Classical Singer Carly Paoli on her new album and singing for Prince Charles

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Carly Paoli and Andrea Bocelli at Florence
Carly Paoli is touring with Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro following the release of her debut album. She told us about the experience before her performances in Sheffield and Harrogate, and a huge show at London’s Cadogan Hall in February

Your debut album Singing My Dreams reached number two in the classical album charts.
That was absolutely unbelievable. David Mellor gave the album a rave review in the Mail on Sunday, and as if that wasn’t enough he then made a video which was posted on the Classic FM website which was more than I could have ever imagined. I’m very proud to have received such lovely words from him as he’s such a highly respected critic in the classical world.

You’re now performing your new songs for audiences across the country. 
This album means so much to me, especially because I have some original songs on there. It’s a very special project which I have invested in emotionally and it’s an honour to share it with a British audience. I’ve performed a lot in Italy, but not as much here in the UK.

Do you have a favourite track?
Memory of You because it’s the first song I tried writing lyrics for. I wrote it three years ago after my grandmother passed away. It was a difficult time for me, however, her loss gave me a new way to express myself. The music for the track is James Horner’s theme for the film Legends Of The Fall. James is my all-time favourite film composer – he’s worked on Titanic, Avatar, and so many other incredible film scores. The first time I performed Memory of You was for the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle. In a horrible coincidence, the very next day James Horner died in a plane crash. My love for the song grew and the meaning and story behind it meant more than ever.
To include the song on my album, I had to contact the Horner estate and his family, and I began a two-year struggle, to get their approval. At the end of those two years my lawyer told me to forget it, but I was determined so I wrote one last letter to James’ family. Two days later I received a reply approving my lyrics. It felt like a small miracle.

You’ve also performed with Andrea Bocelli.
He became a friend when we first performed together two years ago at the Ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla. The concert was put on by UNESCO at this historic site where the Three Tenors – Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras – performed together for the first time. The atmosphere was unreal. Andrea then invited me to perform with him at his Celebrity Fight Night in Florence, and then to join him on stage at the O2 Arena on his UK tour. He has such a strong voice and it’s always a joy to sing with him.  

Have you sung on a Yorkshire stage before? 
I was born and brought up in Mansfield and a lot of my family live in Derbyshire, so I'm not too far from South Yorkshire. I haven’t performed there yet surprisingly, but I’m really looking forward to it – particularly Sheffield, because the children’s choir from Direction Theatre Arts are joining us at that show and I was a member when I was 13. I’ve also heard that Harrogate is a really beautiful town.

It’s lovely to hear that you’re excited to visit. 
The thing I love about Yorkshire is something that I also find in Puglia, the region in Italy that my mother’s family is from. It’s the friendliness and the warmth that runs through everybody I meet in those areas, and I believe that comes from the fact that the scenery is pretty spectacular. Whether it’s the Botanical Gardens in Sheffield, the Royal Pump Room in Harrogate or the city of Matera in Puglia, the way the people from these areas are shaped by their stunning surroundings is amazing. 

Carly Paoli is currently on tour with Collabro with dates in Sheffield and Harrogate.

1 December – Sheffield City Hall
2 December – Harrogate Convention Centre 
15 February – Cadogan Hall, London 

www.carlypaoli.com 

Published in: November 2017

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