James says, “When the choir auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent they weren’t nervous at all; it was just like any other performance because for them it is not about winning or losing a competition. They are singing for a reason, to reach out to a loved one.”
The first episode of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent was on ITV on Saturday 15th April 2017.
Last Christmas James Hawkins Music project-managed and produced The Living Years by the London Hospices Choir and Paul Carrack. Film maker Rav Vagdama has created this short film about the making of the song.
We brought together a specially created choir of 300 patients, families, staff and volunteers of all ages from 18 hospices across London with Paul Carrack, the song’s original singer. The song was released at Christmas 2016 to raise awareness and vital funds for the hospices, and stayed at the top of the Official Physical Sales Chart for two weeks.
BA Robertson, the writer of The Living Years, highly commended the new version saying that the vocal was “better than the original”.
This beautiful song is still available to download here.
Lead vocalist, Paul Carrack, said, “The Living Years has been an important song for me for many years, but this is the version that means the most. Recording it with this incredibly special group of people for such a worthwhile cause has created some kind of magic. It’s a powerful and inspiring track, and I hope that everyone gets behind it this Christmas.”
Super pleased with the outcome of today! I was asked to assemble and direct a mixed choir of amateur and professional voices to record at Abbey Road Studios for artist Fox Amoore, on his latest album The Dreamcatcher. The singers recorded five album tracks and made the day smooth and inspiring with their smiling and professional attitude. Feedback from the composer was that he was moved by the powerful and beautiful sound we produced.
The singers all did themselves proud and here is a short snippet of a take from today’s session.
Theme Music for 2016 Wimbledon Tennis Championships
Click above to watch the 30 second trailer.
ESPN requested a recording featuring a choir to create an epic soundtrack that underscores their Wimbledon Tennis Coverage.
Jim quickly turned around their brief with the help of singers from Eclipse Choir and Get Gospel and created a stadium-sized production from the Chocolate Box Studio!
An unusual part of this job was the invitation to Jim and choir members to spend a day at the All England Lawn and Tennis Association in Wimbledon, where the championships are played, to be extras in the filming of the ESPN title sequence montage.
It was a great day (in spite of a LOT of rain showers!) and many thanks go to the team at ESPN and the film production team for their welcome, excellent humour and professionalism.
We’re so pleased that today, 20th May, the new Missing People charity single #iHope is released to the world!
Jim co-wrote and produced the song with the aim of highlighting the stories of the Missing People families ahead of International Missing Children’s Day on Wednesday 25 May 2016.
It’s been more than three months of hard work and over 250 recordings of singers, choral groups and musicians brought together in Chocolate Box Studio. But moreover it’s truly been one of the most significant and moving projects Jim’s ever worked on.
You can now watch the full music video below. It is released today, so if you love the film, head to iTunes, Google Play or Amazon to buy the single, and support the charity to reach more of the 140,000 children who go missing every year.
Released on May 20th, Jim Hawkins co-wrote and produced the single “I Hope” featuring the Missing People Choir, The Royal Mail Choir and a host of celebrities including Rick Astley, Chesney Hawkes, Carol Decker, G4 and Lesley Garrett amongst others. You can download the single from here: http://radi.al/IHope
I set up Eclipse Choir earlier this year to combine my love of working with live vocalists/musicians and being a music producer. I find I use the same fundamental principles for both roles and one strongly complements the other. In December we had our second big concert and it was a good demonstration of how bringing live, acoustic performance together with appropriate music technology and production can be really effective. I had budget enough to hire a cellist, harpist, flautist, guitarist, a double bass player and drummer and each played acoustically with no need for any sound reinforcement as the performance space had such a supportive acoustic. I filled in the gaps in accompaniment with elements from Spitfire+LASS’s string library, Omnisphere’s synth pads, 8Dio’s Epic Taiko Drums and snares, XLN’s Addictive Drums 2, Ilya Efimov’s Duduk, Garritan’s CFX Concert grand, East West’s Symphonic Choirs and Play Orchestra, Air synths such as Loom.
This mixture of live and pre-recorded sound was awesome and it was such a buzz to conduct!
I’m extremely proud to have continued work with an amazing and strong group of people who come together to sing for their missing loved ones. The Missing People Choir is made up of family members and friends who have lost a loved one. They are the most significant group of voices I’ve ever worked with and what we create together goes way beyond just singing. There is real purpose, a strong message, a release of true and deeply felt emotion as every word being sung is fuelled with the hope of reaching a missing person, a missing loved one, son, daughter, sister, brother, child…. It really is a very special choir.
This year I was invited to create a vocal arrangement of Alice Gross’s song, Don’t Let It Go Away. The choir and I met six times to rehearse and prepare for the performance at St Martin in the Fields on December 7th at the Missing People Christmas Service. The service was extremely well attended and all the readings were especially poignant. Rosalind Hodgkiss, mother of Alice, who was found murdered in 2014, appeared on Good Morning Britain in December to talk about her daughter and how Missing People supported them in the weeks she was missing. You can watch it here.
The choir performed at a slightly smaller service at York Minster the following week where they sang both Alice’s song and last year’s song, I Miss You, and the message was as strong as it was in London. Heart breaking. You can read more about the song I Miss You and our journey to write and record it here.
Christmas started early in June/July for Suzanne and Tracey from Singing Hands. My job was to record their vocals, arrange the musical accompaniments to meet their clear vision and ideas, mix and produce the albums. I expanded my sound library to incorporate a Didgeridoo, a Jaw Harp, a Thumb Piano and various Foli FX to help create the wonderfully imaginative world of Singing Hands! My 3-year-old son loved this project!
We initially recorded and arranged 28 songs for their 2016 Spring Term repertoire but quickly moved on to their choice of 19 Christmas songs for their latest DVD/CD release. It was great fun…sometimes a bit surreal working with these two charming and talented ladies who are probably the hardest working vocal duo I know! It’s humbling to see the effects of their work and I am inspired by their dedication and commitment to providing the service of happiness through singing and Makaton sign language.
If you haven’t met Singing Hands yet then take a look at the amazing and life-changing work they do with children across the country here: