To go one's own way

To go one's own way


After a long career with all its ups and downs the period following the Comeback-Show in 2004 became remarkably successful for Chris Norman. His albums got into the charts again and obtained unusually positive reviews,  he did plenty of TV-Shows and life gigs with his respected and highly professional band.

Just at this point of his career Chris decided to make a turning point, dissolve the band and find new ways. Confusing the fans who wanted to stick to the known. His first DVD published nearly one year ago now seems to be both a documentary and the ending of a whole era.

What Chris did then was – if you look at it soberly – changing the line-up from an 8-piece-band to just 6 musicians, who could do it all. He organized auditions with nearly 70 musicians to pick out the best of them, with the goal to create a different sound and find a new approach to his music. Now a main focus seems to be on the vocals since there are 5 singers, what might be a further step on his way to more and more create an own unmistakable style.

Venturesome and daring enough Chris started a big tour just after few weeks of rehearsals. He confronted his new musicians with a demanding and unusual long program, accepting the fact that each of them still has to find his own way of interpreting Chris' music.

The new setlist followed the usual scheme of mixing Smokie songs with old and just published solo material.  After little changes during the tour it became a well-balanced mixture completed with newly chosen “influence songs”.

Whereas last years' gigs always seemed to be “full speed” Rock'n'Roll shows, this year Chris changed the mood a bit playing more ballads. Unusually often he talked to the audience between the songs, told the history especially of his new songs, as if he wanted to be understood. In a way this reduced the show's tempo, which might have been intended. Emphatically he tried to make the audience listen to him. Sometimes – depending on the location – not an easy task. Anyway the tour at the end became a full success.

Suitable to the wish to strike out in a new direction, Chris produced the new album on his own. During several interviews he took the chance to explain the process. A bit astonished himself, since at first it was not intended to do it like this, but with obvious proud. Once even giving a hint that the song “Find my way” somehow contains an autobiographical touch, since the lyrics are abstract enough to describe how he feels about his career. The result was nevertheless again the tribute paid by several reviewers and a chart-entry.

Two days after having finished the tour – which included about 25 gigs, several interviews, TV-shows and “unplugged” events – Chris Norman once more appeared on German television. There he radiated the calm of a musician who already long ago has achieved it all and feels no need to prove anything to anyone.

Being asked where his way now is going to lead him, he just answered he doesn't know himself. Somehow an enviable personality who has the freedom, the energy and the ability to go his own ways.

“It's one of those things I never know. […] It's always nice to find out which way it goes. It goes up, it goes down. I've had both and I always hope it goes up, but sometimes it's a bit bumpy on the way“. (rbb, Feb. 27th  2006)


 © Annie (Germany), 15.03.2006