Perhaps better known to fans of the hit period drama television series Downton Abbey, it was Julian Ovenden's background in music that eventually opened the door for him to study musical theater, and subsequently forge a successful career as an actor. Born in Sheffield, England, as one of three children of the Reverend Canon John Ovenden, a former chaplain to Queen Elizabeth II, Julian Ovenden started singing as a child in the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir. He would go on to win a music scholarship to Eton College, and subsequently a choral scholarship to read music at New College, Oxford. With a Broadway and West End pedigree under his belt, it was no surprise when Ovenden released his debut album, If You Stay, in 2013 for Decca. A collection of golden-age classics set to an orchestral accompaniment, songs such as "The Last Waltz" and "It Hurts to Say Goodbye" set the record up for a warm reception from an easy listening fan base.
His next venture, also in 2013, was an album of Rodgers & Hammerstein songs recorded with the John Wilson Orchestra, familiar territory to Ovenden given his Broadway pedigree. His onscreen success on the hugely popular Downton Abbey drama series led Ovenden to be a part of Christmas at Downton Abbey, a two-CD festive compilation that saw Ovenden lending his opera training to popular Christmas carols. The album, recorded for Warner Bros., was extremely successful and went double platinum. After signing a record deal with East West Records in late 2015, Ovenden released his second full-length, Be My Love, in 2016. The album was a celebration of his love of Great American Songbook composers and lyricists, and featured his interpretations of classics by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Harold Arlen, and the great partnerships of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Rodgers & Hart. ~ Simon Spreyer