Soloist Paul Ettore Tabone has just revealed a new album – This Is Me! We chat to him about the experience.
Where did you get the impulse to create the album?
Making an album has always been a dream of mine and for the last 10 years I have been performing tirelessly in musicals and opera all around the world which never left me the correct amount of time and effort that I needed to dedicate to it. This period of enforced pause gave me the perfect opportunity to give this wonderful album the heart and soul it deserved.
Do you have a favourite number on the album?
Each song of this album mean something special to me. I have songs that represent who I am, where I've come from, and where I have been. I suppose the tracks that I am most proud of is "I am Australian". It's about inclusion and I think it is pivotal that we recognise the traditional owners of the Australian nation as well as the immigrants that have made a nation great. Hence why I have translated part of this song into aboriginal to pay respect to the Wirandjuri people. It is something that I am very proud of. The other song that really means a lot to me is the song heaven by Bryan Adams which I have had translated into Italian. This is my mum and dad's wedding song. So I'm hoping to score me some brownie points here!
How has the pandemic changed the way you've perceived your profession?
It's made me realise only how much I love it and makes me feel even more grateful that I have been able to sing in such wonderful shows for the last five years. However I have been so busy with this album in the last year I am glad that I had the time for myself to dedicate 100% of myself to this huge project. So to answer your question I perceive my profession in exactly the same way as I did before. We all need music and live performance to uplift us, entertain and engage us and this is even more relevant now than what it was before. I love my job and I can't wait to be on a stage somewhere once again.
What are you dying to see / listen to when global performances can resume?
My list is huge!! Working in theatre makes the schedule difficult to see other productions. As soon as the theatres reopen I look forward to catching up on Hamilton, Frozen, Come From Away, and supporting my friends who are in Mary Poppins, The Phantom of the Opera, Dreamgirls and Les Misérables!
The album is called "This is Me" – were there things that surprised you about yourself while you were recording it?
The one thing that surprise me the most is that how successful being honest about your feelings and emotions are while you record. I choose songs that meant something to me personally and this really helped my journey in the recording studio to portrait colour and emote. Even at times my producer said to me "Paul, this is a very ambitious choice let's hope we can work it", and at the end of every session he was always pleasantly surprised just because of how I told the story and the emotion that drove the voice. That's why this album is so special to me everything means something and I hope it will for you as well
How did you go about choosing the numbers?
Every song means something to me. Whether it is a song that inspired me such as the song "I'll Walk With God". Mario Lanza was a huge inspiration for me. Not only is this song one of my grandmother's favourites but it was a song that I used to go to her house and listen to on her record player. The older I got the more I realise that Mario Lanza wanted to do the same thing that I did and that was bring the operatic or classical sound to the masses through popular music.
The more I matured the more I realise that even modern day tenors such as Luciano Pavarotti We are wanting to do the same thing as he demonstrated in his Pavarotti and friends concert. As a homage to Luciano Pavarotti and his foundation that helped me so much in Italy I sing the aria from Tosca. And I hope that this album also does my bit in trying to support an art form such as opera by popularising the classical and operating voice in a way that is accessible to a larger demographic and hopefully many generations to come.
What should audiences expect?
There is absolutely something for everybody. From rock ‘n' roll to a Neapolitan ballad. What is more important for me is that I can share my journey of who I am, where I have come from, and where I have been. And start to tell the story of who is the tenor from Oz.