THE LEADING MEN: Ramin Karimloo, the London Star of Les Miz, The Phantom of the Opera and Love Never Dies

By Mark Shenton
12 Jun 2012

Cover art for "Human Heart"
So how did the album come together?
RK: I was very specific — I didn't want to do a theatre album, not because I don't like musical theatre, but I don't know enough about it. I'm not a connoisseur of it — I didn't get brought up on it! I haven't seen The Wizard of Oz in the West End! And I wondered what I would do apart from what I've done already — and though I'm very proud of the shows I've been in, there are already definitive versions out there of the shows I've done.

Apart from "Till I Hear You Sing" from Love Never Dies, of course, where you're the definitive version!
RK: Why thank you!

So you wanted to do something different than what, say, Michael Ball does?
RK: There's nothing wrong with that, but he knows that world better than I do. When we started talking about my roots and things I've been hiding for years, they got excited. We knew we had to bridge the gap between where I'm coming from and where I'd like to go. And one of the places I'd like to go is to that [fact that] there's a songwriter in me and I'm very passionate about music. So I wanted to make an album, but I didn't just want to be a singer on it! And that excited them, too — they expected me to want to come in and do what I do. And this isn't just about one album, it's going to be a process. This is the first step, and what we've come up with is the best thing we could have done.

How much of it is original?
RK: Most of it — I've co-written four of the tracks, "Eyes of a Child," "Broken Home," "Show Me Light" and "Inside My World," and we've got new songs from Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater, who wrote "Human Heart," and Ryan Tedder, who wrote "Coming Home." The two Phantom songs are important to me, too — they're part of my journey and part of who I am a musician. But we're not being ambassadors of the shows with those songs — they've been given new arrangements so they fit into the album. There's a recording of me doing "Till I Hear You Sing" already, so we had to make it fit this album as if it had been written for it. And of course I've not recorded "Music of the Night" before.

The album feels quite serious and emotional.
RK: Yes, for me it is about remorse, redemption and rites of passage. It's about finding ourselves — we're always finding ourselves. I have no regrets about anything that's happened, though — all of it makes me what I am today, and hopefully I will just keep growing.