For some groups the list of achievements barely grows longer than releasing a few albums and maybe touring the world or playing festivals. Not so The Tenors who include in their list of achievements to date playing for SIX US PRESIDENTS, performing at the Queen’s Jubilee, playing at the Winter Games and performing with a Who’s Who of Music Icons like Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney. As the group head into the winter break, we sat down with all four members to chat about those achievement, the recent line-up changes and their vision for the future.
1. Just to start off, you came over to the UK recently to play at the Royal Albert Hall. Before the gig were you aware of the history of the venue?
Victor – “Oh yes, we knew about it. It was one of those places we’ve wanted to hit for a long time. We realised how big of a venue it is. It’s like check that box. It’s an iconic hall. We know the artists who have performed their are iconic so we are humbled by being on that stage with Lang Lang and his wife. It was a real honour and pleasure to perform there and hopefully we’ll be back soon on that stage.”
2. The show you performed as part of was to celebrate 100 Years of Disney. Was Disney a big part of your life growing up?
Mark – “I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the last forty years who hasn’t had a Disney film they haven’t liked in some shape or form. To be there and witness and participate in these arrangements and to celebrate such iconic music that has been the score to many of our lives was pretty special.”
3. Prior to that earlier in the year, Mark and Alberto joined the group. What do you think they have added to the group?
Clifton – “Just immense talent. Truly magnificent singers, piano players, songwriters and just human beings. Just crazy talent and they’ve had such success already. They were just at the perfect moment where we realised that if we all came together to create this super vocal group, the sky is the limit. Alberto brought a song right away called ‘Miracle’ and we all heard it and loved it. We wanted to get the song up and running so we went and filmed it in Sicily in his homeland in the mountains in the sunset. Every time we get on stage we get tighter and tighter not only musically but personally as well which is down to their talent, passion and conviction for this group. It’s exciting.”
4. Alberto and Mark what did you want to bring to the group?
Alberto – “I love these guys not just as singers but also as friends so when we are together there is a beautiful energy and everybody is so important. Victor is quiet. Mark is a beautiful songwriter. Together we can just have a beautiful connection and I am so happy to be here. It’s a new family.”
Mark – “I felt like the best thing I could do was just bring myself to the group and whatever giftings I had. Not necessarily my physical voice but my spirit voice in music. To develop and be part of a new chapter and new era in this group because I’ve had such respect for these guys and their music over the years. I’ve been friends personally for a number of years so I’ve always respected that. It felt like they didn’t necessarily need anything new but the opportunity came and like Clifton said it was the right season in our lives and to be able to come and just bring me and hope it is enough. There has been this beautiful melding of our relationships, socially and there is a comminality about what we see in music and what we want to express. We’re super-excited about the next ten years have.”
5. What’s the vision going forward for the group especially when you take into consideration some of the things you’ve done in the past as a group?
Mark – “We want to continue to make music that inspires hope, that really is all about hope and healing and light. Inspiring people on their journey. Writing songs and doing shows that speak to the human existence and those various aspects of love whether it’s unrequitted love, whether it’s loss, whatever it is, to be able to make sure that relate to our shared human experiences and also create songs that maybe push the boundaries of what classical/crossover has been over the years. We’re not looking at trying to recrete the wheel here or anything like that but we’re just trying to create a voice in a market that has other groups in the same space. I think we’re definitely onto something with the sounds and the ideas and the concepts that we’re working with now as we start looking at going into a studio and recording an album.”
Victor – “I think looking at the music and the genre and going through the various groups from the Three Tenors right through, there has been a natural evolution and we want to be part of that evolution. Bring it to the next era of what a crossover group could sound like. Like Mark said stay true to what we are and our voices but also push it to the next level. Working with new producers and creating new music. Obviously we’ll still cover the old classics but even the arrangements are important in creating a sound.”
Clifton – “We have some lofty goals for bringing our music to the world. We have a two/three year plan right now. It’s started with ‘Miracle’ and, after our Christmas tour, we go into the studio for four months. We’ll be in Nashville, Canada, LA and New York creating this new sound. Really pulling from everyone’s talents. We all come from very different backgrounds. There are some overlaps but Mark Gospel/crossover. Alberto he’s twenty-five and has a classical style with a Europop vibe to it. Victor is a chameleon, he can do so many different things but he released classical music so when we do a Puccini song, you want to hear that powerhouse classical voice that has been trained for twenty years and respects and honours that genre. I’m more of a pop/rock/folk guy.
“We all have these styles that we bring together so, when we do a live performance, we can legitimiately do these songs and people never get tired of these songs because they’re constantly surprised and what a Tenors group can do. What we have, which is very rare, is the capacity to harmonize. When you hone in on those harmonies there is something unique and magical. Like Victor said, those arrangements, taking a song and putting our spin on it and making it sound fresh. We’re capitalising on that nostalgia that people are clinging onto right now with the way the world is so making it fresh and new, that really is our mandate in music.”
6. You’re clearly very excited for the future, how does it feel when the four of you get together to make music and it all just clicks? That must be a very special feeling.
Victor: “Having gone through this before, I’ve been at The Tenors thing for sixteen years now, I’ve seen different renditions of the group come and go. That is a key to a successful group, the chemistry, on a deeper level. It doesn’t always work especially when you can tell from the beginning that there are going to be some speed bumps, things that pull you back. Honestly, it is almost a miracle the way this group came together.
We had to say goodbye to one of our close friends, Fraser, because he wanted to be at home more and go in a different direction. It just kind of came together. We knew Mark, like he said, we were friends before then someone brought to our attention the success that Alberto was having in Italy. When you meet new people and get into the same room and start to work together, it’s a trial. You’re looking at whether it will work on a personal as well as on a harmony level. You might like someone as a person but it might not blend with you. It’s incredible how it is blending at the moment. That connection is either there or it isn’t, so we’ve been handed a gift and we’re very excited because, already, in the short time we’ve had together, the stuff we’re producing is already world class and we’re excited to make new music in the New Year and for the world to hear it.”
7. Can we expect new music from you then in 2023?
Clifton: “Yeah, the first few months we’re going to hunker down in the studio, maybe do a few corporate shows, a few symphony shows, but we’re going to gear up to do a larger tour in the fall of 2023 to bring that new music and the new show to the World.”
8. You’ve played for six US Presidents, at the Queens Jubilee, Winter Olympics, the list of achievements could go on. Where is on your bucketlist?
Alberto: “For me, New York Madison Square Gardens.”
Victor: “We’ve been there before but we’ll take these guys. [Laughs]”
Clifton: “Funny story about New York but we were on a David Foster and Friends tour. It was us and Natalie Cole, Foster and Peter Satana. We were performing a few songs one of which was ‘Hallelujah’. In the other room in Madison Square Gardens, Leonard Cohen was performing his concert and happened to be performing ‘Hallelujah’ at the same time. It was one of those incredible moments. We’ll get back there with the new guys because there is nothing like the power of that connection with the audience. It’s what artists live for.”
9. Given your list of achievements, there must be some real pinch me moments?
Mark: “We want to take it all our stride and be grateful for each and every opportunity but, for me, a pinch me moment was walking on stage at the Royal Albert Hall to perform with Lang Lang. That was pretty magical. A couple of weeks earlier, a close second was the Hollywood Bowl, that was pretty special too. There are those moments where, if you’re not smiling on the outside, you’re certainly smirking to yourself on the inside whether or not this is real or a dream but always approaching each of those opportunities with the attitude of gratitude.”
Alberto: “Oh my God, performing Tarzan in the Royal Albert Hall with Lang Lang with the big orchestra. That was amazing. I was so excited. It was the best moment of my life.”
10. On that note then, just to finish, if you wrote down your list of achievements and compare it to your childhood hopes and dreams, you can’t have imagined this?
Victor: “It’s definitely quite a ride and you don’t ever get too used to it. It’s funny you’re always in awe of the whole career. We’re privileged and there are a lot of incredibly talented people out there and we’ve had a lot of amazing opportunities. You have to be prepared and deliver or you won’t be invited back but there are many pinch me moments. The Christmas holidays when we finally get a break is the time when we get to sit back and think ‘oh my God did that happen?’. When we played at the Power Plant with Sir Paul McCartney – he’s a Beatle and we walked in and he looks up and smiles as he’s playing a song like a challenge to us. Those moments are the ones that you don’t forget.”
The Tenors wrap up the year with three shows and you can get all the details on the Official The Tenors Website.