Ramin Karimloo (Album cover art provided by Crossover Media.)
Tony Award-nominated singer and performer Ramin Karimloo has released his second full-length album, From Now On, via Sony Masterworks Broadway. The 12-song collection places the consummate showman behind the mic for a series of musical theater and film covers that illuminate the range of his instantly recognizable voice.
“Recording this album in the studio has been one of my favorite experiences of my career,” says Karimloo. “Having producer Bob Held at the helm and my band recording songs we had toured with over the years was pure joy. There’s nothing better than being in the studio with friends and making music we love. I wouldn’t have wanted to do it any other way or with any other team. I’m so proud of what we produced and can’t wait to share it with the world.”
From Now On is just the latest in what is shaping up to be a big year for Ramin. The singer most recently performed alongside Barbra Streisand, joining the legendary icon onstage for a duet at her July show in London’s Hyde Park. The news follows what has already been a big year, which kicked off with his headlining the U.K. From Now On Tour and joining the cast of the hugely popular BBC One medical drama series Holby City.
The album is representative of both where Ramin came from and where he’s going, combining his lifelong love of music and musical theater into an impassioned and indelible body of work. After turning 40 in 2018, Ramin heard “From Now On” from The Greatest Showman, prompting the singer to look inward, reflecting on his life and career up to that point.
“The first time I heard ‘From Now On,’ the lyrics meant a lot to me,” Ramin says. “At this point, I had been with my band for so long it was probably the most consistent thing in my life apart from my wife and kids. I chose to put what was happening inside of me into our own version with those lyrics. It felt right. Without thinking about it, I came towards all of the other songs afterward.”
Accompanied by a group of musicians he refers to as his “Broadgrass” band, a term coined by the artist to denote a fusion of styles between classic Broadway songwriting and homegrown folk instrumentation, Ramin followed this original inspiration, introducing his new album with a rousing rendition of The Greatest Showman track. Incorporating fiddle, banjo and a piano into the arrangement, the album’s title track and lead single is indicative of the stylistic choices taken on From Now On, informed both by Ramin’s personal influences and the music itself.
“The term ‘Broadgrass’ originated onstage, as a way for me to leave the theatre for a bit while still getting to sing the songs that I love,” Karimloo says. “As time went on, we found a sound as a band. We didn’t apologize for how we approached songs, or worry about what the purists would think.”
Harnessing the collective energy of his onstage performances, Ramin and his Broadgrass band evolved into something that felt right for the new project. With a rush of excitement, he dove into the new album. Over just four days, Ramin and the band had recorded the remaining eleven tracks comprising From Now On alongside producer Bob Held [Paul Rodgers, Joe Bonamassa]. With music ranging from modern juggernauts like Hamilton, Frozen, and Dear Evan Hansen to classics such as Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Last Five Years, he curated the project like the ultimate concert setlist, recording the bulk of material live in the studio.
“No matter how unrelated the tracks may seem, they all connect,” Karimloo explains of his various song choices. “I had an interest in telling these stories and reinterpreting them musically. The band really has a shorthand together. They know how I’m going to sing sometimes before I even start. We aimed to honor the original drama, but put our own stamp on each one. How can we tell the story without losing the intent?”
He answers this question on the album’s second offering, an incendiary performance of “What You Own” from Rent. Upheld by a steady beat and resounding guitars, his voice adds raw and real power to the lyrics. Elsewhere, he strips “I Will Always Love You” down to acoustic guitar, piano, and vocal. Over this soft palette, he brings palpable intimacy to a tune so often associated with its overpowering bombast.
“When you listen to the music, I hope you can take some sort of courage and conviction from it,” he leaves. “These songs give me that. Believe in yourself. I believe many of these authors convey a message of self-confidence. I’m transmitting it in my own way.”