Were you classically trained as a singer before you studied at the Victorian College of the Arts? What made you decide to venture into musical theatre and drama?
I started training classically when I was 11. My teacher expected a boy soprano but I was actually a baritone at 11 years of age. Around that time, I got involved in theatre and developed a passion for acting and storytelling through song. So, opera and music theatre were inevitable genres to explore.
How do you juggle performing in a range of different musical styles?
I’ve always had varying musical tastes, especially jazz, opera and pop. I love using my voice in different ways to produce different sounds. I believe that musical style is every bit as important as musical technique, and each style has different demands.
How do you manage your time when you have various performances on the go?
I’m big on preparation, which takes up a lot more time than the performance itself. Learning the repertoire, singing it into the voice, exploring dramatic context in the writing - all this is important to be able to tell the story effectively.
You have also appeared as an actor on a number of different television programs! What skills that you have from music performance have helped you in your acting career, and vice versa? Why do you think musicians should (or shouldn't!) get involved in other performing arts?
I think as artists we should be involved in as many creative endeavours as we can, as long as we have something to express. For me, having a background in acting allows me to connect to the words more effectively as a singer. So, one creative discipline informs the other.
What similarities and differences do you see between opera, pop, and musical theatre, and what benefit do you think there is to marrying these three genres? How do you approach interdisciplinary work?
Traditionally, all three genres are very different. However, they are becoming closer stylistically in recent times. As a performer, I think it’s important to be able to be as stylistically diverse as possible, in order to obtain the most regular and exciting performance opportunities.
Many of our readers are young musicians at the beginning of their careers. What advice can you give to them for managing life as a busy performer in many different styles and around the world?!
Firstly, this is not an easy industry to work in. You need to love it - REALLY love it - in order to make it your life. Secondly, you need to be willing to work on your craft throughout your entire career. Lots of rehearsal, preparation and hard work. Thirdly, be yourself. Show people what it is about you that is unique. What’s your “thing”? Don’t copy other artists versions of songs - make them your own. Use your own unique instrument and soul to express the music and/or words in your own way. This is where the magic lies.
The Australian Philharmonic present their much loved NYE concert on December 31st at 2pm and 8pm, featuring Kane Alexander, Silvie Paladino and Simon Gleeson. More information and tickets available here.