2015 was a phenomenal year for singer Beth Ford, with a top ten iTunes hit on her debut single, a viral YouTube video and a slot with soprano Rebecca Newman at Lichfield's Garrick theatre. All this and I haven't mentioned Beth's duet with Michael Boe for his album (with Sean Ashmore), Along the Way! However, 2016 is only a few weeks old and looks set to be just as good as last year, as Beth has just performed with Jonathan Antoine on the Birmingham leg of his Believe tour. Sharing the stage with Jonathan is an early highlight for Beth who said "I don't have words to describe what was one of the best days of my life. I have been on Cloud nine ever since and I am so happy that everyone had a good time. I am grateful to Jonathan Antoine for giving me this fabulous opportunity."
Angry Baby's Flo Bannigan went along to the concert and reviewed it for us:
Jonathan is the endearingly shy young man from Britain's Got Talent who, along with his duet partner, Charlotte Jaconelli, shot to overnight fame at the audition stage. Only Pudsey the dog robbed them of first place! At that time, Jonathan was only 17 years old. He has still only just turned 21, but despite his young age he has developed confidence that commands the stage as a solo performer. Thankfully, this isn't at the expense of a natural personality and playfulness that infects his singing and his chat with his audience. But it was the music that we came to hear, and we were not disappointed. Jonathan is much more than a classically-trained singer. His effortless vocals move from the strength and projection required for Granada through rich, plaintive tones for romantic Italian arias, to a truly tender lullaby Hushabye Mountain and love songs sung with softness and intensity that requires truly accomplished interpretation.
Jonathan's talent for singing is matched by his talent for choosing supporting acts and the highlight was local girl Beth Ford. Enchanted by Beth's pure, natural voice, which provided a gorgeous contrast to Jonathan's rich tones throughout their duet of Come What May, there was an audible gasp from the audience when they heard that Beth is just 15 years old.
If it's possible to feel an audience leaning in to hear and appreciate the emotion in every note, that's the effect that Beth created through her solo Beautiful Dreamer. There is something other-worldly about Beth's presence on stage and her hypnotic rendering of this classic song definitely left everyone wanting more. Another local act, Rugby's teenage ensemble The Strawhouse Singers ably rose to the challenge of supporting Jonathan's powerful vocals.
Of course, like six degrees of separation, Jonathan and Beth have both appeared on the same stage as Alfie Boe - Jonathan at 2015's Llangollen Eistedfodd and Beth memorably sang Impossible Dream with Alfie on his 2012 Bring Him Home tour. Dare I say that Beth has gone one better than Jonathan in recording with a Boe? As mentioned in the introduction, Beth recorded a duet version of Streets of London with Alfie's elder brother Michael in 2015.
This review first appeared on www.thoughtsofjustafan.com.
Along the Way, featuring Streets of London is available from North Star Opera.
Beth's debut single, If I Could Escape, is available from Beth Ford Music.