Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

The future voice of American theater?

by David Boyle

When I first saw Ramin Karimloo sing, via on-demand TV, in the 25th anniversary performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, at Royal Albert Hall—he had been selected personally by Mr. Webber to perform alongside the fabulous Sierra Boggess—I was immediately awed by his range, power, style, and stage presence. His destiny–to become a theater standout—had already been attained—yet he’s only in his thirties. Impressive progress, and no mystery. I’ve heard over the years various renditions of the popular songs from both Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables, (characters Ramin has been lauded for bringing to life), performed by other eminent Broadway powerhouses, all of whom have brought to the characters their own degree of uniqueness and pizzazz. Karimloo’s sublime portrayals have become, to my mind, not only masterful but prodigious. Granted, those songs are somewhat schmaltzy. Ramin, however, brings something singularly incomparable to them. Fortunately for me, my ears have always been keenly selective, and I’m thankful, as I admire musicians—and creative people—of all disciplines.

Ramin, also a film actor, has had starring roles in independent short films. He is indeed exceptional, an artist who has successfully diversified his craft. Early in his career he fronted rock bands (I’d be delighted to hear samples of those projects.), performed on cruises, and eventually found himself flourishing within the challenging realms of the theater. He has been given prestigious awards of various sorts, including the Theatregoers’ Choice Award and the Award; he has been nominated for a Tony Award, the Laurence Olivier Award, and others. Awards notwithstanding, Karimloo seems focused and determined to explore his own individualized path in the performing arts—an admirable journey.

His 2012 release, Ramin (Sony Music)—featuring “Til I Hear You Sing” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies as well as the hit single “Coming Home”—comprises songs distilled from his long list of influences, yet, to the discriminating ear, each selection retains a distinction all its own. The tracks, delving into everyday themes such as love, commitment, and passion, sound compellingly fresh; his voice, as always, magnetic, in complete control. The density of his upper register in particular intrigues me. Some male singers tend to sound “feminine” when reaching high notes or sustaining notes in the upper ranges. Ramin’s delivery avoids this peculiarity. I always perceive that deep, thick timbre he’s revered for, the sound that makes the back of your head tingle, your heart flutter, your emotions percolate to a rolling boil. The same level of distinctiveness, for example, can be discerned in the voice of theater veteran Lea Salonga, whose stylistic vocalizations and enunciations as both Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables, incorporating deeper tones and textures in crowd favorites “On My Own” and “I Dreamed a Dream,” have won my heart, my ear, my long-lasting esteem. Salonga and Karimloo are superlative.

So I can with immense pleasure and enthusiasm suggest that you discover for yourself this rising talent Ramin Karimloo, whose uncannily layered voice is going to enrapture audiences for a long, long time to come. As one of Mr. Karimloo’s innumerable listeners, all I can say is thank you for the music.

A versatile writer, David Boyle has written and published two short story collections. Five of his stories have been adapted to film. His second book, Abandoned in the Dark, has been made into a full-length anthology film of the same name. Though he earned his readership by creating intense real-life dark fiction, Boyle has garnered a reputation for composing literary stories, essays, articles, aphorisms, reviews, interviews, analyses, a good number of which have appeared in magazines. Visit David at is an independently published music fanzine covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage music, focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State area. For the past 25 years, the Jersey Beat music fanzine has been the authority on the latest upcoming bands and a resource for all those interested in rock and roll.

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