How It All Started
In early 2013, Ed and Lance were busy doing their own thing. Ed was playing sax for pop legend, George Michael and Lance was singing live to millions every Saturday night on BBC Strictly Come Dancing. They didn’t meet until later that year in a recording studio on what turned out to be a very special project…
Ed was also, at the time, popping in and out of the Palace of Westminster, sitting in an office directly beneath Big Ben, writing speeches for senior British politicians. But he had decided he wanted to write a few songs rather than speeches this year in order to record his first ever album as a saxophone artist:
“I’d written this one tune and however I played it on the sax, it just felt like it was missing something. I realised I needed some lyrics and an amazing singer…”
Ed worked with his long-standing friend and mentor, Richard Niles, on the lyrics and he decided to approach Lance about singing the song in the Summer of 2013.
“I heard Lance’s voice, saw him sing on the Strictly and knew that he was the guy this song needed!”
When Lance heard the track for the first time, he was really excited:
“The song had this groove, a really refreshing sound and Ed and his band were a killer bunch of musicians. I knew I had to be involved in the song!”
So the song, When You Smile, was born. Ed launched his album, Simple Truth, in 2014 and before he and Lance had had a chance to go back to their day jobs, the song charted in the US – not in the more niche US jazz charts but in the US pop charts.
When You Smile was played almost 23,000 times on radio stations around the USA (including Billboard Stations) and it soon hit #1 on the US Independent Mainstream Network, as well as #1 on the Indie Adult Contemporary Chart, #3 on the Adult Contemporary (AC) Main Chart and #17 on the US Top 40 Main Chart.
So a beautiful friendship was born: next came Ed’s Christmas album, Are You Listenin’?, released at the end of 2016, on which Lance sand the classic, O Come All Ye Faithful. And it was backstage during one of their Christmas shows that the idea for Lance Ellington Sings Broadway was developed.