His new album has topped the charts in Australia and Europe and since his stint on Australia's Got Talent, Greg Gould has cemented his place within the Australian music scene, producing unique and thoughtful projects that have been at the forefront of LGBT equality, bullying and other issues that we deal with every day, his sultry vocals and kick-ass production has allowed a lot of other LGBT artists locally make the record labels wake up and pay attention to the massive talent base we have in our community for music and entertainment.
1998 is a 17 track behemoth that is all duets. He has collaborated with some of Australia's finest singers and identities and has delivered a unique and compelling album that is timeless, whilst delivering classic 'retro' (ARGH - how can they be retro lol) tracks to a totally new generation whilst still paying homage to the originals.
It is a well thought out project and one that tugs at the heartstrings. Its power to envoke memories whilst delivering a new take with a fresh vibe is just genius. Rob caught up with Greg during the COVID-19 lockdown to work on this feature, so we could showcase to you, the listener, what went into the production of the album, and the personal relationships that made this such an amazing hit - track by track.
Sit back, relax, grab and Stoli Ruski or a Bacardi Breezer and enjoy 1998 - a track by track with Greg Gould.
TRACK ONE - LOVE LIKE THIS
Duet with Inaya Day (Originally by Faith Evans)
This one is an extra special story...
I have always been a huge fan of Inaya, i have fond memories of dancing to her hit with Mr Timothy at my very first Mardi Gras. We already had followed each other on Instagram and had chatted a handful of times prior to me reaching out to her with the idea to collaborate on my new 90s duets album. I pitched the classic Faith Evans song ‘Love Like This’. She said “Oh I see someone has done their research” turns out Inaya’s beautiful late brother Schon Crawford had co-written the song with Faith! What are the odds!! It was really beautiful to be able to dedicate the song to her brother and honour the song in such a beautiful way. In terms of arrangement Michael Tan, the album's producer, and I came up with that funky bass line first, and the rest kind of wrote itself. The original hook is pretty recognisable and as with the rest of this album we wanted to make the versions unique and different and its probably my favourite arrangement on the album. Most people that only really know the track from the hook and the chorus don’t recognise it till it comes in with the chorus which is so cool. I also really love the A Capella intro and outro it's the perfect way to begin the album.
TRACK TWO - MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE
Duet with Prinnie Stevens & Komiti Levai (Originally by Whitney Houston)
I have always loved this song and WHITNEY is my music GOD. This really is a heartfelt tribute to a voice and an artist that really means a lot to me and to have Prinnie on there with me who starred in The Bodyguard here in Australia just made it that much more special. Prinnie is such a soulful heartfelt vocalist and a dear friend. We had done several corporate gigs together in the past meeting at a Carol's back in 2014 and have been mates ever since. It was so special to have her come in the studio with her newborn bubba and daughter and it just had an energy to it of love which is what this song is all about. Having Komiti join us was a blessing and the icing on the cake we needed to complete this track and I love the gospel arrangement and the harmonies. It’s a standout and I’m really proud of it.
TRACK THREE - CRUSH
Duet with Zoe Badwi (Originally by Jennifer Paige)
Crush was the first song I ever demoed for the album and most of my original demo vocal is what you hear on the track. It was a 6 min version when we first demoed it and it wasn’t till adding Zoes gorgeous vocals that it made it clear how the song should be structured. I love Zoe, she’s one of my favourite performers to watch LIVE. I met her a handful of times and we were friends on Facebook but didn’t really know each other. She was such a pleasure to get to know and work with - very collaborative and just a total joy of a human being. The track turned out great - the intro reminded me of the piano into on Brian McKnight’s ‘Back At One’ and it's really gospel soulful version. Both Zoe and I did the BVs so there are hundreds of little Zoe and Greg vocal stacks there haha. Again, super proud of it and its been really well received.
TRACK FOUR - THE BOY IS MINE
Duet with Peyton (Originally by Brandy & Monica)
The obvious first single for me once completed. It’s probably the most commercial ballad on the album and I just love how gorgeous the piano and the arrangement and the vocals are. Peyton and I met in 2017 when we performed Freedom at the Mardi Gras Party at the RHI for the George Michael Tribute. I loved his voice and working with him and we have built such a gorgeous friendship. The music video is what really took this song to another level, flipping the narrative on its head from two women fighting over a man to a mother sending a message to bully’s to say you can't have him, you can't hurt him. It’s stunning and my favourite video I’ve done to date and to have gorgeous Lynne McGranger in the video is something I will pinch myself about for years to come. Peyton is a real storyteller with his stunning voice and I look forward to making more music with him int he future. The boy is mine, the boy is yours, this boy could be any of us...
TRACK FIVE - HOW DO I LIVE
Duet with Melanie Lewin (Originally by LeAnne Rimes)
This one probably means the most to me...
Given that Melanie and have been best friends for a long time, this track celebrates more than music - but a 20-year friendship, we have been singing together that long - and I think that really shows in the track. We have both loved this song growing up and it was Mel’s parent's favourite song she used to sing so along with being a well-loved hit from the 90’s it carries a lot of memories and nostalgia for both of us, me and my mum used to sing this together on the way to her dropping me to school. I really couldn’t live without my gorgeous friendship with Mel - she’s been my absolute rock through the tough times and we have been each other’s funny bone - we always laugh so much when we are together and we just really love singing together. It’s an honest arrangement stripped right back and because Mel and I know each other’s voice so well the blend and the vocal journeys are so together. It’s actually to date the highest streamed song on the album and I’m not surprised. It’s really special to both of us and I hope it can be just as special to those people who listen to it.
TRACK SIX - UNINVITED
Duet with Damien Leith (Originally by Alanis Morrisette)
Damien is such a gorgeous vocalist - his falsetto is stunning and its well showcased in our special version of this epic song from the City of Angels soundtrack. We met when I supported him on one of his tours and he is such a lovely guy and a real talent! This was a hard one to get right (and I believe we did) it was Damien's idea to do the octave when we sang together which made it feel more current and I added the harmonies to make it different from the other acoustic versions out there. Doing my entire verse A Capella was something that came to me when I stepped into the booth, I told my producer to just give me a crack without piano til the second verse where Damien comes in. I wanted it to be honest and for the melody of the lyrics to be sparse and vulnerable. I absolutely love the hauntingly beautiful piano solo Michael Tan has done here. Again, very proud of this track.
TRACK SEVEN - BABY ONE MORE TIME
Duet with Katie Underwood (Originally by Britney Spears)
This one was a lot of fun! Katie Underwood’s voice is so suited to jazz and it was her jazz album Ain’t Nobody’s Baby that led me to choose this track and style of this iconic Britney song. Katie and I met in Melbourne at the very first same-sex wedding - Ron & Antony and what a wedding it was! We perform “What The World Needs Now” together with Maria Mercedes (also on this album) and we had an instant connection. Musically I love our voices together and I loved playing with the harmonies - Katie really led this song as she recorded her vocals first. Michael Tubman’s trumpet solo is HEAVEN and he did a great job arranging all the horns on this album. The music video is fun and I love this Burlesque vibe for this track!
TRACK EIGHT - FROZEN
Duet with Maria Mercedes & Jacqui Dark (Originally by Madonna)
3 worlds combined! If there was ever a Madonna musical - this should be in it! Hahaha
Australian Broadway royalty Maria Mercedes and opera star Jacqui Dark both were incredible to work with on what I think is one of Madonna’s greatest songs. Such an important message in this song and we really dug deep to find the truth in the lyrics and tell the story within the song. “You’re frozen, when your hearts not open” what an important message in today's world. Maria and I as mentioned above met at the “wedding of the century” and we have become the most incredible friends. She has been my mentor in many ways and a true friend. Jacqui and I met on the set of All Together Now and was so funny and lovely and has so much heart in her gorgeous voice. I love that in the 2nd verse the tempo and the vibe change and the instrumental when Jacqui soars is like Mother Earth crying. It’s stunning!
TRACK NINE - MY ALL (MI TODO)
Duet with Emily Williams (Originally by Mariah Carey)
Idol, Young Divas, The Bodyguard - I have been on team Emily since I met her at the Australian Idol Season 3 auditions. I made it to the Final 40 and Em of course went on to the Grand Finale. What a voice! So much power and emotion. I have loved this song so much since I first watched Mariah perform it on VHS Divas Live (that gold dress!!) The arrangement is fairly simple as the melodies in the is song are so beautiful that I really didn’t want to change it too much - you can't mess with perfection right?! Haha, I love our voices belting together at the end. So powerful, I remember when I first heard Ems vocal I balled my eyes out. Adding the Spanish was a last-minute decision I had actually recorded the entire song in English first but I’m so glad I did it - I love singing in other languages and it adds something special to the track. This really is my thank you to Mariah for inspiring me vocally and being so fabulous!
TRACK TEN - I WANT TO SPEND MY LIFETIME LOVING YOU
Duet with Cosima De Vito (Originally by Tina Arena / Marc Anthony)
Don’t Ask was the first album I ever bought and was the soundtrack to my childhood. Tina Arena is such a huge inspiration to me so to record one of her many incredible songs is a dream come true - and who else could have sung this than the ONE + ONLY Cosima De Vito. What a freaking voice! Literally her vocal is ONE TAKE - she smashed it out of the park first go and that is what you hear on the record. Our voices together are really really special and I remember being really meticulous about having every not finish together, ever crescendo perfectly together and every breath takes the same time. It’s gotta be one of if my favourite tracks on the album and I’m so proud to call Cosima a friend now - she’s a darling human with so many gifts. I look forward to releasing this properly when we are allowed to tour and we are in the midst of planning the music video for it now! There will be DANCING! Hehe
TRACK ELEVEN - CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF YOU BABY
Duet with Rhonda Burchmore (Originally by Smash Mouth)
What an honour to do a duet with the incredible Rhonda Burchmore! Such a pro, such an icon, and such a lovely human. So talented, so wonderful and so SEXY! Her vocals were so good - there was so much to choose from when we were putting it all together. I arranged this song with Rhonda in mind - jazzy, sassy, and fabulous! So much history and heart in that voice and again - I love hearing us blend together! Double bass, grand piano, and horns with a gorgeous sax solo - YES PLEASE! Rhonda and I met at Broadbeach Jazz Festival initially and were both judges on All Together Now - and I have to admit I was a bit star-struck - shes got such a dazzling energy to her and I’m so honoured to be her friend.
TRACK TWELVE - BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY
Duet with Tania Doko & Eric Bazilian
Both LEGENDS! Tania and I have been mates for some time (absolutely love her) - we met a few years back online and I came to one of her gigs while she was here in Sydney and we actually had recorded another track together before this one - and this one just worked so beautifully. Raw, vulnerable. I took all of the tuning, reverb, and the delay off of my verse to start it - I wanted it to be really honest. Tania’s voice - I CAN'T EVEN - she has so much emotion it speaks to my inner soul. Eric really is an actual living legend - he wrote One Of Us for Joan Osbourne and played guitar on Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time & Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (cmon!?!) and I love his voice also - so much heart and grit! This song is my favourite arrangement on the album and means a lot to me as I was recording it when my step mum passed away from lung cancer. I dedicate it to her as she got to hear my solo raw demo just before she passed - she would be so proud of the finished product.
TRACK THIRTEEN - BUSES & TRAINS
Duet with Lynne McGranger (Originally by Bachelor Girl)
Who’ da thought Lynne had such a lovely singing voice!!! Irene and I met at the Perth Telethon 2 years ago at the bar - we were both comparing the wines of all things hahah! - not a bad conversation starter! Initially, I asked her to be in The Boy Is Mine music video (which she deserves an Oscar for) but when she told me she said she had been in Legally Blonde The Musical - a wine or two were had and I was pleasantly surprised by how she sang and how much she loved it! It was a really special recording experience as I was kind of her vocal coach through it- not that she needed it - LEGEND! I love Lynne and I’m very grateful for her friendship. To have James Roche (who wrote Buses & Trains) and Jack Jones (Southern Sons) play on the track is a complete honour and I love the first verse and the harmonies - having Tania on the previous track also who originally sung the song is really special. Having Lynne tell this story from a different perspective someone who has lived and had children of their own is a really interesting take on this classic Bachelor Girl tune!
TRACK FOURTEEN - MY HEART WILL GO ON
Duet with Amanda Harrison (Originally by Celine Dion)
Who doesn’t love TITANIC and its epic soundtrack! “Jack, Jack - I’m flying!”
Amanda Harrison’s vocals here are so stunning to come out of me singing my verse so soft and singing it mostly in falsetto to her so effortlessly building it further to the 3 part harmony finale at the end. I wasn’t sure whether to take on this song - but I’m so glad we did and can’t imagine anyone else singing it with me that - well, ELPHABA lol. Amanda is a great human, incredible performer, and singer. I was lucky enough to witness her as the Greenest Witch in town and I, like everyone else who saw it - was completely blown away. The arrangement is similar to the movie instrumental “Rose’s theme” without the Pan flute and I think it makes it a little more of a conversation version of the song. There will be no water used in the music video haha!
TRACK FIFTEEN - TOGETHER AGAIN
Duet with Joanne (Originally by Janet Jackson)
Joanne was my rock on this album. We have been close friends for a few years now meeting through mutual friends and falling in love instantly. What a voice! What a performer! What a human. So much heart in this track because we genuinely love and respect each other’s talents and our relationship. Joanne is such a pro and a joy to work with - this album would not be what it is without her! From the many hours on the phone talking about concepts, song ideas, who should sing what - Joanne was there from Day 1. Jo chose this song for us as shes a huge Janet fan and we worked really hard on this track - both going in several times to record more background vocals, and to make it the fun, soulful and the heartfelt track it is. I was lucky enough to perform it with her at the initial single launch for Mardi Gras 2020 and it was such a dream come true. It’s Joanne’s first release in 19 years and I’m so honoured to share this track and friendship with her.
TRACK SIXTEEN - YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE
Duet with Mark Gable (Originally by New Radicals)
Mark is a legend! Who hasn’t belted out Run To Paradise at the top of their lungs before!? I certainly have. I had the great pleasure of sitting next to Mark on the panel of All Together Now and he was hilarious and charming and we had the best time. I absolutely adore our track together. This ballad version showcases the tracks incredible lyrics and hearing Mark so beautiful and vulnerable - it is really special. This was one of the first songs I recorded for the album and it was going to be the last track and done as a solo but alas I recorded Closing Time - so I called up Mark and said hey come on a journey with me - he was great to work with and its a great track.
TRACK SEVENTEEN - CLOSING TIME
Duet with Mary Kiani, Danni Da Ros and Jordan Raskopolous (Originally by Semisonic)
The icing on the cake - the performing end to my album. It’s my Seasons Of Love final group number. 4 unique voices coming together to take it home. Danni and I have been friends for about 10 years - a great singer and very caring human - I've sung with her many times and its always a thrill - she sings her face off on this track - that last belt!? Phwoar!! Mary and I met at Fairday many years back and she was just fabulous - I love her conversations and she just loves music - she brought so much hear to this track. It’s a ballad version of a rock song so it needed heart. Jordan and I met at a gig and got chatting in the green room - the girl can sing rock like no one's business but it's so so lovely to hear her sing with such vulnerability and poise - we worked really hard on this track and it was, in fact, the last song we recorded. I remember when I’d finished the last session in the studio I didn’t want to leave - it felt like the end of an era - 2 years of collaboration and 1998 was born...
1998 really is a mash-up of incredible talent, all expertly steered by Greg to get the best performances out of some incredible talent and deliver a world-class album that reflects not only the era it is covering but a community that can come together and creates art and moments that we can all enjoy.
Do yourself a favour and go and grab the album on iTunes, or stream it on Spotify. You can also follow Greg on Guidetogay to check out his videos and get up to date news and project information.
Check out the photo gallery from the 1998 album launch at Sydney's Universal.