The Tenors have received bear hugs from Oprah and dubbed the Buckingham house band by the Duke of Edinburgh.
Throughout the last five years, the Canadian vocal group has released three albums; the most recent – Lead With Your Heart – has gone platinum in Canada and sold 17,000 copies in the U.S. in the first week of its release.
They’ve shared the stage with names like Andrea Bocelli, Sting and Paul McCartney. They’ve also sung with Celine Dion on the Oprah Winfrey Show and performed for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
“I think this is the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of,” said Clifton Murray, one of the four Tenors.
Murray and the other three members – Victor Micallef, Remigio Pereira and Fraser Walters – will be stopping in Thunder Bay for a show at the Auditorium on Feb. 22.
Some might think performing for the queen of television might be daunting, but Murray said singing for the Queen at a small party at Windsor Castle was more intimidating than Oprah.
“Even though Oprah comes with her incredible backstory and it’s so exciting to be on her show, when you finally meet her, she’s incredibly kind and easygoing and she was giving us big bear hugs. She made sure we were at ease,” he said.
After performing at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Murray said they were invited to perform at a small tea of about 30 people at Windsor Castle, right beside the cricket courts, in front of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
There was, of course, a protocol to follow. Don’t extend your hand, unless she extends hers first. Don’t speak to the Queen unless she speaks to you and don’t carry on the conversation unless she does.
“You’re basically just watching your tongue and keeping your hands down by your side,” said Murray.
But after their performance, the Queen came over and chit-chatted with the Tenors about her love for Canada, her dogs and Prince William’s wedding that had happened that summer.
She told them she loved the variety in their repertoire and Prince Phillip joked that after four performances for the royal couple under their belt, they were like the Buckingham house band.
“It’s great,” said Murray. “You still feel terribly nervous when you’re up there, trying to act casual.”
But after 60 plus years of service, Murray said she deserves to be able to put the fear of God into you.
The Tenors mix classical music and contemporary pop and Lead With Your Heart, released in fall 2012, has something their previous albums did not – original songs.
“The Tenor group in the past unfortunately hasn’t been known as a songwriting group,” said Murray, noting one of the ways they’ve tried to differentiate themselves from other tenor groups is by writing their own material.
Each member wrote on their own and with other songwriters and then had to go through the process of getting them OK’d by record producer David Foster of the Verve Music Group.
“We were prepared for the songs not to be on the album,” Murray said.
“We wanted the best to be on the album and that was the most important thing. We wanted to try our best to get our music on, but if it didn’t stand up to the other songs we’d chosen … if there was something missing in our original songs, we were going to get rid of them.”
Murray said when they met with Foster, he told them he was a ‘tough bird’ and not to take it personally if he didn’t like their songs.
They had nothing to worry about as Foster loved the original compositions and said one of them was even his favourite on the album.
“To hear that from David Foster was incredible validating and (gave us) an intense sense of pride because he doesn’t B.S.,” said Murray.
While Lead With Your Heart features the Tenor’s takes on classics like Bob Dylan’s Forever Young and Elton John’s Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, Murray said they wanted the album to show people that a tenor group could be more than just voices.
And that’s what they plan to do in concert when touring the country this winter. All four members play instruments and do so in their live shows.
Murray said their mandate is to lift the spirits of the audience and make them feel something powerful.
“You’re going to walk away definitely fulfilled,” he said.
The Tenors are performing at the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium on Feb. 22. The show starts at 8 p.m.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Remember me next time.