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CULTURE: Especially for you; Eighties heart-throb Jason Donovan promises a night of nostalgia at Birmingham's Symphony hall in December - Andy Coleman finds out more.

Byline: Andy Coleman

Not only will fans be treated to Jason'shits from20years ago, including Especially For You and Any Dream Will Do, but the singer will be delving further back in timeto showcase his new covers albumLet It Be Me.

"The record is mainly a collection of songs from the late 50s and early 60s," explains the 40-year-old star.

"The idea came from an earlier UMTV/Decca compilation, Dreamboats and Petticoats. They wanted to do another recording but profile it as a person, rather than 40 different artists." Jason thinks he was chosen for the project because he'd already covered, and had hits with, oldies Sealed With A Kiss and Rhythm Of The Rain, both newly re-recorded and included on Let It Be Me.

"Those years produced some of the most beautiful, simple love songs of all time and have something to offer for music fans today," he claims. "This album manages to capture the spirit of my recording career once again and ticks a lot of boxes for me. The songs will appeal to all ages but I feel I'malso bringing them to a new audience.

"At Symphony Hall I plan to do some material from the new record, plus I'll throwin a bit of an 80s mix. You can't do a Jason Donovan concert without Especially For You, Any Dream Will Doand Too Many Broken Hearts - I don't think I'd get out alive if I didn't do them!" But it won't all be looking back.

Let It Be Me features two new tracks, co-written by Jason which he may perform in concert alongside some previously unheard material.

"I'd like to include some of the songs I've written over the last couple of years," he reveals.

Jason is one of the most successful singers in British history with world sales of 13 million albums and four UK chart-toppers. Following the release of his secondalbum, BetweenThe Lines, he became 1989's biggest selling artist throughout the UK and Europe.

His concert tours, including his headlining PWL Roadshows, were reminiscent of Beatlemania.

Music has always been a driving force for the singer but Let It Be Me is his first album release since 1994's All Around The World and hisGreatest Hits in 2006.

He admits that his past struggles with drugs, documented in his frank 2007 autobiography Between The Lines, has given his current work a new dimension.

His surprise Balimarriage in May this year to his long-term partner, stage manager Angela Malloch and the birth of his two children, Jemma and Zac, have cemented his personal contentment which he feels reflects in his latest project.

"Becoming a father has driven me and there is a focus to why I'm doing my work. The blond, blue-eyed kid that was looking for respect in the 80s and 90s has had to go through what I've been through to be able to earn it.

"My voice has matured and I'm just more confident in my job. I'm genuinely excited about recording again. I sing these songs without complication and they suit my vocals.

"I'm a true romantic. Imust be. I guess when youtake your girlfriend toBaliand then marry her a few days after proposing, there has to be some romance in your soul."

Jason may have put his recording career on hold for a time but he has always been busy on stage and screen.

In particular he shone in his portrayal of Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at London's Palladium in 1991. The show was a box office smash and had an 18-month sellout run. He continued to work constantly in the theatre and in 1996 received more plaudits playing the rogue knight Mordred in the musical Camelot at the Covent Garden Festival.

Jason Donovan appears at Symphony Hall on December 12. Tickets cost pounds 24.50 from 0121 780 3333.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 24, 2008
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