CCUK are proud to introduce Eden, featuring sopranos Lucy Campbell and Libby Johnstone. They released their debut album in 2011, but are now ready to release their second, one that promises to be a little different from any other classical crossover album...
How did you meet and when did you decide you would work as a duo?
Lucy: We had both been bubbling around the musical theatre circuit for quite some time. Working on the same shows, for the same production houses but never at the same time. We had heard of each other but had never actually met. It was a mutual friend who eventually introduced us when we were randomly and separately in St Lucia. We hit it off straight away, and Eden came shortly after.
Libby: So it's all thanks to our friend Steve! I put the show together a few years ago (although it's a very different show now from when we first started) and was looking for someone to perform with. I was chatting to our friend Steve about it and he mentioned Lucy, who I had heard of, so I emailed her, explained the situation and sent some songs over. She recorded herself and sent some back, and that was it!
What are your musical backgrounds?
Libby: I didn't start singing properly until I was 19 when I went to the London School of Musical Theatre. I got pigeon holed into singing the classical musical theatre side of things, which I personally loved and just took it from there. One of my teachers was the original Carlotta in Phantom so we just used to sing trills and runs all the time (even though the rest of my teachers were trying to get me to belt, I wouldn't have any of it). Before that it was just singing in my room and singing duets with my Dad. The first song he made me learn was "All I Have To Do is Dream" by The Everly Brothers when I was five years old - he made me learn the harmony, so I guess that's why I love performing harmonies so much now.
Lucy: I haven't had any formal training and am predominantly self-taught. In the past I have had some excellent one on one vocal coaches which led to me following the classical route. Previously my vocal coach has worked with some amazing artists – even warming Pavarotti before a huge London performance!
Do you write music or play any instruments?
Lucy: Yes, it has been quite some time since I have had my quill out to write a song, but I plan on getting back to it in the future. I previously wrote and produced an album, and it is well hidden!
Libby: I write music but not lyrics. I play piano, clarinet, violin (I'm rubbish - I sound like a strangled cat) and self-taught guitar which I can probably only play about three notes on now as I gave my guitar away a long time ago.
Who inspires you?
Libby: So many different artists, I'm a huge Metallica fan so it's great that we've been able to do something with one of their songs, we take inspiration from so many different genres, from 80's, to country, all the way to rock. But the reason I started singing was a performer called John Partridge. I first saw him in Starlight Express in the nineties, and it was his voice that made me want to sing. I just used to sing to myself in my bedroom. He's since gone on to star in Eastenders, so he's quite well known on the TV circuit but he started in musical theatre.
Lucy: Over the years I have been inspired by so many different artists from Metallica to Celine Dion.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
Lucy: I know it's not musical, but when my sister became a mum.
Libby: It sounds a bit geeky, but when I first heard one of our songs (Kiss From A Rose) on the radio in the UK - that was pretty exciting! I called all my friends and made them listen to it too!
Can you tell us about your upcoming album?
Lucy: It is the most exciting thing that we have done in our combined career so far. It is going to be a double album; one side dedicated to traditional classical pieces and the other contemporary crossover songs. We were lucky enough, yet again, to work with the RSNO and have put all of the arrangements together ourselves. It is our baby, and we are so excited to hear the finished item.
Libby: It's a mixture of modern songs we love and the majority of songs on the album haven't been covered before in the classical crossover world; or at least not the way we've arranged them, so it's exciting for people to hear our new music and see what they think.
How do you balance artistry vs. what sells? Do you care either way?
Libby: When we first started we very much designed our set and our music to what we thought people wanted to hear. It included a lot of the classical standards, but as we've progressed and found our sound, the act has evolved and now we work on songs that we want to do and love, but also we think people want to hear these songs, so it's a win-win situation.
Lucy: Personally, I feel that people can get a little too precious about this. A great song for me is one that evokes emotion in the listener, and as long as my song choices do that, I feel I am making the right artistic choice. I am quite a pop listener anyway, and I generally love the songs that sell. However, if I was being asked to perform something I hated, then there would have to be a very good reason to make me do it. I can be a stubborn old goat at times!
How is the internet/social media affecting your career?
Lucy: It's an amazing tool for all musicians. The industry has changed so much over the past few years and social media is now a huge part of it. So far, we have only seen the positive side. It has helped us to achieve more support and reach a global audience. It is a way to make your music accessible to anybody, anywhere. Used correctly it's a great thing.
Libby: It's definitely helping us at the moment; it's helping us reach people all around the world we'd never even have been able to get to ten years ago, so it's definitely a good thing for us right now.
Would you ever consider going on a reality TV show?
Libby: We have actually been asked twice before by the same show!
Lucy: It always depends on the circumstance.
What advice would you give to anyone planning on a career in music?
Both: Work hard and then a little harder. Push to your limits and know your own mind.
In your opinion, does classical crossover benefit or hinder classical music?
Lucy: In my opinion it benefits classical music. I feel that it has taken a style of music that, to many, has had a stigma attached to it for being stiff and stuffy. It has made classical music more accessible to the general public and has hopefully opened their eyes into the beauty of the genre.
Libby: I definitely think it helps and introduces a new style of music to people that wouldn't necessarily listen to classical music at all. It's a nice balance between pop and classical that can appeal to a younger audience.
What are your plans for the future?
Lucy: We have no plans set in stone. We like to let the wind blow us wherever she wishes and hopefully we land somewhere exciting. As long as we can continue working and enjoying our music, then we are happy.
Libby: Hopefully keep working hard and performing to bigger audiences and just getting our music heard on a larger scale would be great.
Eden's second album will be released later this year. Their debut album is available now: