Sarah Brightman on Astronaut Dreams: 'It's Perfectly Possible To Sing Up There'


Sarah Brightman

Singer-songwriter is training to go into space while supporting her new album "Dreamchaser."

Sarah Brightman's space travel plans made a not-surprising impact on her latest album, "Dreamchaser."

The British singer -- who released "Dreamchaser" in Japan during January and earlier this month in the rest of the world -- tells Billboard she chose the album's 10 songs to complement the mission to the International Space Station she hopes to embark on in 2015 through the private concern Space Adventures, Ltd. "I've always themed my albums, often by what's going on in my life and what I'm inspired by at that time," she explains. "Because of my interest in space and in the journey I may be taking, I just got inspired to put this album together which is space-themed. I think as human beings, at different times in our lives we look up at the night sky and wonder what's out there, and even more so with the Hubble (space telescope) and everything that is happening at the moment. It helped inspire me to choose various pieces of music I thought were expensive, and some of them had deeper meanings. I just started (recording) and I didn't know where the journey was going to take me, but actually it was very beautiful."

Brightman co-wrote one of the tracks, "B612," while co-producer Sally Herbert contributed the first single, "Angel." Other choices include Elbow's anthemic "One Day LIke This," Sigur Ros' "Glosoli," the "Lento E Largo" section of Henryk Gorecki's Symphony No. 3, Australian singer-songwriter Sia Furler's "Breathe Me," a version of "Ave Marie" and Wings' "Venus and Mars," which closes the album on a deliberately light note.

"I think when I was growing up, all around us in the space area there were some pieces like 'Lost in Space' and the ('Star Trek') Starship Enterprise and that fun, silly side of space," Brightman notes. "With 'Venus and Mars,' it was very light, and it was fun and it was fitting. I felt it would really be the right piece to finish with."

Brightman is still quite serious about heading into space herself, however. She's gone through some physical and psychological training already in Russia and reports that "the journey so far has been absolutely amazing, better than I ever expected I'd do. It's been very inspirational to me as a musician and a creator, and... just knowing you're a very healthy person at the end of the day is nice." Brightman says she has another six months of rigorous training ahead and cautions that "anything can happen between now and then," but she's allowing herself to think about projects she might do while in orbit.

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"People who go up, especially in the private sector, all do something they're good at or interested in," Brightman says. "Obviously I'm a singer. I've asked astronauts, and they've said it's perfectly possible to sing up there. Everyone's got wonderful ideas about what I could do, but that's something you have to look into very carefully. So I'm not saying much until I know more."

Before that, however, Brightman has another journey planned -- touring to support "Dreamchaser." She kicks off June 13 in Taiwan, hitting China and Japan before starting a North American run on Sept. 13 in Hamilton, Ontario, wrapping up Nov. 2 in Anaheim, Calif. "What I want with this concert tour is to make (the shows) as beautiful and effective as possible with the feelings, in the visual sense, behind me," Brightman says. "I'm using just a huge, round screen that almost looks like... a satellite behind me. We're going to play amazing footage while I sing, so it's going to be very simple but very moving, I think, and really be a very natural progression from hearing the songs on the album."