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Adrian Snell, Singer/Songwriter/Musician

ADRIAN SNELL

"Just for the record, who is Adrian Snell?’"

 This headline appeared in Great Britain's 'The Sunday Express' in 1997.

In cataloguing the late Princess Diana’s music collection, DJ Paul Gambaccini had come across a number of CDs recorded by Adrian, alongside those by Elton John, George Michael and Dire Straits. Who was this artist rubbing album sleeves with these household names?

The story was picked up by The Daily Express and London's 'The Sunday Times', and a bit of research soon revealed that Adrian had performed a concert for the Leprosy Mission, of which Princess Diana was patron, at Peterborough Cathedral, and that following this she had invited him to perform a private fundraising concert at a hotel in London.

Until that moment Adrian had remained quiet about his work with Princess Diana. But just when national media interest could propel Europe’s leading contemporary Christian musician into the mainstream, Adrian decided that his musical career should go in a very different direction.

Taking a sabbatical from writing, recording and performing, Adrian began to train as a music therapist at Bristol University. This was a bold move by an artist whose album The Passion, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, was premièred on BBC Radio One, and whose Alpha and Omega concerts attracted audiences across Europe totalling a quarter of a million.

 Adrian was now working behind closed doors with children and adults with special needs, and with the in-mates of a category 'C' Prison (men serving a 'life' prison sentence).

 It was a far cry from concerts at The Royal Albert Hall and Hammersmith Odeon, London, The Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, The 'Cirque D'hiver' Paris, The Palace of Culture, Zurich and even, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel...the most potent and profound memorial to the six million Jewish men, women and children, who were murdered by the Nazi regime in Germany, 1939 - 1945...

Since making this transition Adrian has been in 'semi-retirement' as a performer and recording artist. Notable exceptions have been the release of his 2006 album, Every Place is Under the Stars, recorded at his home in Bath, and the première of his major choral work 'The Cry: A Requiem for the Lost Child' at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, in 2008 on behalf of Save the Children.

Introduced by the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Cry featured a cameo appearance by Adrian and a rap recorded specially by Desmond Tutu.

In 2011 Adrian made another bold decision. The years of working as a music therapist with children with special needs at Three Ways School in Bath and with adults and children in the town of Korca, Albania, convinced him that there was an important story to tell about the power of music therapy to transform lives for the better, and that the way to communicate this was through his music.

The first step was to develop a production, Beyond Words, for the 2011 Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival. The second was to begin recording a new album, "Fierce Love", at his music room in Three Ways School, using the instruments and soundscapes he employs as a music therapist, working with his son and music producer, Jamie, and daughter and musician, Carla Jae.

(Beyond Words will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on October 6th 2013, and "Fierce Love" will be released as a download album and CD on 28th September 2013

"Fierce Love" draws inspiration from those Adrian works with as a music therapist and has all the hallmarks of an Adrian Snell album: rich sound textures, haunting melodies, intelligent lyrics - and a remarkable ability to connect the listener with the subject of the songs at a profound level. Beyond Words uses songs from the new album – and much more.

Just for the record... this is Adrian Snell – and he is back working on an album and performances that will please those who have waited patiently for his return, and will intrigue those yet to discover one of the most gifted and respected - yet hidden - talents of British contemporary music.

 

 

Richard Frieden