For The Best - Graham J
2020 is a different year for many people. It is also the year which heralds a series of singles to be released by Graham J. This singer has been on my radar for a while because he is a musician whose voice has quality and depth but also because he is a singer willing to explore different musical avenues and journeys.
His rich, alto voice has seen him perform all over the world and with many collaborators. He has played the Laurie Beecham Theatre on Broadway, Pizza express in Holburn and the Pheasantry. His influences are Piaf, Fitzgerald, Brel, Bowie and others but his style is very much Graham J.
I reviewed his 2019 release 'Cry' which was a revelation and we often discuss music together. So, the chance to review his single release is also a chance to expand a little on this proud Irish musician.
Graham J has been singing virtually since he could walk. As a child, he sang soprano in a choir and matured into an opera singer. Later, he became known for his imaginative jazz deliveries and emotive performances. Graham has suffered personal set-backs but these have made him stronger as a person and given him a palette of colours with which to paint his songs. In 2019 he wowed audiences at the inaugural Southend Jazz Festival and in 2020 I was delighted to have a part to play in putting him in contact with the Italian pianist Marco Marconi and together they wowed audiences with their 'Connections' at Pizza Express Jazz in London.
Not surprisingly, Graham J has been approached by potential collaborators and in December 2019, legendary music producers F/H Block ( think Sam Smith, Emeli Sande) working out of Ealing Film Studios, London, began discussing working in collaboration with him.
‘For The Best’ is the first single to come out of this cooperation and signifies a change of direction for Graham whilst providing a vehicle to showboat his classically trained, distinctive vocals, throughout which jazz tones are seamlessly infused.
‘For The Best’ is a love story about second chances in love. It’s about a relationship breaking down when one of the pair goes seeking something 'better' but also the realisation that actually, what you were looking for has been right in front of you all along. With the return of the lover, the shared history forges a new and stronger bond - for the best. Graham's voice on the single is gorgeous, warm and his range is shown with its sweeping alto notes. The lyrical aspect is great too. This single also heralds the start of more to come. I have heard Graham sing on many recordings and his voice goes far beyond the range of this song, so in a sense, consider this a prelude, a taster. More is definitely to come.