‘Untouchable’is a poignant ballad of loss and epic heartbreak, combined with a celebration of life and love. Composed and arranged by Stephen Emmer, the lyrics were written and performed by Glenn Gregory of the pioneering 80’s synth pop band Heaven 17.
Coming out of the Sheffield electronic music scene in the early 80’s, Heaven 17 have accrued 7 top 40 hit singles and 4 top 40 albums reaching Platinum status throughout their glittering career. Their first top 40 hit single ‘Temptation’ in 1983 shot the band into the charts at number 2 as they fast became one of the most respected, stylish and celebrated bands of that era. Lead singer Glenn Gregory also appeared on the original Band Aid album alongside Sting & Midge Ure, but despite their commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic, the band always managed to maintain a credible & underground heritage.
‘Untouchable’ is a tribute to the late Billy Mackenzie of The Associates, singer on the eponymous hit single ‘Party Fears Two’ a great friend of the band and an exceptionally talented singer, lost to a premature and untimely death. This stunning single is the first release from the forthcoming album ‘International Blue’ created by Stephen, joined by a collective of artists. The concept pays tribute to the rare art of the pop crooner. Swamped in a rich reverb of sound and multilayered instrumental music, pop crooners tempt and touch you with their highly emotional renderings and their deep, powerful voices. As an accolade to this rare genre of elegance within the pop realm, International Blue injects a modern twist to the style with a myriad of contemporary sounds & beats, studio techniques, musical insights and lyrical meaning. It’s a celebration of the epic chamber music pop of - Burt Bacharach, Scott Walker, Nick Cave and Bowie. The forthcoming album will feature some of the great baritone singers in the UK today including; Glenn Gregory (with this stunning first release presenting a taste of what’s to come), Liam McKahey (Cousteau), Neil Crossley (Furlined) and some very special surprise guests. The album is mixed and produced by the legendary Tony Visconti (Bowie, T. Rex) with original tracks mixed and recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
Stephen Emmer had what some would call a hedonistic, misspent youth and others would regard as simply magical. Born in Holland, he grew up in an Indian ashram learning to play local wind instruments during the 60’s, before leaving for the heady Caribbean and learning their wild voodoo infused percussion. During the 70’s Stephen returned to his home of Amsterdam and immersed himself in the world of jazz, symphonic rock and avant-garde, electronic new wave.
Stephen has recorded, written for, and performed with a diverse range of artists and writers such as; Lou Reed, Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), Billy McKenzie (The Associates), Mary Griffin (Parliament, Patti Labelle), The Lotus Eaters, Act (Claudia Brucken), Kazu Makino (Blonde Redhead), Mike Garson (Bowie) and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has collaborated with producers such as; Tony Visconti, Flood, Steve Power, Sam Okell, Nigel Gray, Martin Hennet and Trevor Horn. He is currently best known in Holland & Benelux as the number 1 TV and film score producer and has released two solo albums; ‘Vogue Estate’ (a cinematic 80’s album featuring some of the aforementioned vocalists) and ‘Recitement’, a musically cathartic experience for Stephen, one that remains unique, inspiring and critically revered created from seventeen compositions based on literary text-fragments narrated by Lou Reed, Allen Ginsberg and Richard Burton.