Attending a concert by a world-class musician is something that can stay with you for a lifetime. As amazing as the show is, the experience can be enhanced even more by a stunning and picturesque location. While many venues and festival grounds are known for their impressive sound systems and amenities, they often lack the charm and history of a truly beautiful setting.
This niche happens to be exactly what Artists Den Entertainment specializes in. For years, the company has been busy capturing live music performances in stunning locations to showcase the talent of the musicians. “We take your music and your story and put you in a place that’s super inspiring, that’s meaningful to you, and brings a different version of your live music performance to your fans,” explained Marc Lieberman of Artists Den Entertainment during a recent call.
Now, with a new streaming series, the company is going even further and “taking the narrative to a different level,” says Amber Mundinger, also of Artists Den Entertainment. And it all starts with one of the biggest pop stars on the planet.
Monumental: Ellie Goulding at Kew Gardens is the debut episode of a brand new show, Monumental: An Artists Den Experience. This is the first special variety released on FreeVee, AMZNAMZN’s free video-on-demand service. The platform used to be called IMDBTV, but Amazon renamed it and is now getting even more into music content.
The premise of the show is simple, but incredibly difficult to pull off. Music superstars performing their time-tested hits and new music in stunning spaces that have rarely – if ever – hosted concerts before. “Can you imagine trying to get a botanical garden to agree to host a concert?” asked Lieberman, who also executive produces the show.
The first episode features Ellie Goulding, as the name suggests, performing in the conservatory at London’s Kew Gardens. One of the most spectacular botanical spaces on the planet, it’s a truly wonderful venue for any event, not to mention an intimate, acoustic set from Grammy-nominated talent.
The special edition is timed to coincide with the release of Goulding’s new album Higher than the skywhich is expected to be released on April 7. Tunes from the set are heavily featured throughout Monumental: Ellie Goulding at Kew Gardens, with the pop star performing a number of future hits for the first time. But not everything is new. She also tackles scrappy tracks like “Burn,” “Love Me Like You Do” and, of course, “Lights.”
Goulding also sits down for an eye-opening interview about her new album, making music during the pandemic, becoming a mother and her love of fighting climate change. The latter topic is always important, but it takes on a new urgency when discussed in a room full of species that could become extinct if people don’t change their behavior. A scientist from the organization also speaks in the special edition, who further emphasizes the fact that Monumental: Ellie Goulding at Kew Gardens it is not only entertaining but also educational.
The special may look simple – featuring just Goulding, a few musicians and backup vocalists – but filming was far from easy. Although the team shot the interviews and B-roll in advance, when it came to the actual performances, there was an incredibly tight and almost impossible deadline, and what fans see on their screen almost didn’t happen.
The production team was able to build two stages loaded with all the necessary live performance equipment and record all the songs in less than 24 hours. A team of 130 people worked on the project and they were in at 10pm and out by 4pm the next day, which isn’t a lot of time to shoot all those songs.
At one point, the team’s photos required the use of a drone, which had never happened at Kew Gardens. Although this posed a significant risk to the plants and structure, they were able to gain approval and the team was able to successfully capture the required footage. Producer Mundinger noted, “It shows the level of trust that everybody had on all sides,” regarding how the organization treated the production team.
Creation Monumental: Ellie Goulding at Kew Gardens was a huge task that required a lot of careful planning and execution and somehow the team at Artists Den Entertainment pulled off the episode brilliantly and everyone feels deservedly proud. “When you take on something that really feels almost impossible and you do it,” Lieberman recalls of the production, “it’s just wonderful to look back at what you’ve created.”
Mundinger commented that Amazon is the “perfect home” for Monumental: An Artists Den Experience, as the conglomerate has the power to not just release a concert film or documentary, but to extract more from the production. It’s an entire ecosystem that will push the series forward and help Goulding as well. For example, Amazon Music released a deluxe edition of the album when it came out with six songs in which she spoke from the special edition.
During the chat, the producers admitted that there are “a few more” episodes of the Monumental: An Artists Den Experience in development, but they can’t say who will be involved or when fans might be able to watch. For now, fans can admire the beauty of the performance and dream about what seats might be next in line.