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BWW Interview: Alfie Boe Talks TRUST, MR. SELFRIDGE, and Career
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Cover art courtesy of Manhattan Records (Universal).
Alfie Boe, who is internationally recognized for his tenor voice, first gained recognition in the United States when he starred as Rodolfo in Baz Luhrmann's Broadway staging of LA BOHÈME. In 2010, he took on the role of Jean Valjean for the 25th Anniversary Concert of LES MISERABLES. Now, he is gearing up for the US release of his latest album, TRUST, and his appearance as music-hall singer Richard Chapman in an upcoming episode of Mr. Selfridge. Recently, I chatted with Alfie Boe about these projects and his career.
BWW: Your latest album, TRUST, will be released in the United States on April 29, 2014. What was it like recording this album?
Alfie Boe: It was an amazing experience recording the album. I got to work with some fantastic musicians. I got to work with an amazing record producer, Larry Klein. The musicians we used, in particular, Booker T. Jones, who played the Hammond Organ, is quite a legend actually. The bass player was Leland Sklar. He's played for Toto and Phil Collins. He's been around. I was very fortunate to get the experience to work with these guys and to collaborate with them on the creative side of the arrangements.
BWW: On TRUST you sing a set of songs ranging from country and blues to folk and gospel. How did you decide on this track list?
Alfie Boe: The track list is really a collaboration between myself, the record company, and the producer. We all put our heads together and came up with a list of songs that we all agreed on. Then, we narrowed it down to what would work together and make a good album, really. I was very fortunate that lots of the songs on there were my choice, so I was lucky about that, really.
BWW: That's cool. The track list took me by surprise because I think of you more as a Broadway and operatic vocalist. These songs appeared to be out of your typical box, if you will, of choices.
Alfie Boe: Yeah, I wanted to really show my fandom and the public what the classically trained voice is capable of doing. It's the technical ability to sing, but a trained voice can adapt to many different styles as long as you're legitimate to the sound you have and you're legitimate to The Voice you've been given, and you don't try to be a different kind of singer. You don't try and become a blues singer, a gospel singer, or a country singer. You just use The Voice that you've got and adapt it to that music. And, it seems to work. I'm one of those artists that appreciates all different types of music, and I wanted to share that with the public too.
BWW: TRUST was released in the UK in November of 2013 and debuted at Number 8 on the UK Album Chart. What do you hope US audiences take from this album?
Alfie Boe: I'm hoping that they'll see the diversity of my singing, and I hope they'll appreciate the musicianship on the album and the collaborations that we all worked together to create for this body of work. I hope that they basically get enjoyment from it, that they enjoy listening to it, and hearing those songs done in a different way with a technically trained voice, I suppose.
BWW: What is your favorite aspect of recording in the studio?
Alfie Boe: If I make a mistake, I can stop and start it again. That's always a good thing. (Laughs) Basically getting to work live with the musicians. That's something that is a real blessing to me, getting to share a studio with musicians and create music together really.