billy Elliot is nominated in the following categories: Best Original Score (Elton John and Lee Hall), Best Direction, Best Orchestrations, Best Lighting, Best Sound Design, Best Costume Design, Best Scenic Design, Choreography, and Best Book.

David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish are jointly nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical, and there are separate nominations for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical for David Bologna and Gregory Jbara, and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for Haydn Gwynne and Carole Shelley.

The American Theatre Wing's 63rd annual Tony Award ceremony will take place on Sunday, June 7, 2009 at Radio City Music Hall, and will be shown on CBS television, beginning at 8:00 p.m./7c.

Billy Elliot the Musical opened on Broadway in November 2008. It has received fantastic reviews in the US, and its box office sales are the envy of other productions.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Elton & Ray Cooper Reunite in Paris?

Sir Elton John & Ray Cooper are rumored to be reuniting for a new series of concerts at the end of this year.

Elton and the percussionist are scheduled to perform in Paris this October. Until, this is officially confirmed we will not know if it is a limited run of shows or if it will be a full international tour. We also do not know if any other band members will be included.

The rumored details are below:

27-Sept-2009 Grenoble, France Palais des Sports
02-Oct-2009 Paris, France Palais de Congres

Stay tuned for an official announcement.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Red Piano Returns to Liverpool

Elton John will bring his outrageous Las Vegas Show The Red Piano back to Liverpool later this year, returning to the Liverpool Echo Arena on Wednesday 28 October.

The newly announced Liverpool show will follow shows at Sheffield Arena (October 23rd), Newcastle Metro Radio Arena (24th) and London's Wembley Arena (27th) and will be the final UK performance of the Red Piano for the foreseeable future.

It's sure to be an emotional night for Elton and his band. The show began at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace 5 years ago and ran there for an incredible 243 performances, in front of approximately 1 million people.

Sir Elton first brought this magnificent show to Liverpool in December last year as part of his 7 date UK Red Piano tour - the first times he had taken the show outside London. After rave reviews he returned to perform a spectacular New Years Eve concert at London's O2 Arena, broadcast live on ITV.

The larger-than-life set, complete with Elton’s iconic Yamaha red grand piano, has been conceptualised and designed to reflect Elton’s flamboyance alongside his peerless musicianship by acclaimed photographer and good friend of Elton, David LaChapelle. The theme throughout The Red Piano is love, symbolised by the colour red and articulated through the songs and state-of-the art effects and high-end imagery.

During the shows, audiences will be treated to live performances of the phenomenal back catalogue of Elton John and Bernie Taupin, including hits such as Rocket Man, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Candle In The Wind and Tiny Dancer.

Elton John said: “It's fantastic to see how British audiences react to the Red Piano. The show is stuffed with hits, it’s brash, bright and colourful. Over the past five years we have played over 240 Red Piano shows at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and every single one has been an event – the band and I have had a ball!

David LaChapelle said: “The show is a visual extravaganza, a collage of all the outrageous and beautiful images Elton has been responsible for in his career. I just wanted it to sparkle and shine and just be lush - almost edible, like looking at a candy store. Elton has had a lot of fun. There have been some sad parts in his life, but when he’s on that stage I think that he loves it. This was a way of showing that love of performing and pay tribute to it”.

Tickets will be on sale from Saturday 2 May at 10am and can be purchased by calling the venue box office or the Marshall Arts 24hr Credit Card Hotline on 0844 847 2450.