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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT with Shane Cortese

North Shore is home to our most successful international musician in the USA

Here’s a good quiz question. Who is the only New Zealand solo artist to have a certified platinum album in the USA? You would think, possibly Dame Kiri, possibly Neil Finn, both good guesses, however the actual answer is an incredibly talented musician from the North Shore.
Carl Doy is in fact our most successful international musician in the USA. In 1987, after a chance meeting with Murray Thom, ex-head of CBS
Records, they decided to record a piano album. This became the first of the best selling Piano By Candlelight series, and it entered the charts at number one in its first week.
Eight more albums in the series were recorded over the next 12 years, the second (Piano By Candlelight 2) establishing a record for most copies sold in New Zealand of a locally recorded album.
In 1992, Murray Thom licenced the first three albums to Time Life Music in America. The resulting two-CD set became one of their best sellers ever, selling in excess of one million copies in the USA alone, and giving Carl the distinction of being the only New Zealand solo artist to have a certified platinum album in the USA. The albums have also sold in large quantities in most European countries, the Far East, South America and Canada.
It also wouldn’t be the last time Carl would enjoy success in the States. For the first two years of the Millennium, his major project was to re-record the tracks that were on the first Candlelight albums. These were originally recorded using sampled instruments, as there was no budget for real instruments in those early years. Now they have been digitally re-recorded with members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and compiled into a 10-CD set entitled "Together". The production of this collection is one of the high points of Carl's 35 years as a professional musician. It was so good and so well received that Oprah Winfrey featured the collection nationwide in the USA on "Oprah's Favorite Things" in 2002. She told her TV audience that "Together" was "her favourite of all the favourites". A Ringing endorsement and when you consider it was from the Queen of Talk Show Television. The endorsement proved to be a major contributor to a boost in sales for the album.
He never stops does Carl. I had the pleasure of working alongside him in 2005. Carl was the Musical Director on the first series of Dancing With the Stars (he went on to musically direct all five series) he was the musical rock for us nervous dancers. He cut, pasted and arranged all the music in liaison with our professional dancers to a 90 second segment and while we felt at times all was crumbling around us, a real constant would be Carl’s awesome orchestra and his smile and thumbs up of encouragement.
Carl is a genuine New Zealand Recording Star and it gives me great pleasure to let you know he has released another album, which will be a hit with the lovers of the classical sound of the War Years. Entitled “Songs of Love and War” it is a feel good album featuring tracks such as “The White Cliffs of Dover”, “We’ll Meet Again, “Abide With Me” and “Now Is The Hour”. It’s a wonderfully produced sure-fire winner from our own Carl Doy, and will make a great addition or gift to your own collection. For more information and to order the album go to

by Shane Cortese