FEBRUARY FAVOURITE: Sierra Boggess ‘Awakening’

A Broadway star transforms a skeptic teenager into an inspired believer
Earlier this month, one fine Sunday morning at 7am, I dragged myself from my warm bed with the intentions of studying for an English exam that was just over 72 hours away and to complete a Geography study that was just a little overdue. My chosen soundtrack to the morning’s activities was Sierra Boggess’ 2013 album ‘Awakening’ – an official, live recording of her cabaret at 54 Below, New York that consisted of the complete set list and the dialogue between songs. Having listened to the albums of Sutton Foster, Aaron Tveit and Laura Osnes, I was familiar with this album format of songs and relevant chit-chat time fillers that were relatively interesting on the first listen but were a nuisance afterwards – particularly if they turned up in a full music shuffle. In my bleary eyed, morning state I somewhat reluctantly pressed play. Thanks to the power of Twitter, I was fully aware of Sierra Boggess’ “inspired by nature” approach to life and, knowing fully well that I was far from the type of person to be heavily inspired by anyone or anything, I braced myself for 72 minutes of stressed out studying and a crash course in the hippy culture.
Instead, I was greeted by familiar, beautiful vocals and an infectiously excited Boggess. Her entire being seemed to seep through my earphones and take form in my darkened room. With a set list containing several songs I knew well and a handful of ones I was unfamiliar with, it was a delight to bring in a new week by listening to the stunning sounds of Sierra Boggess.
Boggess energetically explained to her audience after her opening number (a charming rendition of I Have Confidence from The Sound of Music) that she hoped to touch on the various inspirations throughout her life. These ranged from a book (appropriately called ‘Inspiration’), her family members, nature and the one and only Barbra Streisand. Between songs Boggess discussed these inspirations with such enthusiasm that I simply couldn’t resist smiling to myself. Her stories were woven between a selection of songs that helped to bring her anecdotes to life, each song beautifully complimenting her vocal range. The result was a heart-warming album of attractive melodies and charming tales of Boggess’ life. For the first time, I thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue section of an album and as the minutes ticked by, I even found myself beginning to feel inspired by Boggess herself. Her energetic, enthusiastic, carefree and happy outlook in life is enviable and by the time Boggess had sung her final note, I found myself wishing I could have a similar way of life. Will I be dashing to the River Clyde for inspiration? Perhaps not, but this album has inspired me to have a more appreciative view of life and has encouraged me to admire the success of Sierra Boggess’ career and her finely tuned vocal chords.

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