In 2012, British saxophonist, Ed Barker, performed a sax solo for one of the world’s most iconic pop musicians of our time: George Michael. Ed performed the sax solo on George Michael’s hit single, Cowboys And Angels to tens of thousands of fans around the UK as George introduced Ed personally to the crowd each night. It was this sax solo that put Ed on the map.
At the same time as touring as George Michael’s sax soloist, Ed was making frequent visits to the British Parliament, sitting in an office directly beneath Big Ben, writing speeches for senior British politicians!
Ed has always said that songwriting and speechwriting are similar skills:
For me, whether you’re using words or notes, it is all still just a form of communication and the most successful speeches or songs are those which inspire an audience emotionally.
So after the tour with George Michael, Ed decided to put this to test as he put together his debut solo album, Simple Truth (January 2014) with some unexpected results…
Within a couple of months of the album’s release, one of the songs charted – not in the more niche US jazz charts but in the US pop charts.
When You Smile (which features BBC Strictly Come Dancing singer, Lance Ellington) was played almost 23,000 times on radio stations around the USA (including Billboard Stations) and it soon hit #1 on the US Independent Mainstream Network, as well as #1 on the Indie Adult Contemporary Chart, #3 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) Main Chart and #17 on the US Top 40 Main Chart.