SAPPHIRE EYES is the new AOR band of songwriter and keyboard player Niclas Olsson, well known for his female fronted Melodic Rock band Alyson Avenue and lead singer Thomas Bursell. Back in 2004 the two Swedish musicians already worked together in the Melodic Hard Rock band Second Heat.
For several years already Niclas had the idea for an AOR band with a male vocalist, it originally started when Alyson Avenue parted ways with vocalist Anette Olzon in 2006. But due to other projects, including the work on Alyson Avenue’s comeback album “Changes” with their new vocalist Arabella Vitanc, released in the spring of 2011 through Avenue Of Allies, the work on the male fronted AOR album was put on hold.
Over the years Niclas has written a lot of songs that didn’t seem to be the right choice for Alyson Avenue, so he kept them up his sleeve until he was working on a suitable recording project.
SAPPHIRE EYES is exactly the album Niclas was waiting for to dig out 10 AOR jewels from his song vault and to record them with a line-up of musical friends.
Niclas and Thomas, who recorded the vocals for seven album tracks, are joined by two other male Swedish singers, Mikael Erlandsson (Last Autumn's Dream, Salute) took over the lead vocals on two songs and Mike Andersson (Cloudscape) handles the vocal duties on one tune. The female vocal touch is added by the two Alyson Avenue front ladies, past and present, with Anette Olzon and Arabella Vitanc recording backing vocals for two songs each.
Guitar contributions on SAPPHIRE EYES come from Sven Larsson (Street Talk, Lionville), Rik Priem (Frozen Rain), Emil Knabe and part-time Alyson Avenue musician Christopher Dahlmann. With Mikey K Nilsson (Nasty Idols) on guitars and Göran Forssén on bass, two more current Alyson Avenue members followed the call to be part of SAPPHIRE EYES.
The recording line-up is completed by bassists Thomas Löyskä, another Alyson Avenue alumni and Mats Ståhl as well as Francesco Jovino (U.D.O., Hardline) on drums.
The big sound of SAPPHIRE EYES has “Pure Classy Scandinavian AOR” written all over it. The songs are highly melodic with hooklines catchy as hell, the musicianship is of the highest order and the mix handled by Anders “Theo” Theander (Cloudscape, Urban Tale) finds the right balance between top notch vocal performances, guitar power, keyboard heaven and a solid rhythm back bone.”
SAPPHIRE EYES are :
Thomas Bursell: Lead vocals, background vocals
Niclas Olsson: Keyboards, background vocals, drums on track 3
Mikael Erlandsson: Lead vocals on tracks 1 & 6
Mike Andersson: Lead vocals on track 8
Anette Olzon: Special lead vocals on track 4 & background vocals on track 10
Arabella Vitanc: Background vocals on tracks 3 & 9
Emil Knabe: Guitars on tracks 1 & 9
Sven Larsson: Guitars on tracks 3 & 5
Mikey K Nilsson: Guitars on tracks 2, 6, 7 & 10, additional guitars on track 8
Rik Priem: Guitars on track 4 & Intro solo on track 2
Christofer Dahlman: Guitars on track 8
Thomas Löyskä: Bass on tracks 1, 2, 4, 8 & 10, clean guitars on tracks 2 & 10
Göran “G” Forssén: Bass on tracks 3, 5, 7 & 9
Mats Ståhl: Bass on track 6
Fransesco Jovino: Drums on all tracks except track 3
Anders “Theo” Theander: Loops, percussion and FX
Produced by Niclas Olsson
Mixed & mastered by Anders “Theo” Theander at RoastingHouse Studios Studio 1, Malmö, Sweden
All drums recorded by Alessandro Del Vecchio at Ivorytears Music Works, Somma Lombardo, Italy
Executive producer: Gregor Klee