Q&A: Sébastien Izambard
Il Divo has found Las Vegas on its itinerary before, but the superstar classical quartet’s upcoming six-show run at the Venetian, This is Your Night, is unprecedented for both the singers and Sin City. Las Vegas Magazine’s Matt Kelemen caught up with Il Divo’s Sébastien Izambard as he was being driven to the third show of the group’s latest tour, which heads for South America after the final Venetian concert.
You just kicked off your tour with dates at Wilkes-Barre, Pa,. and Vienna, Va. How does it feel to be back on the road for the first time in nearly a year?
It feels great. I think what’s great as well is a lot people seem very happy to hear Il Divo classics, songs that we’ve had for 14 years.
Is it difficult to pick up where you left off after spending time away from performing? Did Il Divo do any recording or did you all just get a rest?
When we all got together a couple of months ago it felt like we never left each other, to be honest. It’s pretty amazing. We still have to pinch ourselves to realize it’s been 14 years.
You just fall back in line and are completely in sync with each other again?
Sure, we just have to make eye contact with each other. That’s the greatest thing. We have our own language, I guess, at this stage. We have to pinch ourselves to be reminded of how lucky we are.
That’s interesting that you say you have you own language. Are you able to do things you haven’t been able to do as a group even five years ago? Do you keep taking it to higher levels?
I think we’ve always been able to do whatever we wanted. For us it’s just about looking back at what we did. What can we do better? We don’t get offended by anything. We just want to have fun!
How is your current tour different than previous ones?
The show that we’re doing now is different than the one we’re doing in Vegas. It’s important to us that we do something very custom-made, where people are really going to have a lot of fun. We always make our shows in Las Vegas tailored to Vegas. Vegas is Vegas, and we have to make sure that is incorporated within our show. It has to be festive. We already have quite a lot of ideas on how we can present that. I wouldn’t want to reveal too much because we try to surprise people. We want to make sure we bring something that’s different.
So the shows in Vegas will be different than the shows on the rest of the tour?
Oh yeah. It’s still going to be a lot of the key songs in our shows. It’s how we’re going to present it to people in Vegas that will just be more … there will be a couple of surprises. (Laughs) Really cool surprises for the fans that come and see us.
You’ve played back-to-back dates in Las Vegas, but this is the first time you’ve played six consecutive dates here. What does this mean for Il Divo’s career? Is it a landmark?
That’s a really good question. We still have to pinch ourselves, Being an artist is never something that’s … you’re in it for life.
It seems surreal, it sounds like you’re saying.
Oh, yeah. All the time. … I find it pretty amazing though all the years.
I heard some of your solo music before you joined Il Divo. Was it a big surprise for your fans when you became part of what would become known as a crossover classical quartet?
Totally. Yeah, absolutely. I think people have embraced what we do, and for the people that liked what I used to do it’s an evolution. … It’s nice to see there’s been an evolution through the years in how people see our music.
I saw on Il Divo’s Twitter account that you have some new solo work coming out. When will we see the fruits of your collaborative efforts with Darren Hayes from Savage Garden and lyricist Don Black?
Pretty soon, actually. It’s finished. We’ve done everything musically, so it’s going to come out in a couple of months. Tons of things are going to be coming out, like information and snippets of music, in the next couple of weeks. That’s pretty exciting. It’s very necessary for all of us, you know? Some of us had already been doing solo stuff, and solo concerts. I think we all reached the point where it’s important that we all … we’re all individuals. I certainly needed to do something more individual to enjoy Il Divo. For me, writing songs, writing music, is definitely a priority in my life.
What sort of recording plans does Il Divo have? Are you going to reconvene next year and plan some recording, and how do you get started?
We’re all very involved, hands on. We discuss, all four of us, what we feel like we want to do. We find the idea, we find the songs. We’re about to put the whole thing together for the next record. We’re choosing arrangers, producers, strings, etc. So we are in the midst of putting all that together, and it’s super-exciting. I think we have a pretty amazing record coming out, and I think we’re going to start recording some of it in November, and definitely coming out with a recording beginning of next year.
So after the Il Divo cruise is when you’ll get back together to record.
This is the first cruise coming up, right? You haven't done a cruise before.
Never. I’m very much looking forward to it. I hope I don’t get seasick. It’s going to be super-cool. It’s the first time we get to spend so much time with our fans, but also it’s the first time for our fans to see us in a way they haven’t before. Usually when people come and see a concert they come for a couple of hours and go home. This way they get to see a lot of us on the boat. We have a lot of activities planned.