Sep 2, 2009

A Year On From Winning ‘Last Choir Standing’ Only Men Aloud Release Their Second Album ‘Band Of Brothers’

What a difference a year makes! Only Men Aloud, the Welsh choir who won last summer’s BBC1 TV show Last Choir Standing, return this autumn with their second album. Band of Brothers will be released a year after the win, which gained them the title of “The Nation’s Favourite Choir” and launched them into a new realm.

The choir, made up of 20 young men from South Wales, have experienced a rollercoaster ride since winning the BBC1 prime time Saturday night show. Within hours of winning and following a vicious bidding war between major record labels, Only Men Aloud signed a multi-million pound, five-album deal with Universal Music.

The record deal, the largest ever for a choir by quite some margin, was signed at Wales’ iconic Millennium Stadium exactly a year to the week before their second album launch. Their first album achieved gold status within a week and went on to sell over a quarter of a million copies.

In addition to their recording deal, Only Men Aloud signed to a world class management team who boast a roster including Denise Van Outen, Jodie Kidd, Jay Kay, Vanessa-Mae and Louise Redknapp. Their next step was to take on the US, and they were immediately snapped up by CAA (Creative Artists Agency), the agency behind David Beckham.

They have now performed at several huge venues across the US on two separate tours and are scheduled to be back in the USA in early 2010 for a lengthy tour.  Back in Britain, the choir completed a critically acclaimed and sold out UK tour including their hometown Cardiff Arena, and also had a personal invitation from Prince Charles to perform for Camilla, Prince Charles and their guests at a private function in Buckingham Palace.

The choir have attracted a number of high-profile and varied collaborations such as Josh Groban and Russell Watson plus home-grown Welsh talents Bonnie Tyler, Rhydian Roberts, Bryn Terfel, Aled Jones and Katherine Jenkins.

OMA now return with their second album Band of Brothers, in which they present interpretations of modern classics such as ‘Somebody to Love’, performed with Kerry Ellis who hails from the Queen musical ‘We Will Rock You’. The choir also go back to their Welsh roots, with traditional anthems such as ‘Land of Our Fathers’ and ‘Blaenwern’. Demonstrating the choir’s eclectic background and tastes, from opera through to rock songs, they are all truly great tunes despite being from varied sources.

Tim Rhys-Evans, MD of OMA, said of the new album, “From the beginning I wanted this to represent the wide range of repertoire. The arrangements have a filmic feel. I wanted it to be the kind of album that, if you were driving through a huge, open landscape, you would play on your car stereo. It’s fab and dandy – go buy a copy”.

Only Men Aloud Biography

Only Men Aloud were formed in January 2000 by Choir Master and Music Director Tim Rhys-Evans to inject some new blood into the Male Welsh Choir tradition. The choir have had regular slots on BBC Radio 4 and also Songs of Praise and in 2003 won the male choir category in the inaugural year of S4Cs Côr Cymru. Following on from this, the choir were chosen to perform on three separate occasions during the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre. They performed in the Opening Ceremony, Royal Gala, and also sang in the pre opening banquet honouring various eminent Welsh figures including Bryn Terfel, Sian Phillips and Shirley Bassey.

In 2008 Only Men Aloud entered what was to be the UK’s biggest choir competition to date, with UK choirs battling to become voted the best choir in the UK on BBC1’s hit Saturday night show ‘Last Choir Standing’. After battling through the rounds, OMA gave some incredible performances and after an all Welsh Final, were crowned the winners and the Nations favourite choir.

The choir signed a multi-album record deal with Universal Music and their debut album was released in November 2008, which has sold over a quarter of a million records. OMA have had an extremely busy year with international releases of their debut album plus a full UK sell-out tour, including Cardiff International Arena. This year also sees the choir record and release their second album with Universal Music.

Only Men Aloud have also just returned from their second trip to the USA. Earlier this year the choir were personally invited by the Welsh Assembly to perform as part of Wales Week USA. The choir were invited to perform in front of the First Minister of Wales and the British Ambassador at the British Embassy in Washington DC. The event promoted Wales as the featured Country in this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which has seen Only Men Aloud return to the States in June and July of this year. Their time in the States has also included performances in New York as well as several TV and Radio appearances, including major American television channel CBS.

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