It happens in the movies but it never happens in real life. Teenage girls simply don’t sing a couple of songs over a tinny karaoke tape, get plucked from the slush pile and signed up by the most successful composer of musicals alive.
Unless you’re Andrea Ross.
The 15-year-old from Boston, Massachusetts, has been signed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and her debut album “Moon River” will be released on March 5th 2007.
The creator of epoch defining musicals like Evita and The Phantom of the Opera certainly knows how to pick great female singers from nowhere but Andrea may eclipse them all. She’s a superb natural actress with a commanding, vivid, stage presence and a pure, powerful soprano voice. When she sings she inhabits the soul of the song, articulating emotions she has no right to understand and throughout it all she smiles.
Andrea jokes that she’s been acting since the moment she was born. Her musical career started playing the glockenspiel in an after school class in Boston but by the age of eight she was in The Sound of Music and talking about getting an agent. She won her first lead role in Tuck Everlasting aged 10 and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. She’s been in Annie, Lizzie Borden, A Little Princess, Fredrika in A Little Night Music (her personal favourite), the drama Ramona Quimby and has played Liesl in The Sound of Music.
The turning point came at 13 when she sent Lloyd Webber two songs she recorded over a bootleg karaoke backing track. His assistant heard the tracks and trapped her boss in a corner until he heard it. The next thing Andrea knew was that she was flying out to LA to audition.
Andrew asked her to sing at his annual Sydmonton Festival that July – where he tries out new work in front of a specially invited audience. Although the concert took place the night after the London bombings Andrea got a standing ovation, only the fifth in the 30 years of the Festival.
Says Lloyd Webber “She’s still only 15 and it is going to be great to see her develop, she has enormous potential to become a very big artist”.
Her debut album “Moon River” was recorded in London and produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber during 2006. It features Eva Cassidy’s “Songbird”, a delightful modern take on “Moon River,” stunning versions of “Popular”, “Heart Like A Wheel” and “The Prayer” as well as some lesser-known gems from the Lloyd Webber catalogue.
Andrea is firmly focused on school and attending college but she knows what she is going to be. “I can’t think of anything else I would do,” she says. “When I sing it takes me somewhere else.”
“Moon River” is released 5th March on UCJ/Really Useful Company, Cat No. 170 116 – 1.
1. Moon River
2. No Matter What
4. White Horses
5. Heart Like a Wheel
6. The Prayer
7. All the Love I Have
8. What the World Needs Now is Love
9. You Raise Me Up
11. Learn to be Lonely
12. Start of Something New
13. Whistle Down the Wind
14. One World
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