Catherine Porter’s diverse career has included leading roles on West End, Broadway & worldwide theatre stages with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Crawford, John Barrowman, Michael Ball, Hugh Jackman & more, to recording with rock legends Queen & Brian May.
New York born singer / songwriter Catherine Porter’s career really took off when she landed a role singing opposite Michael Crawford in ‘The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber’ which toured the US, Japan, Australia & the UK. During performances in London, a chance meeting led to an invitation from Queen guitarist & singer / songwriter Brian May to sing backing vocals on his ‘Back to the Light’ tour, which played to sold out audiences throughout the world, including a stadium tour of America with Guns N’ Roses:
“It was a whirlwind year. One minute, I was dressed in a gown singing ‘All I Ask Of You’ from Phantom Of The Opera with Michael & the next I was in leather jeans, singing ‘We Will Rock You’ to thousands of screaming fans. It was unbelievable!”
The fact that she could ride such a diverse wave is a true testament to Catherine’s talent. A lead role in ‘Sunset Boulevard’ came next, first in London’s West End & then in Australia, followed by a return to London for lead roles in successful West End musicals such as ‘Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens’, ‘Only The Lonely’ & ‘Tonight’s the Night’.
When Brian May went back into the studio with the surviving members of Queen to finish the ‘Made In Heaven’ album. Catherine was thrilled to be asked to sing on the poignant ‘Let Me Live’, a very special Queen song as it featured a rare sharing of lead vocals between Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor & Brian May. Catherine’s association with Queen continued with drummer Roger Taylor’s album, ‘Happiness?’ & Brian’s last solo album ‘Another World’.
Catherine has worked with many artists including Edwin Starr, Chaka Khan, Paul Rogers, Kiki Dee & more. When comedian Rich Hall dons the persona of his comic creation Otis Lee Crenshaw, Catherine is a vital member of his band The Black Liars. She has performed numerous concerts & sessions & became one of the key jingle voices for BBC Radio 2, all while honing her songwriting skills for her debut album ‘Something Good’, released on Jive Records in the UK.
The title song was also featured in the movie ‘Undertaking Betty’ starring Brenda Blethyn, Alfred Molina & Christopher Walken, while a second track from the album was selected for Song For Europe & saw Catherine perform ‘Crazy’ as a finalist on UK national TV.
In 2004, Catherine married Broadway sound designer John Shivers & returned to New York. She gave birth to Ruby Oliver Shivers in 2005. Ruby is Catherine’s inspiration for ‘Gems For Ruby’, her beautiful new album of songs from the late 60’s to 80’s that she wanted to share with her daughter who turned three during the making of the album. It was also important for Catherine that Ruby knew her mother’s favourite songs in the same lush, delicate & exquisite style that her own parents had turned her onto when she was Ruby’s age:
“We didn’t want people to think we were making fun of these brilliant songs, which sometimes can happen when you change the original tempo. Most songs have a natural pace that is part of what made them great songs, so it was great to discover the ones that not only worked, but made us look at the song in a whole new way, discover a new intention without destroying the old one.”
The result is a stylish, classy and chilled out album for every age to enjoy. Songs like Tears For Fears ‘Everybody Wants To Rule the World’, The Isley Brother’s ‘Harvest For The World’ & The Beach Boys classic ‘God Only Knows’ have more poignancy with this approach.
“It was important for me to treat these songs with a flavour that I grew up hearing. The lush & beautiful arrangements for singers like Peggy Lee, Julie London & Doris Day were what was playing in the house when I was Ruby’s age. I wanted her to know my favourite songs, but in that same lush style that my parents turned me onto. It was quite a task!”
The album’s first single will be Catherine’s stunning version of ‘Somebody To Love’ & features the legendary guitar mastery of Queen’s Brian May:
“I had worked with Brian May as a backing vocalist on his ‘Back to the Light’ tour & we had remained friends ever since. He’s a true gentleman, a gentle soul as well as somebody who cares not only about music, but about the greater good. He’s an advocate for many causes. I’m just glad he had time for mine!”
Catherine is looking forward to returning to the UK in March 2009 to share her gems… & Ruby’s!
'Somebody To Love' (featuring Brian May) - download single released 30 March 2009 on Swing Café SWING006. Available from iTunes and all download sites. RRP
'Gems For Ruby' - CD album and download released 30 March 2009 on Swing Café SWING005. Available from Amazon, HMV, Play.com, iTunes, etc.
Catherine will be performing at Ronnie Scott’s Club on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th March with the Ronnie Scott’s All Stars (MD James Pearson), supporting Real and Robin Jones & King Salsa. Please see CONCERTS for full details.