Collabro are the world’s most successful Musical Theatre group.
In 2014 they met for their first rehearsal above a pub in London and just a month later went on to rouse the whole of Hammersmith Apollo into a standing ovation during their first ever public performance of ‘Stars’ for the Britain’s Got Talent judges. Fast forward 5 years and The Royal Albert Hall sees the culmination of half a decade of touring with a very special concert on Saturday 20th April 2019. Preceeding the Royal Albert Hall, Collabro will embark on their biggest ever UK tour, visiting The BAth Forum on April 8th. HEre, Thomas, Michael, James and Matt talk about the tour and how life has changed four years on from BGT.
Exciting times, you’ve announced a new tour…
Michael Auger: “52 dates all around the UK, ending at the Royal Albert Hall before we head off to Ireland for another few dates. It’s our biggest tour yet. What we wanted to do with this tour is go further to the nooks and crannies of the country, as Tom would say, and make sure we got to as many home towns as possible rather than just doing the major cities. To finish at the Royal Albert Hall is absolutely incredible. It’s one of our favourite venues and hence why the album and tour are called Road To The Albert Hall.”
It means a lot to the fans when you go to more intimate venues. Is there anywhere you’ll visit for the fi rst time you’re looking forward to particularly?
Matt Pagan: “There’s quite a few isn’t there that we haven’t done before. Smaller venues really work for us. What we do – musical theatre – is tell a story through song. The fact that we can see the whole audience, and see their faces and reactions is really special. It’s amazing to do the big venues but just as special to do the smaller.”
You get such the best atmosphere in smaller venues.
Jamie Lambert: “We did our album launch last night and it was a 340 seater in London. The atmosphere was ridiculous. We have some similar sizes on this tour. We also do Birmingham Symphony Hall which is 2,000 and it’s incredible. That’s got a completely different feel to it but equally as good. It’s nice to be able to experience both on this tour.”
What made you decide to do the tour this way?
Tom Redgrave: “We listened to our fans. We listened to feedback from our previous tours and lots of people said: ‘I love you guys but I couldn’t travel far enough to be able to see you’ or ‘You didn’t come quite close enough to me’. With this whole tour we wanted it to be a journey around. We wanted to go further afi eld so we could get to all our fans and get to meet new people that we hadn’t seen before.”
What are your memories of the Royal Albert Hall?
Matt: “I saw Frankie Valli here and it was absolutely incredible.”
Michael: “We were all just here for the Classic Brit Awards. We saw Katherine Jenkins…”
Jamie: “Andrea Bocelli, Tokio Myers, Bryn Terfel, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who was incredible.”
Michael: “At the end they had all these rose petals falling from the ceiling. We looked at Peter and he said: ‘Do not expect that on tour’. We have done this venue a couple of times but it’ll be great to think we’ll be doing it fi ve years after airing on TV.”
Can you believe it’s nearly 5 years since debuting on Britain’s Got Talent soon?
Jamie: “That is crazy.”
Tom: “It seems like no time at all.”
Jamie: “And sometimes it does.”
Tom: “That day seems like a lifetime ago.”
Jamie: “I don’t feel like we’ve been in the band that long then I think back when we were sat in that room for nine hours and it feels like a total different life.”
Tom: “We were totally different people.”
Jamie: “Different people, different ways of thinking. This industry teaches you a lot very quickly. It’s amazing to look back on the things that we’ve done. We’ve been to Japan six times. That is crazy. We did a big Asian tour this year. We went to the Philippines. To think of all these things we’ve done and that we’ll be celebrating them by doing a date at the Royal Albert Hall is fantastic.”
Is there anything else you’ll do to mark the occasion? A tattoo?
Matt: “That’s never happening again. I was the only one who did it.”
Michael: “We said if Stars got to No 1 we would get a tattoo of stars.
Jamie: “It was never stars, just a tattoo.”
Michael: “It was. You changed the rules. Matt got quotes.”
Matt: “It’s on my bicep, all the way up my arm. No-one else did it.”
Michael: “He got a quote, four stars and the date of our No 1. Tom said he was going to and didn’t. Jamie got a quote on his arm of something else. I got a fake tattoo of a star on wrist.”
Matt: “He convinced us all it was real for days.”
Michael: “When it was gone I said I’d put makeup on it to cover it.”
Tom: “Then he said it was on the other wrist.”
Did you actually have any intention of getting a tattoo for real?
Michael: “I actually thought I would.”
Jamie: “You didn’t. You had no intention of ever doing it, secretly. Look at his face.”
Michael: “I’m not sure if a tattoo would suit me.”
As it’s been nearly five years since BGT have you thought about doing other reality shows? Would you consider say Strictly?
Jamie: “Maybe in the future at some point but we haven’t had time. Look at this tour next year and it’s nearly three months, a huge block of time. We also have other stuff lined up for next year and this album. The Stages cruise in October is going to be really fun. That’s a musical theatre cruise. Michael Ball is on that with us, Beverley Knight, Lee Mead, John Owen-Jones.”
Tom: “It’s going to be good to see John Owen- Jones again. Last time we saw him we were doing karaoke in Tokyo with him at 4am. We have been on a cruise before – we use them to get between places on tour. We’ll jump on a cruise, do a gig then get off and do a gig on the other side.”
What is the hardest part about touring for you?
Matt: “Living out of a suitcase.”
Jamie: “Being away from home is tough.”
Tom: “The stamina. Keeping your voice throughout the whole tour, which is why we do take such good care of our voices. Beforehand as well we’re just about teetotal. We eat very well. We make sure we’re getting enough liquids and all that kinda stuff. Stamina is the one especially now we’re doing 20 more dates that we have before on a tour. We’ve really got to look after ourselves.”
Doesn’t it get boring having to be good?
Jamie: “No, because the thrill you get from the audience every night is amazing.”
Michael: “Every audience is different so it’s a different show, even though we’re singing the same songs.”
Jamie: “There’s something so exciting about walking into a venue, even if you’ve been there before, and thinking: ‘Everyone’s coming here tonight to see us’. That is really cool.”
Do you still get excited when you see your name on the stage door?
Jamie: “Oh yeah.”
Michael: “Always have to take a picture. Or the sign on the dressing room – it might just be a bit of A4 paper with the word Collabro on it – we’re like: ‘Who’s going to keep this one?’.”
The day that stops being exciting is perhaps the day you start thinking it’s time to do something else?
Jamie: “I think if you stay grounded it’s hard for that to stop being exciting. The fact that we’ve created something and it’s been a success is wonderful. But even now, four and a bit years on, people still want to come and see us – and they’re there for us and nobody else – I can’t imagine how that would never be exciting.”
Michael: “Even the fans today, people have driven five or more hours to come here. It’s amazing.”
Will there be costumes again this time?
Jamie: “I want some sparkles this time.”
A whole sequin suit?
Jamie: “Everything. I want us completely decked in sequins.”
What do you want people to take from the new album?
Matt: “Our love of musical theatre. The fi rst two albums we did our voices we sang a line and would sing it again so it kinda doubles up your voice. With Home and this album we’ve given it so much more of a live feel. What you hear on the album is what you hear when you come see us live. I think that’s really important especially in the genre that we do.”
Which new songs are you excited about performing on tour?
Jamie: “Never Enough.”
Tom: “We got a huge reaction last night to Never Enough. It’s so powerful.”
Matt: “The one I didn’t expect to like so much was Why God Why? from Miss Saigon. There’s a bit in the middle which is really rocky. It sounded amazing.”
Tom: “Performing them live is very different to singing and recording them. We’re finding out new bits about the songs after performing them, new bits we love and go: ‘I never appreciated that until I heard it in this context live’.”
Collabro will perform at The Forum, Bath on Monday 8th April 2019, 7.30pm.