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Breaking through in 2004 with their self-titled debut album, classical crossover quartet Il Divo became a global sensation with their unique take on the genre. Using pop sensibilities and recording in multiple languages, Il Divo pioneered a sound of their own.
Comprising of Urs Bühler, Carlos Marín, David Miller and Sébastien Izambard, Il Divo have sold a phenomenal 30 million albums worldwide.
Originally put together by pop mastermind Simon Cowell, the quartet released seven hit records on his Syco record label, before moving to pastures new in the form of Universal Music’s legendary imprint Decca Gold.
Il Divo released their latest album Timeless in 2018. Their first release on Decca Gold, the album allowed the group to take creative control and the resulting LP features 10 tracks from 10 decades, picked and produced by the group themselves. The record features the lead single Hola, a Spanish re-imagining of Adele’s mega-hit Hello.
Il Divo bring the Timeless tour to the UK this summer. Ahead of the dates, we caught up with David Miller to discuss what fans can expect from the shows.
You’re coming to the UK to tour this summer, how much are you looking forward to it?
We’re always very excited to be coming back to the UK! It’s where Il Divo was born and they were our first adopters. We always get such an amazing reaction from the audiences there.
What can fans expect from the shows?
Well, this is our 15th anniversary, which is a huge deal for us. We’ve gone through our entire catalogue and we’ve put together a selection of songs that we love to sing and that the audience loves to listen to. We’ve added a few of our more popular songs back in, as opposed to the last couple of tours that have been concept tours based on the albums. We’ve created a couple of special moments in the show and we’ll be singing a song that we’ve actually never performed in any of our concerts before. The fans can expect to come and have a great time and listen to the music that they’ve always enjoyed.
Is there one track, in particular, that means the most to you when you perform it live?
I think there’s a few actually. Unbreak My heart is the one that really launched us in the UK and all around the world. There’s a certain nostalgia around singing My Way because there’s this unique energy around that song that really applies to the four of us and what we’ve done. We came out of the left field and were just doing it our way and people really seemed to gravitate towards that sense of ownership and the sense of inner purpose. Then, of course, there’s Time to Say Goodbye, which is one of the all-time classic crossover songs. I love singing that song.
You released your latest album Timeless last year, how pleased were you with the reaction to the record?
That record was particularly important to us because we self-produced the album. Timeless was really a graduation for us, out of being just the singers who were brought together by a record company and put in a room and given a handful of songs… moving away from that and into the role of producers and becoming the masters of our own destiny. We wanted to create a cross section of music, picking one track from every decade, going back as far as the 1930s, that was just iconic and that everyone would be able to gravitate to. We worked very methodically through the entire process, kept our eye on all the moving pieces and the feedback from pretty much all of our audience has been that this is their favourite album since our debut. It’s been very heartwarming for us.
Is there one moment from your career that you can pinpoint as making you think, wow I can’t believe this is happening?
No! I cannot pinpoint one single moment, it’s impossible. (laughs) There’s been so many. It feels like every time we turn around there’s something new to take stock of. The first time we listened back to Unbreak My Heart and we discovered we had that unique sound, the launch of the album, the first time we were on the Oprah Winfrey show, the second time we were on the Oprah Winfrey show! Singing for dignitaries, presidents, going on tour for the first time, singing with Barbra Streisand, the first time we went to any one of the countries we’ve been to.
Il Divo famously record songs in several different languages. How important do you think it is that people learn to speak another language?
Well, what I would say is if we all spoke one singular language, that would be boring as hell. Part of the diversity of life is because we have different languages. I get a little bit esoteric when I talk about language, but language carries a certain vibration to it. For example, you have the word love in English, amor in Spanish, amour in French and amore in Italian. Each one of these ways of expressing the same emotion, carries with it a different vibration, a different facet of that same jewel, it sparkles in a different way.
In our cultures, we’ve all basically evolved through these different languages and through these different ways of seeing the same thing. When we get to the point where we’re so far away that all of the languages seem really disparate and really unobtainable, it creates this xenophobia because you don’t really understand what your brother is saying and that creates fear. When we try and incorporate and have us all learn the languages together, it gets confusing and it gets frustrating and you end up throwing up your hands and saying “well why can’t we all just learn English?” And I say that as an English speaker. I’m sure the Spanish people are like “why can’t everyone just speak Spanish?” But it’s the contrast between the languages that forces the evolution.
Like I said earlier, if we all spoke the same language it would be boring. It would be hellish to have everyone thinking and feeling and talking the same things. We’d all be robots.
My first, second language, came at age 12 and it wasn’t because I was going to become an opera singer. I didn’t have a reason to start learning French, it was just something you did in school, to give you a different perspective, to give your mind a different way or organising the same material and I think that having the capacity to organise material in various ways is important. It’s got nothing to do with politics or anything to do with anything that’s going on right now, I think being able to see the same topic from multiple points of view creates an open-mindedness that allows you to see another person’s perspective and ultimately develops compassion.
Is there a country Il Divo hasn’t performed in that you’re desperate to go to?
Well, we’ve not played Antarctica yet… I think India is high on the list. We’ve talked about trying to go there but we haven’t had the opportunity yet. We do know we have a brilliant fan base there who have been asking for us to visit. We haven’t played the western parts of China, we haven’t played in most of Russia yet. A lot of those more exotic places that you don’t hear much about are places that we’d like to get to.
After the tour, what’s next for the group?
We’ll be touring until November, then we’re looking at possibly developing a Christmas tour, which might bring us back to the UK again. Then we’re going to start working on the concept for the new album, which would lead us into another tour… basically more of the same! It’s a never-ending process, you always have to be creating new content especially in this digital age and giving yourself a reason to be relevant, so that’s what we’re striving for.
Catch Il Divo live at the following tour dates:
20 June 2019 – The Brighton Centre
21 June 2019 – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
22 June 2019 – Bournemouth International Centre
24 June 2019 – SEC Armadillo, Glasgow
25 June 2019 – City Hall, Newcastle Upon Tyne
27 June 2019 – M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
28 June 2019 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
29 June 2019 – Arena Birmingham
1 July 2019 – Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
2 July 2019 – Royal Albert Hall, London
3 July 2019 – Sheffield City Hall
Tickets for the tour are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk