Hello, Meredith, and welcome to BWW:UK. You're releasing your album Someone Else's Story after a long break from West End theatre...
Well, I had children – so it's not really been a break! After I finished my run in The Secret Garden, I stopped doing eight shows a week, and did concerts and ads, and since then I've been Mummy.
So what made you want to come back and record this album?
I've played the roles I wanted to. I'm not hugely ambitious in that way, and I was doing a demo for fun. Then the producer mentioned an old interview he'd read of mine where I said I didn't want to do a solo album unless I was autonomous, and asked whether I would be interested in that now. Before that, I didn't think I felt old enough. It's been a delight – I have the understanding to sing those songs now.
It's interesting that you say that - I've spoken to many performers who are in the thirties and beyond who have said similar things, that they didn't have the life experience to understand a particular song when they were a teenager...
I love being the age I am now. I wouldn't have been able to sing these songs when I was younger. That's what makes it interesting. It's not ambition that drives me with this, I love the process of recording, but not so much the repetition of eight shows a week. I have friends who just love performing, and they just want to get up there and sing and that's it, but it doesn't do it for me.
So how did you go about putting this album together?
Tim [the producer] and I put some ideas down – some overlapped, and they were definites. Then there were some others I really wanted to do, such as Love Never Dies - I'd played Christine in The Phantom of the Opera and wanted to do her as a grown-up. And then I'd always wanted to record some Sondheim - and I didn't want to record anything I'd done before. It all came together easily.
You're someone who's had a huge range of material to choose from because you've switched between belt roles and more operatic parts...
The way I see it, belting is primary colours. That's how I started out. Then I stopped to train operatically, and I think it's more subtle. I like to use a combination if possible, but it's nice to have that choice - it's like a palette. But acting comes first – I go to the lyrics first when I'm looking at how to perform a song. Music takes over from there.
Does this all mean we won't see you back on stage? Is recording something you'd like to do more of?
Recording has been so brilliant; I can work around my children. In terms of theatre, I think I've left that behind – I'm Mum, first and foremost.
There's talk of a few charity cabarets, but yes, possibly more recording - I do like the process, and there's more stuff I'd like to record, such as When Love Is Gone from The Muppets' Christmas Carol, which I did ten years ago now! And I live near the fantastic Chichester Festival Theatre – I would love to be involved on the other side of the stage and take people through the creative and production process.
Meredith Braun's debut solo album Someone Else's Story is out on March 26th from Stage Door Records.