Attending a concert by a world-class musician is the sort of thing that can stay with you for a lifetime. However amazing the show is, the experience can be enhanced even further 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 now, the company has been busy filming live musical performances at stunning locations to showcase musicians’ talents. “We take your music and your story and put you in a place that is super inspiring, that is meaningful to you, and it brings a different version of your live music performance to your fans,” explained Artists Den Entertainment’s Mark Lieberman during a recent call.
Now, with a new streaming series, the company is reaching even further and “taking the narrative to a different level,” says Amber Mundinger, also of Artists Den Entertainment. And it all begins 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. It’s the first variety special released on Freevee, Amazon’s
The show’s premise is simple, yet incredibly difficult to make happen. Musical 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?” questioned Lieberman, who also serves as an executive producer on the show.
The first episode stars Ellie Goulding, as the name suggests, performing in the greenhouse in London’s Kew Gardens. One of the most spectacular botanical spaces on the planet, it’s a truly gorgeous spot for any event, let alone an intimate, acoustic set by a Grammy-nominated talent.
The special is timed around the release of Goulding’s new album Higher Than Heaven, which is expected to drop 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 it’s not all new. She also powers through well-worn smashes 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 in the pandemic, becoming a mother, and her love of fighting climate change. The latter topic is always important, but it takes on new urgency when it’s discussed in a room filled with species that could disappear if humans don’t change their ways. A scientist from the organization also speaks in the special, further underlining the fact that Monumental: Ellie Goulding at Kew Gardens isn’t just
The special might look simple–it features just Goulding, a few musicians and backup singers–but the filming was far from easy. While the crew shot the interviews and B-roll beforehand, when it came to the actual performances, there was an incredibly strict and near-impossible deadline, and what fans see on their screen almost didn’t happen.
The production team managed to build two stages, loaded in all the necessary equipment for a live performance, and film all the songs in less than 24 hours. A team of 130 people worked on the project, and they were in at 10:00 PM and out by 4:00 PM the following day, which is not a lot of time to shoot all these songs.
At one point, the crew’s filming required the use of a drone, which had never happened at Kew Gardens. While this presented a significant risk to plants and the structure, they were able to get approval and the team managed to successfully capture the necessary shots. Producer Mundinger remarked, “That shows the level of trust that everybody had on all sides,” in reference to how the organization treated the production crew.
Creating Monumental: Ellie Goulding at Kew Gardens was a gargantuan task that required a lot of careful planning and execution, and somehow the Artists Den Entertainment team pulled the episode off brilliantly, and everyone deservedly feels proud. “When you do take on something that truly feels almost impossible and you get it done,” Lieberman reminisced about the production, “it’s just so wonderful to look back on 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 make more out of the production. It’s an entire ecosystem, one which will push the series further and help Goulding as well. For example, Amazon Music is releasing a deluxe edition of the album when it’s out with six tracks of her talking from the special.
During a chat, the producers admitted that there are “a few” more episodes of Monumental: An Artists Den Experience in the works, but they can’t say who will be involved or when fans might be able to watch. For now, fans can marvel at the beauty of the performance and dream about what locations might be next in line.