Jim Brickman, the popular creator of a body of romantic tunes, returns to Honolulu with a one-night concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Blaisdell Concert Hall.
He’s celebrating his 25th anniversary on the 25th, preceding the upcoming release of his first all-vocal compilation of his biggest hits.
“It’ll be me, singing all of my hit songs, the first time I’ll be singing all the songs on the album,” he said of the milestone CD.
Brickman, 58, is one of the industry’s most prolific artists; he concertizes sitting at a piano and engages in conversations with his audiences, hosts a weekly syndicated radio show and travels annually with fans on a shipboard cruise. And he’s constantly honing his craft as an endearing instrumentalist of his time.
“I write a lot, I tour a lot, and you always want to challenge yourself with new things,” he said of his commitment to creativity. “The easy side is trying to keep the show fresh and exciting, so people keep coming back. The burden, the business side, has relevance to the show side, to bring in new people, and I would say streaming has helped my career tremendously; Pandora and Spotify have enabled stressed out people to find escape through my music.”
In these divisive, turbulent times, Brickman tries to provide relief and civility for his followers, offering laughter along with his melodic love songs. “I try to build a feeling of community, with some emotional moments, where people can gather and escape the chaos in their lives.”
Brickman said his music never is affected by external sources. “All of my songs come from within,” he said, emphasizing the personalization of his tunes. “All of the songs are influenced by what affects my personal life, not what’s on the news.”
So don’t expect a love song about impeachment, anytime soon.
“When I compose, I’m conditioned to come up with an overall concept or theme, and I do better with a core concept,” he said.
Two key themed projects on his plate now include the greatest hits compilation and another with a bossa nova tempo. With this framework, he’s proceeding to “sing every song that’s been a hit for me, which is challenging for me, since I don’t consider myself a singer. I’m a songwriter who sings, and it’s organic. The hit compilation will be the first where I sing everything.”
Among his best-selling titles are:
>> “Valentine,” his composition with guest singer Martina McBride. It’s become the hearts-and-flowers choice every Feb. 14.
>> “The Gift,” with Collin Raye and Susan Ashton on vocals, a tune co-authored by Brickman and Tom Douglas. It’s evolved as a signature yuletide evergreen.
>>“Destiny,” another Brickman collaborative effort (with Dane Deviller and Sean Hosein), with guest singers Jordan Hill and Billy Porter.
>> “Your Love,” an enduring love song by Brickman, featuring Michelle Wright; it was co-written by Deviller and Hosein.
Because he’s attracted to such artists like Sergio Mendes and Herb Alpert, he’s also engaged to create melodies with that contagious bossa nova tempo that he calls “very chill, something like Hawaiian, with a quality that really takes you away. It’ll be all original, colorful, with imagery. And with the bossa nova concept, inspiration comes.”
Since his 1994 debut as a recording artist, the Cleveland, Ohio, resident has released nearly 50 albums with titles such as “Peace,” “Hope,” “Love,” “Joy,” “Faith,” “Destiny” and “Escape,” reflecting the fabric of his musical vision. He has involved a range of ranking musical industry peers in his universe, including Lady Antebellum, Johnny Mathis, Olivia Newton-John, Michael W. Smith, Michael Bolton, Five for Fighting, Dave Koz, Wayne Brady and Donny Osmond. He’s a player in a variety of categorical realms, from pop to new-age, from adult contemporary to instrumental, with detours to the Christmas and Christian genres.
He has been Grammy-nominated and earned numerous gold-status rankings.
“I have a lot of relations with the Broadway community, and many Broadway singers sing my songs,” said Brickman. “I’m not quite sure what it takes, to write something theatrical, but something I write for Broadway — whether for my (concert) show, or the incarnation of my theatrical show — will be relatable.”
One certainty: Brickman said he’d never be a stand-up singer of his songs, with someone else or an orchestra providing the music. “In concert, you can drive it if you’re in control, decide where it all goes,” he said referring to performing while keyboarding. “When someone is accompanying you, you have to follow what they’re doing.”
He could expand his concert hall show and present it in a limited Broadway run. Or he could develop a storyline, with some factual elements, to include some new Brickman tunes and a catalog of his standards to add to the growing biographical hit musicals, joining the ranks of the Carole King and the Four Seasons productions.
“But as far as the career goes, I’m planning on something international,” said Brickman. “I’m working on a Spanish-language album, with versions (in Spanish) of all of my songs. The world has become a smaller place; the streams of my music from Brazil are really strong.”
Tickets: $39-$79, at jimbrickman.com or ticketmaster.com. …
About 20 friends and colleagues of the late comedian Rip Taylor boarded a boat to spread his ashes in the waters off Waikiki, his favorite destination. It happened on Jan. 13, his birthday, and his pals tossed lei and thousands of rose petals to bid him aloha. He died last Oct. 6 at age 88. Too bad no one tossed confetti, which was his zany but effective trademark. …
SOME ENCHANTED EVENING
Matthew Morrison, a star of Broadway (“South Pacific”) and TV (“Glee”), made a triumphant debut Jan. 10 at the Hawaii Theatre. He’s affable, charismatic and astute, with smooth dance moves that complemented his elegant vocal style.
Seasoned and sensational with body language that speaks volumes, he confessed that he felt “so at home here,” because his wife, Rene Puenta, is a former local; they got married on Maui; he used to sing backup for Don Ho; he strums the ukulele and even speaks “small kine pidgin.”
Loretta Ables Sayre, his “South Pacific” co-star, was the opening act, and they combined energy and emotion together on “Some Enchanted Evening.”
Morrison also served up a vigorous “West Side Story” medley, putting his splendid spin on a parade of both ballads and upbeat melodies, and a chorus from the I’m a Bright Kid Foundation did backup vocals to support Morrison’s abundant montage of “Hairspray” hits. Clearly, he’s got to return for another show. …
And that’s “Show Biz.”
Wayne Harada is a veteran entertainment columnist. Reach him at 266-0926 or firstname.lastname@example.org.