Monday, February 18, 2013

Composer and Lyricist Charles Bloom: A Lesson in Excellence!



Charles Bloom

Talent does what it can and genius does what it must.  
Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Charles Bloom is originally from Los Angeles. 
He was born to screenwriter, the late Harold Jack Bloom and the late actress, Carolyn Kearney. 

He studied music theory and composition at NYU.
He happens to be one of the fastest rising and most sought after composers and lyricists around.

Charles' cabaret/revue works have been heard in venues all over the world. Among the long list of artists to perform/record songs from his extensive, stylistically diverse catalogue are: Patti LuPone, Mandy Patinkin, Michael Feinstein, Christine Ebersole, B.D. Wong, Cheyenne Jackson, Andrea Marcovicci, Bruce Vilanch, Vicki Lewis, Alix Korey, Lindy Robbins, Aaron Lazar, Barbara Walsh, Matt Castle, Julie Reyburn and Richard Todd Adams.
For the theatre, he has written the book, music and lyrics to Pablo, Insomnia and Heaven Knows and the score to Character Breakdown. Active archives of some of his catalogue for student/faculty use are held by the musical theatre departments of over twenty five universities in the US and abroad. The scores to Heaven Knows and Insomnia (Produced and Orchestrated by David Snyder) were both recipients of grants from The Anna Sosenka Trust. His work comprised an entire edition of the popular Australian musical theatre radio show, Broadway at Bedtime, hosted by Will Conyers.
Charles is a member of The Dramatists Guild, ASCAP and Mercury Musical Developments (MMD).

I was lucky enough to sit down with him a few weeks ago to celebrate his body of WORTH AND  his debut recording, titled Music and Lyrics by Charles Bloom: IN HERE was just released by Sonic Landscapes.We began by my asking him if there was any composer or lyricist that HE would like to work with. He said that there are many people in the business that he regrets having never met. That also connects in with never having worked with some of those. 
One who has influenced Charles is Noel Coward. Even if they had not worked together, Charles would have loved to have been in his presence for a tea. Charles is heavily connected and drawn to the classics.
Charles’ current CD, he wrote both the music and lyrics. He vary rarely collaborates on a song because for him it is a very selfish insular expression. One of his current projects involves him working in collaboration with a playwright, Karl Gadjusek. He wrote some of the lyrics to a song called This Lake
Julie Reyburn sang it at a benefit. Charles and Julie go way back...She has been singing his music since 2001...wow....He has given her some wonderful opportunities singing his songs, originating a role in his musical Heaven Knows and appearing on the cast recording..lots of readings and many rehearsals....This Lake was first recorded a few years back and it appears on his website.

There is no video unfortunately....BUT this song is a finalist in the first annual song competition sponsored by the Concert for City Greens produced by Raissa Katona Bennett...Julie had the opportunity of performing the song for the first time in front of an audience last summer at Tudor City. 
Julie Reyburn
She is looking forward to singing it for the finalist show soon...
Charlie is a wonderful man and a wonderful composer....he music deserves a wider audience and with his new CD, I think it's only a matter of time before the world discovers how special his music is.  I'm honored to have been a part of many a demo, show and reading...and look forward to more! Julie Reyburn 

The Lake was written in one night! Part of the collaboration process of working with someone else keeps one from being lazy. 
Richard Rodgers had issues working with Lorenz Hart due to his laziness. The opposite was true of his collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein II. Hammerstein once said that he spent a long time on the lyrics of Bali Hai and Richard Rodgers wrote the music in twenty minutes! There needs to be some elasticity in the collaborative process in order not to exclude people. Charles hasn’t written that many songs with other people just because music and lyrics are such a personal relationship as far as Charles is concerned. There is inevitability with them that he has always thought of both as a simultaneous expression. That is the most satisfying and productive way for Charles to go. He says don’t tell Andrew Lloyd Webber that! If he wanted a lyricist, Charles is available!
Truth telling is what draws Charles to an artist’s work. Also, risk taking, something that is either bold to its subject or updating its subject…a bravery if one will pardon the verbosity of that. Bravery is trusting in the authenticity of one’s own voice no matter how shallow trends may become and change and being able to stick to that voice. That doesn’t mean one gets rusty and inflexible. There is something in keeping to your own point of view no matter what the dictates of the times are. Charles has made a promise to himself and his work and he is sticking to it. That is about it as far as bravery in his own life is concerned. To anyone else, a life in the arts is an act of bravery in and of itself. 
He would advise that if anyone can CHOOSE to do something else, they should. He cannot. He is a show biz brat. That’s his excuse. When it comes to singers, he is drawn when they are drawn to his work. He generally finds that when he gets enthusiasm in his direction, he gives it back twice fold.
When I asked him where he sees himself in five years. He said, “If only I had that kind of control to control that vision!” He would love his work and the philosophy behind that work to be flourishing. He would love for that to be not only with singers but also educational institutions. He would like the combination of both a professional presence and an appreciated contributor to the education of people in the arts. If he could have the combination of those two things in five years that would be a life well lived.
His heroes in the arts are different people at different times for different things. He goes back to Harry Chapin and Jim Croche. Before Charles had written any songs, he was just absorbing the structure of people who wrote well. When he started writing himself the names that we are very familiar with began to pop up, Sondheim, Coward, Porter, Loesser. 
David Snyder, Charles Bloom, and Paul Special
He deals with people that, by their work, suggest to him that they were in it for the long haul. Posterity matters. It doesn’t mean that one has a hit all the time. It doesn’t mean you don’t have clunkers. There is a core philosophy to the work that we respect as creators and entertainers. There is a longevity implied in the work. That is something that he has tried to instill in his own work and still does. He is willing to make that bargain. He would rather have something that lasts. When he detected that as a kid growing up, he gravitated to that immediately. As stated earlier, he is the son of a screen writer. His father has passed away but he had the implicit understanding that he was writing something that was supposed to sell and go on. He wasn’t writing an ode to a sunset. That is Charles’ driving force, something that will last.
On the day that I interviewed Charles, I asked him what he had done that day to become a better artist. He said he got up to talk to me! I hope the rest of you are listening! It was only ten in the morning. He had also cleaned up his piano which sometimes gets cluttered with laziness. He finds that when he creates a better working space, that good things come out of it. Sometimes, the space starts to reflect his mood. He had also received an E-mail that morning from London and he signed off on two concerts of his works in London. I was the first to hear about it because he had gotten word two hours prior to our interview. These will happen next month and are repeats of a concert that was done in October. 
Christine Ebersole with Sue Matsuki behind her cheering Charles Bloom
The music of Charles has been extremely popular in UK entertainment events this spring, summer and fall. He is also planning upcoming events at both 54 Below and The Metropolitan Room in NYC. He is also working on a new show called Character Breakdown.
Supportive friends are the ones who have been most involved in Charles’ career. When it comes to hands on involvement, he has truly been blessed with a small menagerie of devoted friends who may not mean anything to some reading this blog. One in particular is a woman named Bonnie Hofkin if the Northshore Music Theater who heard Charles’ music for the first time fifteen years ago. She has helped it flourish to the degree that she could. His orchestrator, David Snyder, who orchestrated Charles’ latest CD has been involved with his work from the beginning and knows it very well. He knows Charles’ catalogue almost as well as he does. Charles says he forgets things. From a higher height, Charles supposes that although Sondheim is not directly connected with his work, he is connected from the point of view of the passion that he applies to his work, giving one’s life to something. That is hand’s off but matters a great deal.
Charles’ greatest vice is gullibility. He tends to be very trusting and romantic. He supposes one’s real life feeds the creative life and this sometimes creates challenges. He should have a better separation of “church and state.” His greatest virtue is persistence.

Julian Snyder, David Snyder, and Christine Ebersole CD Release Party (BroadwayWorld.com)
The secret of longevity in this business is not dying! It is also connected to perseverance and being able to adapt to changing expressions but to do it as his own by keeping up to date. Putting new furniture in old houses is one way of looking at it. Charles tries to deal in classic forms but not with old fashioned expressions. He keeps on updating himself and restating and always changing his definitions of happiness and anger and things that he writes about so that they keep on moving forward with how the world works.
Damon Kirsche (BroadwayWorld.com)
If Charles could go back to any time in his life, he would go back to his high school years. It would be to revisit his most influential teacher who was neither a singer or an actor or a musician. He was a dancer and still is even in his seventies. He learned so much about taste and truth from this teacher, Don Bondi. He learned so much about learning from him, not just about dates and memorizing, but LEARNING. He was the person that Charles absolutely desired to please so much. He was so unlike Charles’ parents. He didn’t take his BS.
Charles watches very little TV. As soon as he is being told to laugh, he doesn’t laugh. He doesn’t watch a lot of episodic or musical TV. When he does watch TV, it is the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. He does like to have noise on when he is writing but not musical noise. Silence makes him nervous. He normally has baseball on from April until November. He sometimes has sports on but the sound down low. He doesn’t want to hear the words, just the noise. He watches the news a lot. 

We touched upon politics as well and the ONGOING AIDS epidemic. Charles believes that everything about politics is abolishing the idea of consecutive re election. As soon as they take out the impetus to keep one’s job in a re-election, a politician’s mindset can be on doing the best they can about everything else. When that happens, politicians are no longer in service to a self motivating need or a self perpetrating outcome. That is the mindset that needs to be in place politically to get things done about anything. We need to promote the importance and worth and emotional connection between people. When it comes to AIDS and politics, we need to get past the judgment of a man desiring to love another man with societal concern or worry. That needs to be lifted up. By doing this, people living with AIDS will also be given more self esteem. The self esteem itself will probably lead to better behavior. When one changes the course of that behavior so as not to go in destructive directions, one of the directions that it hopefully will not go into is a direction in which people get infected.

Michael Feinstein
I recently interviewed Michael Feinstein. Look for the result of that interview in an upcoming blog. We touched upon his great American Songbook Initiative. 
This is basically limited to high school youth. (Charles says upstage and dimly lit, he is vaguely convincing as a high school student!) There are a great many singers and entertainers who have started late in life. Opportunities for older entertainers are very hard to find these days. Full disclosure: Charles has known Michael for many years. 
He has been very supportive of Charles’ songbook. Charles knew him in Los Angeles when he was playing in cabarets. 
Everyone knew there was a niche for Michael. Charles is very pleased with how it all turned out for Michael.
The advice that Charles would give to older entertainers looking for new and special material is to call him! He realizes that he is not the only answer. The culture today is not as funneled freely with songs of that kind of structure. 

It is out of their power. There aren’t as many radio stations anymore that play that type of song. It also takes a certain amount of collaboration on behalf of the audience. Today’s audience doesn’t all have the attention span that audiences used to.
That’s a whole other matter. To process that is sometimes called old fashioned, which is also wrong. There are a lot of things against an older performing having meadows in which to run musically. It still exists. There are still many people who deal in structure and form. It is all a matter of having outlets. Charles is hoping that that old school of songwriting returns to popularity. We are not going to see revivals of rap songs.
I asked Charles if he had ever been in despair over a project, and if so, how he overcame that. The answer is yes. 
with Christine Ebersole
He fired the person he was involved with. Charles knew the idea was right. The person that he was working with was not right. He had to take action. It is now dried up water under a long passed bridge. As a composer and lyricist, yes, he goes through despair on some songs. Figure it out and finish it. Sometimes the despair is in realizing that it wasn’t that good an idea to begin with. 
Charles’ nature is not to leave things unfinished. He’ll just finish it and move on. The despair is overcome just by finishing it.
This question comes from Michael Feinstein: Does Charles believe in reincarnation? “In another life I did” is Charles’ response!
Charles is most proud of his dog, a ten year old Springer Spaniel named Toby, a true treasure.
Charles hopes that his songs will go out and make him proud of them. 
A great way for that to happen is to purchase his latest CD. It is a musical sanctuary for people to enjoy the sort of music that draws them to a great theatrical acumen and a great sense of theatrical history. Not only that, but of song structure. It is music that is accessible and inclusive. It is the type of music that has been featured by many of the singers I have written about in my blogs. When people listen to this music, they will know it is written for their sensibilities in mind with real intelligent audience members in mind, the way that it used to be. This recording was recorded like it used to be. It was recorded LIVE with a twenty piece studio orchestra. 
with David Snyder
It was not done piece meal. The entire CD was recorded over two days. There is a thrill to that. It varies in style. Every song may not appeal to everyone. There is structure and music that takes the listener to unexpected places in expected ways. It is like an original cast album the way we remember except that all of the songs are not from one show. Entre nous, some of the songs are trunk songs that have been excised from past Charles Bloom shows. They have been “universalized” by Charles so that when the listener is listening, they don’t question what the songs are saying or are about.  
    I believe that ALL of my readers will connect with this CD.
Charles believes that most audiences are under estimated. Give the audiences something great and we all will get so much more than the dummying down mentality that is pervasive in the arts right now.
Thank God for Charles Bloom and David Snyder striving to RAISE THAT BAR! Here is the interview with David Snyder. 

  Order Charles Bloom's debut recording, titled Music and Lyrics by Charles Bloom: IN HERE  released by Sonic Landscapes.
     
Thank you Charles Bloom for the gifts you have given to the world and continue to give!


With grateful XOXOXs ,



Go to http://CallonDolly.com  and hit the LIKE button and possibly when a prize. Drawings from LIKES daily at 5PM EST for fabulous prizes! Please pay it forward...If you've already hit the LIKE button, tell your friends!


If you have anything to add or share, please contact me at Richard@RichardSkipper.com.


NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!


Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!    
               
My next blog will be...My exclusive interview with Mark Chapman on Betsy Palmer and Sylvia Syms' Productions of Hello, Dolly!

Thank you, to all the mentioned in this blog!


  
Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!



TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com                            
 
This Blog is dedicated to ALL THE DOLLYS and ANYONE who has EVER had a connection with ANY of them on ANY Level!  
     
         


No comments:

Post a Comment