Wait (Gyan/Stapleton/Frost) – Gyan 1989
Sydney-based singer-songwriter Gyan (Gyan Evans) was born in Geelong in 1960 after her parents emigrated from Liverpool (UK) to Australia, she was the youngest of four children and attended the Matthew Flinders Girls High School. After journeying to India at the age of 17, she joined a religious cult and changed her name to Gyan, effectively dropping her surname in the future, her sister Asatki is also a performer and was a backing singer in Gyan’s travelling band early in her career.
Gyan commenced performing in Sydney with the band Haiku before winning the Grand Final of the Star Search Talent Quest, after which she signed up with Warner Music, and with producer Charles Fisher commenced work on her eponymous debut album at the Trafalgar Studios (Syd) with co-collaborators Geoff Stapleton guitar and keyboards (GangGajang), and guitarist Gary Frost (1927/Moving Pictures). The album comprised 11 tracks and Gyan was co-composer of all the songs, the hit single that was released before the album, was the dramatic power ballad Wait, a joint effort by Gyan, Stapleton and Frost which quickly climbed to #13 nationally and earned Gyan the Best New Talent ARIA Award for 1990.
Gyan’s inspiration for this song was the 1981 film The French Lieutenant’s Woman, based on the novel of the same name by John Fowles, which starred Meryl Streep in the dual roles of the Victorian era Sarah and the modern- day Anna, Gyan recalled how she felt after seeing the movie “Yeah. I came out of seeing the film and Meryl Streep was just – me! And she was on the end of that pier and I was like – ‘that’s me!’ I just came home and wrote that song, and I never thought it would be anything remotely commercial. I didn’t think that anyone could sing along to such a strange chorus, but I guess it’s got that sort of anthemic thing.”
The film was a romantic drama that featured an emotional tug-of-war between the main characters, the enigmatic flame -haired heroine played by Streep who roamed the rugged seascapes of Lyme Regis, longing to be re-united with her true love Charles, played by Jeremy Irons. Gyan captured the ambience of the film in both the promo clip, shot atop the cliffs at Kiama (NSW), and the song’s lyrics:“ there she stands looking out to sea waiting for her first love, keeps on waiting for him/ a little baby cries in the arms of the night/ she’s calling out his name like a Madame Butterfly… there she stands looking back at me/ red hair frames her pale face against the black scenery/ wait eh eh/for the favoured one with the favourite heart/ that he promised too many years from now.”
The recording was very much of its time and reflected the fascination with synth- inflected riffs and grandiose orchestration; keyboards by Geoff Stapleton intro the song and carry it forward via tempo changes and lyrics that embraced the dramatic sweep of the narrative. The drama of the song is further underscored by an appropriately bombastic arrangement, that surged on the chorus, reinforced by pounding percussion, impassioned vocals from Gyan, and a standout saxophone solo towards the outro of the song. Its musical structure and 80’s power pop credentials are reminiscent of Eric Carmen’s Hungry Eyes and Chris de Burgh’s Lady In Red, big hits several years earlier in 1987. Cue the sweeping helicopter shots, surging surf, wind machine, candelabra-lit studio, and that sax solo…
Subsequent singles released from the debut album It’s Alright (#64) in 1989 and Black Wedding (#93) in 1990 disappointed, and following the release of Redden Red, her second album in 1992, the single Something’s Gotta Give (#63) also failed to impress. She toured locally but left for London in 1995 only to be wooed to Miami in 1998 by famed songwriter/producer Desmond Childs to work on her next album Suburban Opera. The album was never completed apparently due to artistic differences between Gyan and her producer and record company, she wrote Love Is an Army for Le Anne Rimes which was included on her Twisted Angel album in 2002, and was a session singer for Ricky Martin, she has also been active as a published writer of children’s books in collaboration with cartoonist Michael Leunig and developed music for several film soundtracks.
In 2010 she released her fourth album titled Superfragilistically which was critically- praised but did not chart and her last album This Girl’s In in 2015, included a revamped version of the song Wait, which notably deleted the middle eight section originally written by Gary Frost, which Gyan apparently always thought was a very overblown eighties element in the record, and inconsistent with her original inspiration for the song, The French Lieutenant’s Woman