More often than not, one’s musical taste is informed early on by what one’s parents listened to. If your parents grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, they might have had cassette tapes (remember those??) of Simon & Garfunkel in their collection, with songs like Sound Of Silence, Bridge Over Troubled Water and Mrs Robinson wafting through your home.
The American duo, comprising Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, were lauded at the height of the folk-rock movement for their tight vocal harmonies, varied musical styles (that ranged from pop and rock to country and gospel), and poetic, sensitive lyrics that spoke to the lonely and world-weary.
Last staged in Singapore in 2017, the internationally acclaimed hit show The Simon & Garfunkel Story – a veritable nostalgia-fest for fans, and a masterclass of timeless musicality for newcomers – returns to our shores for two nights only (Aug 5 and 6, 8pm) at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands.
The focus is on the music, not so much on a plot or story per se. Think: “live” tribute concert as opposed to a musical, enhanced by video projection, photos and original film footage, and supported by a trio of musicians.
Ahead of the show, we speak to the UK artists – 27-year-old Adam Dickinson (Paul Simon) and 31-year-old Cameron Potts (Art Garfunkel) – who have received rave reviews not only for looking and sounding like the original duo, but also for their delivery and passion.
Adam: I think it’s important to bring some of ourselves to the performance as we will never actually be them. If we try too hard to be them, we’d be wasting our time. So, it’s important to try our best to take their mannerisms both vocally and physically, and implement them into our own performance.
We want the audience to close their eyes and think they are listening to the real thing, so vocally, we have to replicate their sound as best we can while remaining Adam & Cameron.
Cameron: I am not Art Garfunkel, I just happen to be able to sing like him, a little. So for me, the most important part of sharing this music with our audiences is to try and recreate the sounds as authentically as we possibly can. In rehearsals, we spent a lot of time listening to each other and working out how to blend our voices to recreate the iconic sound that Simon and Garfunkel were famous for.
There are a couple of moments in the show when, as a performer, I have been encouraged to allow my own voice to come through as well as singing like Art. I don’t look like Art at all – so in order to give me a little height I wear heeled boots and have my hair permed to create his very famous hairstyle!
Adam: A woman in her 50s and her dad came to see us at the signing after the show. She told us that her dad had severe Alzheimer’s, and couldn’t even remember her name. But she was crying with so much happiness that her dad was singing along during the show, and could remember nearly every lyric in “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “The Boxer”. This was amazing to hear, and really does show the power of music and how much it means to so many people.
Cameron: Because the music of Simon and Garfunkel is so iconic and well loved, it has become the soundtrack to so many people’s lives. It’s a real joy to hear of people who fell in love with their partner whilst listening to this music. The show is all about reminiscing and allowing our audiences to remember their youth.
Cameron: I fondly remember when my Dad first shared the music with me. His excitement in response to my excitement at hearing this music is something that will stay with me forever. He was an avid fan, and that shared enjoyment of their music formed in us a happy bond.
Adam: I knew of Paul Simon’s album “Graceland” before landing this role but hadn’t really heard of Simon & Garfunkel… or so I thought! Then I got sent the setlist from our producer, and it was then that I realised how many songs I actually did know.
This is such a credit to Paul Simon’s writing as I was 23 when I first got this job, and I must have known about five or six songs from their catalogue. I also remember hearing my grandma listen to “Mrs Robinson” on the radio.
Cameron: I love getting the audience involved in “Cecelia”. It’s a lot of fun, and it feels to me as though, from that point in the show, the party really begins.
Adam: Either Bridge Over Troubled Water, because I get to go off stage for a minute and just watch Cameron smash it every night, or “The Boxer” as it’s the last song in the show and audiences go crazy for it!
Cameron: Haha. Brilliant. I love listening to female singer-songwriter music. Artists like Yvonne Lyon or Miriam Jones.
Adam: Honestly, the [actual] sound of silence, not the Simon & Garfunkel version – just anywhere in the world where there is nothing going on. That’s how I like relax.