In the run-up to our exciting return to the Royal Albert Hall with our first concert of the season, we shine the spotlight on one of the concert’s vocalists, Alison Jiear.
Tell us a bit about your experiences of performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
The first time I performed with the RPO was at The O2 Arena for Raymond Gubbay’s Christmas Spectacular. It was a phenomonal experience. I also recorded an album of Bacharach repertoire with the Orchestra (alongside other singers) with conductor Richard Balcombe. It was so amazing to sing those songs with such lush musical support. Heaven.
Have you performed much music from the James Bond films before; if so where and what?
I did a musical many years ago celebrating the work of lyricist Don Black called Black Goes with Everything. We did a James Bond medley, which had been orchestrated by John Barry. It blew the roof off the theatre. I also did a James Bond concert with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. It was an outdoor concert and the audience were dressed in black tie/evening dresses. A great night.
Tell us about a few highlights of your career, for example do you have a favourite venue or a favourite country to perform in?
One of my favourite artists is an American Christian singer called David Phelps who I’ve aspired to work with for many years. My dream became a reality in June 2013 when I was asked to be a guest artist and duet with him at the IndigO2. What a blessing.
Next best would definitely be performing at the Sydney Opera House to reprise the role I created in the West End in Jerry Springer: The Opera. I moved to London 25 years ago and my family have rarely had the opportunity to see me perform. To have my entire family present for my Sydney Opera House debut was very special.
I also have very happy memories of visiting New York on numerous occasions to present my one-woman show in cabaret venues there.
What is your favourite repertoire to perform?
I love so many different styles of music. As a musician, I love singing anything by Ella Fitzgerald; it just ticks those boxes musically.
My heart is happiest when performing repertoire of an ‘inspirational’ nature. Music that fills your spirit with joy, lyrics that move people to tears and gives them hope. I was raised in the church and singing carols every Christmas was such a tradition. Happiness is singing at The Royal Albert Hall every Christmas with the London Concert Orchestra. What a gift!
What tips would you give to any aspiring vocalists?
Take it seriously. You only have one voice. Look after it. Find a good teacher. Work hard. Then when you have a handle on what you’re doing, let it fall to the back of your mind and just open your heart. Don’t get bogged down with technique. It does nothing for me to watch someone perform who’s technically solid but is not connected emotionally. It’s all about connecting with your emotions and connecting with the audience.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be performing The Very Best of John Barry on Friday 4th October at the Royal Albert Hall, as well as at Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday 3rd October and Reading Hexagon on Saturday 5th October.