By Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star ) Updated March 23, 2012 12:00 AM
Blake comprising of Humphrey Berney (tenor),
Ollie Baines (tenor), Jules Knight (baritone)
and Stephen Bowman (bass-baritone) wants
to collaborate with such Pinoy artists as Lea
Salonga, Charice and Regine Velasquez
MANILA, Philippines - Look who’s back: The British pop-classical quartet Blake has returned to the country, still heady with stories from its previous visit late last year.
The vocal harmony act, brought to the country by Ayala Malls, will be staying for a little over two weeks, the duration of which will have its members guesting in TV shows as well as doing fashion/product shoots. And collaborations with local artists, perhaps? “We’d love to,” they chorused, citing Lea Salonga, Charice and even Regine Velasquez (they had a meeting with her during their last visit) as the Pinoy artists they hope to work with in the future.
Blake is comprised of Humphrey Berney (tenor), Ollie Baines (tenor), Jules Knight (baritone) and Stephen Bowman (bass-baritone). All of them have essentially classical training as musical background like Humphrey and Jules in particular who were choristers since aged seven. In terms of influences, they draw inspiration from a diverse range of artists, from the Beachboys to BoyzIIMen.
After yesterday’s performance at Greenbelt 5, The Gallery, Blake will be at the Trinoma Activity Center today.
Blake has been together for five years now. It’s widely known as the group that Facebook built, as it all started with Jules and Ollie deciding to form a group and contacting possible members on Facebook. They then sought out Daniel Glatman, former manager of the popular UK boyband Blue, to steer the group’s foray into the industry. They called themselves Blake after their shared admiration for the English poet-visionary William Blake.
The group’s career highlights include singing at the wedding of the Royal Couple Prince William and Kate Middleton. Some of their hits were selected as themes for global campaigns for a cause and sporting events, such as the Beautiful Earth as World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour anthem and the group’s version of the Swing Low as the official anthem of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Blake is riding high on the new wave of Brit talent happening right now, with Adele on the frontlines. Nevertheless, the group also said that there’s a universal resurgence of appreciation for music that really showcases vocals, as well as an interest in a more eclectic set of music thanks to music shuffle technology and the like.
Blake will have a performance today at the Trinoma Activity Center.
Since the Blake guys’ last visit here, they’ve toured extensively around the world, but they claimed there’s nothing quite like the Filipino audience.
Jules said that what they enjoy about Filipino fans is that “you seem to be more willing to embrace emotional songs or songs with sentimentality.”
Ollie noticed that there’s a tremendous vocal reaction with “people singing with the songs.” “They stood up, they cheered, they’re very unreserved, as compared to the English audience, that normally holds back, but we still love (the English audience) dearly,” he noted.
Stephen added with a laugh, “That’s why we want to move back to the Philippines and (always) experience Filipino hospitality. From our last visit, we experienced incredible hospitality. (The moment we arrived) I think everybody extended a warmth which we never experienced anywhere else the world. It is unique to the Philippines.”
Jules also said, “We’ve been to Australia, Russia, America… there’s something that struck us with the people in the Philippines. Incredibly friendly, smiling, happy with their lives, and you cannot say that with every country in the world.”
he group also has struck several friendships during their past visit, including with some celebrities. We caught the tail-end of the TV interview that preceded our chat last Wednesday at the Mandarin Oriental in Makati, and interestingly, Jules admitted to going out with KC Concepcion last year. “I hope to get to know her more,” he shared, beaming.
Meanwhile, Blake has released a special edition of Blake Together, remixed and remastered and bearing a “little bit of pop, classical, rock and combination of personal experiences,” under Universal Records. Blake has sold one million albums worldwide to date and earned two Brit awards since the release of its self-titled debut record in 2007.