When theatres went dark a year ago, London resident Australian actor John Ellis (also known as JP Ellis) channeled his lockdown energy into creating his album KOPFKINO, Much to his surprise, it went to the top of the classical music charts, from the UK to Australia. He is keen to share his positive story from a dark year.
Last Spring, when theatres around the world first went into lockdown, John was living in Athens, Greece, where he was playing Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera, having previously performed in the West End production. Following the Greek government’s swift response to Covid-19, this was one of the first shows in the world to shut down. Due to the sudden closure and the loss of their jobs, the whole company had no option but to return home. John was not sure whether to fly home to London or to make sure his family were okay in Australia, so he didn’t give up his Greek apartment straight away. During the next few upsetting and uncertain days, and following a chance meeting with one of the show’s talented Greek musicians (also made redundant the day before), John decided to take a leap of faith. He called a few of the show’s musicians and asked if he could employ them to make an album. They rushed into the recording studio just before complete lockdown began. At that stage, only five people could be in a space at the same time. Having previously been in a work bubble, it was accepted that they could record whilst adhering to strict social distancing rules.
As a performer, John has performed pop-rock and opera alongside classic musical theatre but it is his love of the counter tenor sound which enthralls him the most. KOPFKINO features music by Ludovico Einaudi, Josh Groban, Ólafur Arnalds, Jónsi, Loreen, The Cinematic Orchestra, Greta Svabo Bech, Arnór Dan and Antonín Dvořák. It covers many musical genres including Neoclassical, Electro House, Pop-Opera and Scandi-Nordic Noir but is also inspired by the likes of Cirque du Soleil and Eurovision.
When it came to deciding upon an album title, John’s husband unwittingly provided inspiration. During lockdown, John’s mind had been racing, in a dream state and with a film-like realness to his thoughts. He had experienced this feeling from early childhood, but had noticed over lockdown that these thoughts and fears were evolving and becoming more intense. John explained this to his German husband who said, “Oh you had ‘KOPFKINO’” – meaning ‘head cinema’.
Following the release of KOPFKINO, John has continued to work on further music recording collaborations, with 10 exciting tracks currently being mixed and mastered in Vienna and from his home studio in London. This includes two dance remixes for the summer, two new works which he has written and many more surprises set for the summer and into the rest of the year. John is also delighted to be embarking on a new exciting musical theatre role starting in June 2021 with an international hit musical, to be announced shortly. To find out more visit: http://www.john-ellis.com.
KOPFKINO was recorded, mixed & edited during lockdown in Athens, London and LA, and executive produced by Lee Lessack at LML Music (http://www.lmlmusic.com/album/kopfkino/). The featured musicians are Nadia Boule, Giannis Zaragalis, Aulon Bino, Lydia Panagiotarea, Pericles Timplalexis and Joe Davison.
KOPFKINO is available now via digital release and CD, and on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. Visit: https://linktr.ee/J.P.ELLIS.
John Ellis has lived and worked in the USA, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Melbourne, Germany, Switzerland and London, where he has been based for the past 17 years. In addition to his theatre work, John has been lucky to work for Crystal, Cunard and P&O as part of their World Cruises. He also has produced many shows, concerts and charity events, most notably, Andrew Lippa Live in London, Jeff Blumenkrantz Songbook in London, Georgia Stitt & Friends in London and Songs For a New World in Australia.