Tony Cow­ell talks to Al­fie Boe

‘I re­mem­ber wak­ing up one morn­ing with this crazy urge to be on stage… I needed to sing’

Best - - CONTENTS - Tony Cow­ell

Al­fie Boe, 45, is now of­fi­cially the UK’s favourite singer. And, after duet­ting with Michael Ball, he’s go­ing it alone with a new solo al­bum,

As Time Goes By. Here, he talks about why he ded­i­cated it to his mum and dad…

Hi, Al­fie! Your new al­bum cel­e­brates the mu­sic of the 1930s – how did that idea come about?

It’s mu­sic I lis­tened to as a kid, re­ally – the songs my par­ents would play at home. Th­ese songs come from a very ro­man­tic era, and were orig­i­nally sung by the likes of Frank Si­na­tra and Ella Fitzger­ald. But they also have a dark his­tory, com­ing be­tween two world wars. Re­gard­ing my own mu­si­cal in­flu­ences, my mum told me a story dat­ing back to when she was preg­nant with me. She was watch­ing the jazz drum­mer Gene Krupa on TV and she im­me­di­ately felt me kick. She knew I was con­nected to mu­sic – I was feel­ing it even be­fore I was born! So, this al­bum is very much a ded­i­ca­tion to my mum and dad. It also cel­e­brates the songs that brought about the birth of pop mu­sic.

Your dad in­flu­enced your early love of mu­sic…

Yes. He would play a Glenn Miller al­bum, then a coun­try al­bum, fol­lowed by some opera. He had a very eclec­tic taste, and that mu­sic al­ways stayed with me. In those days, you played whole al­bums – to­day, the kids just down­load a song. That’s very dif­fer­ent.

You once worked in a car fac­tory. Were your par­ents sup­port­ive when you felt mu­sic was your call­ing?

Very sup­port­ive, though most of it was born of my own mo­ti­va­tion. But it was Dad who drove me all around the coun­try – to au­di­tions, shows and am­a­teur pro­duc­tions. He never once com­plained – I think he just knew what I was des­tined to do with my life. I re­mem­ber wak­ing one morn­ing with this crazy urge to be on stage. I rode my bike to work, think­ing, ‘I can’t do this any more.’ I needed to sing. Some­thing deep in­side me told me this was what I had to do. That was the last day I ever worked in the fac­tory.

So, what was your first big ca­reer break?

I was 19 years old, and I found out there was a com­pany in Pre­ston plan­ning a pro­duc­tion of West Side Story – but I was told they had al­ready cast the lead roles. But I still went along with my dad. They asked me what I was singing, and I said Maria. I sang the song – hit that big note at the end – and they cast me in the lead role of Tony.

How of­ten do you think back to those early days work­ing in the fac­tory?

All the time. I think, well, if I wasn’t there at that time, I wouldn’t have got frus­trated. I wouldn’t have looked for work as a singer, and things

might have been dif­fer­ent. Who knows? It was fate. It was my des­tiny.

You re­cently re­turned to your home town of Fleet­wood in Lan­cashire. Tell us about that…

Yes, I went back to Fleet­wood to film a TV doc­u­men­tary about the Royal Na­tional Lifeboat In­sti­tu­tion for the BBC. Th­ese peo­ple are amaz­ing and save so many lives in such dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions. It was a huge hon­our to go back there and film on the boat with th­ese guys.

You recorded your new al­bum at the fa­mous Capi­tol Stu­dios in Los An­ge­les. Did you feel a sense of his­tory about the place?

It was amaz­ing to stand there in the same spot where Frank Si­na­tra had stood, singing those fa­mous songs all those years ago. You can feel the at­mos­phere as soon as you walk into the room. It’s a very spe­cial place, so I feel very blessed to have recorded there. It’s full of his­tory.

Frasier star Kelsey Gram­mer ap­pears on your al­bum – what was he like to work with?

I’ve known Kelsey for a num­ber of years and he agreed to do Min­nie The Moocher with me. We had such a laugh to­gether, and I was so grate­ful he was there with me.

The Bri­tish ac­tress Kara Toin­ton also fea­tures on a song – are you a fan?

Yes, a big fan. Kara is hugely ta­lented, so it was re­ally fun to have her work on one song on this al­bum [called Stompin’ At The Savoy]. Her voice is very dis­tinc­tive.

Are there plans for you and mu­si­cal theatre star Michael Ball to work to­gether again in the near fu­ture?

I love work­ing with Michael and I hope he feels the same. There are no plans this year, be­cause we are both fo­cused on our solo ca­reers. We work so well to­gether, though, so I’m sure we will do an­other ven­ture in the fu­ture.

I hear you are plan­ning to do a duet with singer/ song­writer Shawn Mendes – is that true?

I would do a duet with Shawn, sim­ply be­cause it would give me huge cred­i­bil­ity in the eyes of my daugh­ter, Grace. She’s a big fan of Shawn’s! I don’t hold out much hope, though.

Is it true you’re look­ing to do a song for the next Bond movie?

I wrote and recorded a few songs which I’ve sent to the pro­duc­ers. I think it would be amaz­ing to be able to sing a Bond theme. Peo­ple like Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and, of course, Adele have all per­formed themes. As Time Goes By, the new al­bum by Al­fie Boe, is out on 23 Novem­ber.

Al­fie with his friend of old, Michael Ball

Ac­tor Kelsey Gram­mer fea­tures on the new al­bum Ac­tress Kara Toin­ton guests on Al­fie’s new al­bum With wife Sarah, daugh­ter Grace and son Al­fred

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.