Tuesday, March 4, 2008

James LaBrie

@ Wikipedia
Kevin James LaBrie (born May 5, 1963) is a Canadian vocalist who is best known for being the lead singer in progressive metal band Dream Theater.

Kevin LaBrie was born in Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada and started singing and playing drums at age 5. By his mid-teens, he was a member of several bands as a singer and/or drummer, and in 1981, at age 18, he moved to Toronto to further his musical pursuits. He currently resides in Midland, Ontario, with his wife Karen, daughter Chloe, and son Chance.

After stints with various bands, he became the vocalist for glam metal band Winter Rose, who released a self-titled album in 1987.

In 1991 he learned that an American progressive metal band called Dream Theater was in the market for a singer, so he sent down a tape and was quickly flown to New York for a full audition. The trial went well, and he was chosen ahead of 200 other hopefuls to fill the full-time vocalist position in that band.

Having two Johns (Myung and Petrucci) in the band already, and with another Kevin in the band, LaBrie dropped his first name and adopted his current stage name of James LaBrie.

In 1993, he was the first choice consideration to replace departed Iron Maiden vocalist, Bruce Dickinson, as well as a consideration to replace Rob Halford in Judas Priest. (Dream Theater went on to record Deep Purple's "Perfect Strangers" at the BBC radio studios with Bruce Dickinson, as well as perform an Iron Maiden medley live with Dickinson in Los Angeles.) LaBrie has since had a significant impact on the vocal melodies on each Dream Theater album, but continues to have little input into the musical side of Dream Theater. To date he has written lyrics for at least one song on each album (excluding Images and Words) Dream Theater has released with him in the band.

On December 29, 1994, while vacationing in Cuba, LaBrie suffered a severe case of food poisoning and while vomiting, ruptured his vocal cords. He saw three throat specialists who all said there was nothing they could do for him and the only thing he could do was rest his voice as much as possible. However, on January 12, 1995, and against doctor's orders, he was on the "Awake" tour in Japan with his voice far from normal. James has said he didn't feel vocally "normal" until at least 1997.

His musical inspiration comes from many different genres, including such artists as Metallica, Ludwig van Beethoven, Nat King Cole [2], Queen and Sting, whose inspiration, according to LaBrie, is shown on the Dream Theater's album, Octavarium.

Throughout his career with Dream Theater, he has lent his voice to many other artists' records as well as tribute albums to some influential artists. He has appeared on many Trent Gardner releases (including Leonardo: The Absolute Man and Explorer's Club), as well as appearing on albums by such artists as Ayreon (The Human Equation, released 2004), Shadow Gallery, Tim Donohue and Frameshift.

With Matt Guillory and Mike Mangini, LaBrie has released three solo albums under various names (Mullmuzzler, James LaBrie's Mullmuzzler, and simply James LaBrie). His latest, Elements of Persuasion, was released in March, 2005. A fourth solo album is widely rumored to be in the works.

Since 2004, LaBrie has been working with the True Symphonic Rockestra project, along with Thomas Dewald, Vladimir Grishko, Dirk Ulrich, Christopher Jesidero, Sandro Martinez, Paul Mayland, Marvin Philippi, and Igor Marin. Their 2006 album, TSR, has been finished since early July, with Brainworx and Marinsound working on a release.

LaBrie is also a featured vocalist on Henning Pauly's "Babysteps" project released in 2006, LaBrie plays the role of the arrogant doctor.

James has said in many older interviews that he is Christian, and actively practices the religion. However, more recent interviews, along with some of his lyrics (including "Undecided" on Elements of Persuasion) imply a more spiritual and deist perspective, separate from any form of organized religion.

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@ James LaBrie
Kevin James Labrie was born on May 5, 1963 in Penetanguishene, a town in Ontario, Canada. James' parents say that when he was three years old, he would walk around the house singing whatever songs were on the radio. Although he didn't get the words right, he could sing the melodies. Inspired by his father, James started singing and playing drums at age 5: "My parents say I was tapping on everything so if they didn't get me a drum set, I'd ruin the house!" When he was six years old, he was very intent on replicating different vocal styles and techniques. It was obvious that his voice was very mature for a six year old. When James was in elementary school, his teacher put him in singing class to further his training. Meanwhile, his father, uncle, and brothers were in a barber shop quartet, which James was made a part of.

Yet James' real love was rock music which he pursued by his early teens. By fourteen, James was singing and playing drums in several bands. However, James knew that drums were secondary to his true passion, singing. At eighteen, James moved to Toronto, Canada.

At age 21, he began vocal training with the renowned vocal coach Rosemary Patricia Burns. After working with several Canadian bands, James became the vocalist for Winter Rose, which almost signed with Atlantic Records. Then Pierre Paradis, who managed the band Voi Vod, approached James regarding a solo project with Aquarius Records. He also told James about a New York based band called Dream Theater who were looking for a vocalist. The rest, as they say, is history.

James' musical tastes are quite varied as he names Metallica, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Journey and Judas Priest as well as classical composers Mozart, Vivaldi and Beethoven as favorites. Influential vocalists include Steve Perry (formerly of Journey), Freddie Mercury, Sting, Paul Rodgers and Nat King Cole. James continues to practice with Ms. Burns and encourages other vocalists to pursue formal training.

Throughout his musical career, James has become one of the most well-respected and admired vocalists in progressive rock. As the voice of Dream Theater and guest performer on numerous side projects, James has helped to define the sound of progressive music for the next millenium. His incredible range and distinctive, intense vocal performances have earned him accolades from fans and critics alike.

In addition to Dream Theater's numerous studio and live releases (Images & Words, Live at the Marquee, Awake, A Change of Seasons, Falling Into Infinity, Once in a LIVEtime, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory, Live Scenes From New York, Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence, Train of Thought, Live At Budokan, and Octavarium), James has also appeared on releases by Fates Warning and Shadow Gallery, Trent Gardner's Explorer's Club and Leonardo the Absolute Man, the first Frameshift album (Unweaving the Rainbow), Ayreon's The Human Equation, as well as tribute albums to Rush, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and Queen. In 1999, James completed and released the first MullMuzzler cd, Keep it to Yourself to much critical acclaim. The followup, James LaBrie's MullMuzzler 2, was released on September 11th, 2001. In 2005, James dropped the MullMuzzler moniker and released Elements of Persuasion, the third and arguably greatest of his solo efforts. A fourth solo album is already in the works so stay tuned.

When not on the road, James enjoys camping, downhill skiing and reading. His favorite authors include Anne Rice, Dee Brown, Robert Utley and Forest Carter. James currently lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife Karen, daughter Chloe, and son Chance Abraham.

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Studio report - The Human Equation

Dream Theater frontman James LaBrie had told reporters and fans that he really wanted to work with Arjen one day. In November that day had finally come as James flew over from Toronto to enter the Electric Castle and record his vocals. Read the report and check out the pictures (click to enlarge)!

- What made you choose James LaBrie for this Ayreon project?

Arjen: When I first heard Dream Theater I especially liked - besides the excellent instrumentalists of course- the soft and emotional side of James' warm voice. When I bought 'Scenes' and I listened to it, I was convinced. I just had to have that voice on Ayreon, he would fit in very well with my music.

- How did you get in touch with James?

Arjen: My good friend (just in case he reads this ;-) Gary 'Shadow Gallery' Wehrkamp played my album 'Into The Electric Castle' to James, and James absolutely loved it. Gary told me about this, and obviously I sent James an email straight away asking him if he would be interested to guest on one of my projects one day. He immediately answered me and wrote me that he really likes my music and that he would love to be a part of it. He told me he would sing as much as I wanted him to. That was some years ago. I was waiting for the right project to come along for him, and this is it. He plays the main character on the album.

- Describe the recording session in three words.

Arjen: Professional, emotional, well-prepared.

- How would you describe James' voice?

Arjen: Personally I love his warm, emotional and full voice, but I also had him do some really impressive high screams!

- What was the most memorable moment?

Arjen: When James went jogging for 20 minutes before the first session, and he hadn't returned an hour later! He got lost (in the dark) and I had to search for him in my car. He was freezing and just wearing a t-shirt! Luckily he could laugh about the whole thing.

- What was something you absolutely didn't expect?

Arjen: That he would come so well-prepared. He knew the story and the character he had to portray even better than I did! And the amount of emotion he put into his performance, I can easily see why he sells millions of albums.

- What was something James did not expect?

Arjen: I think he came here with pretty high expectations, because he speaks so highly about me to people I know and to the press. I just hope I lived up to his expectations.

- James has the unique ability to...

Arjen: ...become the character he's portraying.

- Describe the endresult of the session.

Arjen: Hey, I've got the voice of Dream Theater on my album!

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James LaBrie - Drained Solo @ Youtube

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