Renaissance Living In New Age
Annie Haslam initially refused to be part of the Renaissance reunion because she couldn’t face the personality clashes that had marred her earlier experiences with the band.
But the vocalist cut a new deal with colleague Michael Dunford – and she says the “rebirth” of the four-decades-old band has been very successful.
Haslam tells Montgomery News: “In 2008 Michael approached me with the idea of reforming the band. I said no at first. I didn’t want to get involved with the jealousy issues and the pressures of being in the band again.
“In this version of Renaissance, Michael and I are business partners and we understand each other much better now.
“In the past I was just the singer. This time I’m more involved than I ever was before. The new band is fabulous – they have great personalities and are extremely talented.”
Haslam, who recently admitted she doubted her ability to replace late lyricist Betty Thatcher, says there are other changes that make working in the band easier than it used to be.
“Back in the 70s we often worked with an orchestra,” she explains, “Which was very expensive. Now the two keyboardists, Rave Tesar and Jason Hart, use synthesisers to replicate the orchestra. We have four vocalists so there’s not as much pressure on my shoulders.”
Despite having to cancel the opening shows of their latest tour due to Haslam sustaining a spine injury, the singer is looking forward to continuing work with Renaissance.
She says: “There is a lot of positive energy going on in this band. Everyone works really well together and we’re all involved in the creative process.”
The band’s latest album Grandine il Vento reflects the new spirit within the collective. “The title translates as ‘Hail to the Wind,’” Haslam explains. “It signifies the winds of change in people’s lives. I wouldn’t describe it as a concept album – each song is different, very strong on its own.
“Working on the album was such a fantastic experience. I felt like I was being channeled. The music came through me as if I were painting.”