Best is yet to come

Take That plans to put out a new al­bum this year.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SHOWBIZ - By AN­JALI RAGU­RA­MAN

DE­SPITE al­most 25 years in the in­dus­try and a plethora of hit songs, Bri­tish band Take That feel that it has yet to put out its best ma­te­rial.

“W e don’t feel we’ve done our best stuff - the best stuff ’ s to come still. W e’re am­bi­tious in that way still. W e’re al­ways try­ing to push our bound­aries mu­si­cally,” front­man Gray Bar­low said in an in­ter­view in Sin­ga­pore re­cently.

Com­ing from a group with 56 in­ter­na­tional N o. 1 sin­gles – in­clud­ing Back For Good, Pray and Pa­tience – and seven stu­dio al­bums, it is a glimpse into the minds of one of Bri­tain’s most suc­cess­ful pop ex­ports.

The three- mem­ber group – com­pris­ing Bar­low, 45; M ark Owen, 44; and Howard Don­ald, 47 – were in Sin­ga­pore to play a one- off con­cert in con­junc­tion with the HSBC W omen’s Cham­pi­ons golf tour­na­ment at the Sen­tosa Golf Club.

Bar­low re­veals that they are writ­ing their new al­bum at the mo­ment and, straight af­ter their one- off con­certs in Bangkok, where they played on M arch 3, and Sin­ga­pore, they are head­ing home to Bri­tain.

“W e’re gonna get stuck in over the next few months and get it fin­ished,” he says, adding that it will be out “later this year”.

The now “man band”, which kicked off their ca­reer as a five­piece boy­band with their first al­bum Take That & Party in 1992, plan to cel­e­brate their 25- year ca­reer next year.

Bar­low also re­veals plans for a box set of their great­est hits and a pos­si­ble Great­est Hits Tour the year af­ter.

The band broke up in 1996, just months af­ter their 1995 show at the In­door Sta­dium in Sin­ga­pore.

The band re­formed with four mem­bers af­ter a 10- year hia­tus with­out for­mer mem­ber Rob­bie W il­liams in 2006.

W il­liams came back in 2011 for a short­lived stint and, in 2014, both W il­liams and Ja­son Or­ange left, leav­ing the band in its cur­rent three- man for­ma­tion.

But the re­main­ing mem­bers are not rul­ing out a re­union. Owen is ten­ta­tive, say­ing: “The con­ver­sa­tion is open, we’ll see how ev­ery­body feels about this this time next year”, adding as a joke that “one day it’s yes, an­other day it’s no”.

Bar­low, on the other hand, does not seem to mind what­ever per­mu­ta­tion the band are in, terming it the “mod­ern Take That”.

He says: “It feels like an­other chap­ter for Take That be­ing a three. There was a chap­ter when it was five, an­other chap­ter when it was four. I think it’s al­ways go­ing to change and that will keep it in­ter­est­ing.”

Of the three, Bar­low’s solo ca­reer has seen the most suc­cess since the band re­formed.

From writ­ing songs for singer El­ton John, such as the 2014 duet Face To Face, to co- or­gan­is­ing Queen El­iz­a­beth’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee party with the BBC in 2012 and be­ing a judge on tal­ent show The X Fac­tor for three years, his in­ter­ests have been var­ied, if not mu­si­cal.

W hen asked to con­firm if ru­mours are true that he is start­ing a tal­ent show to ri­val Si­mon Cow­ell’s X Fac­tor, Bar­low was firm with a “no com­ment”.

But whether he is ven­tur­ing back into re­al­ity tele­vi­sion, it seems like Take That will al­ways be his first love.

The group’s de facto front­man and prin­ci­pal song­writer says: “I write for lots of dif­fer­ent things, but writ­ing for Take That is al­ways the most ex­cit­ing, es­pe­cially to be find­ing a di­rec­tion.

“The best bit is know­ing our amaz­ing au­di­ence, who is al­ways there for us, is ea­gerly wait­ing for it. It’s lovely to know peo­ple are an­tic­i­pat­ing your mu­sic.” – The Straits Times, Sin­ga­pore/ Asia N ews N et­work

Take That now com­prises three mem­bers – ( from left) Owen, 44; Bar­low, 45 and Don­ald, 47.

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