On their ‘Road to the Royal Albert Hall’ tour the super-talented, smartly suited Britain’s Got Talent winners will stop off at the Opera House on 23rd February 2019. The internationally acclaimed group have rocketed to fame since they wowed judges and the public with their unique rendition of ‘Stars’ from Les Misérables. Winning the competition with one of the biggest majorities ever, they subsequently joined Simon Cowell’s label Syco - becoming label-mates with the likes of One Direction, Little Mix, Susan Boyle and Il Divo. Three years and three albums later, Collabro found themselves supporting music legends Cliff Richard and Barry Manilow, before embarking on their own sold-out tour of Asia this year and releasing their fourth album, also named The Road to the Albert Hall. Success really is written in the stars for this super-talented quartet. From secret talents to climbing Kilimanjaro, here Michael, Matt, Jamie and Tom share some insights into their lives as the world’s most successful musical theatre band.
You had only been together a month when you appeared on BGT – how did you come to the decision to sing Stars?
Jamie: We originally rehearsed ‘Bring Him Home’ to sing for the first audition (a week before we were on the show!) but then with three days to go we decided to try ‘Stars’ which turned out to be our best decision. We hit a chord in the song and just thought... this is it!
So many young lads want to be part of the next One Direction. Was being in a regular pop boy band ever an ambition, or did all of you always want to do musical theatre?
There was never really any doubt regarding the type of band we wanted to be, which was something that Simon Cowell loved about us. We knew from the start we wanted to do musical theatre as that is our passion.
You all have a background in youth choirs/musical theatre. What age did you all start singing and were you all professionally trained?
Michael: I have always sung around the house and loved performing mini shows with my sister for my parents but it wasn’t until university when I joined the musical society that I thought I’d like performing to be my job. I trained at London School Of Musical Theatre for one year before Collabro.
Matt: I only really started singing when I was 14/15. I joined a Youth Theatre called StagedRight and completely fell in love with Musical Theatre. I also did the pubs and clubs circuit as a swing singer, which I also loved. I never had any training, I was just thrown in at the deep end!
Jamie: I always sang in school and used to sing with my Mum whilst she played guitar. Then I learned guitar and piano and used to stay late after school and sing from musical songbook collections. When I was 19 I won a competition singing classically and was taken on by a principal of the English National Opera.
Tom: I started out in my local church choir when I was seven. My parents thought it would be a good way to develop my voice. At eight I also started amateur dramatics with my local theatre. From there I took part in musicals, plays and pantomimes every year.
You’ve appeared at Blackpool Opera House and Lytham Proms, and now have Fylde coast management Cuffe & Taylor. Do you travel here often now and what are your favourite Fylde coast haunts?
Matt: We have done a lot of shows up there, we love it. One of our favourite places is the studio where we recorded our new album ‘Road to the Royal Albert Hall’ which was in Preston. We also did our first ever performance in front of an audience in the Pleasure Beach!
If each of you were to star in a West End show what would be your dream roles?
Matt: Marius (Les Misérables) Michael: Link (Hairspray) Jamie: Javert (Les Misérables) Tom: Jack (Into The Woods)
If a musical was made about your rise to fame, who would you want to play each of you?
Michael: I’d like Zac Efron to play me as I always loved High School Musical and he’s also been in Hairspray which is a musical I love.
Matt: I’d like Ryan Reynolds to play me, because he’s hilarious... and I’m pretty damn funny too. Well... funny lookin’.
Jamie: I would want Benedict Cumberbatch to play me, I've always loved him!
Tom: I’d like to play myself. I method act the part every day. Now that’s dedication.
Lighthouse is a beautiful song for a worthy cause. Do you have plans to co-write any more songs?
We would love to co-write more songs, but it’s finding the time! We are always on the move so it’s hard to create a song together when we are constantly travelling. But we would love to!
What was it like performing with the legendary Barry Manilow and Cliff Richard? Do you have any backstage stories?
Tom: It was incredible being on stage alongside two music legends. Barry was amazing on stage and was lovely to us. Sir Cliff Richard was being without doubt one of the nicest people in the industry. One of our best memories from that tour was, the night before opening night in Cork, we had our debut performance in Dublin. Cliff wasn’t feeling too great but he still travelled from Cork to Dublin just to see us perform... that says it all!
Your followers are known as the “Collaborators”. Do you have any super loyal fans who come to every show and do you want to give them a mention?
Jamie: We do have a lot of fans who travel all over the world to see us and that is incredible! But all of our fans need a mention, each and every one of them... but that would take forever!! So a big thank you to everyone who constantly shows us their love and support. It means more than you will ever know.
What is your most memorable moment so far?
Michael: Obviously winning BGT was pretty memorable for us, but there have also been so many amazing memories after that too. A great memory for us (being such big fans of Les Misérables) was when we performed in the curtain call of the West End show. It was amazing! The cast took their bow, they then left the stage and we came forward to sing two songs from the show, and what a reaction we received!
Where do you buy your suits and how many do each of you own?
Jamie: We have had affiliations with some amazing companies. Noose & Monkey, Burton Menswear etc. We adore their suits. I think over the years we’ve bought quite a lot of suits and we probably own about 50 each!!
What’s your favourite musical and who is your biggest influence?
Jamie: My favourite musical is probably Waitress at the moment, but overall I would say it will always be Les Misérables. My biggest influence is Pavarotti - I always admired how he could make singing look so effortless.
Matt: My favourite musical at the moment is 42nd Street, it’s mesmerising!!! Also the songs are amazing. My biggest influence is Frank Sinatra. He could turn any song into pure magic.
Michael: Favourite musical is currently Waitress. My biggest influence at the moment is probably Ben Platt as he inspires me to be a better vocalist
Tom: My favourite musical is Into the Woods and therefore my biggest influence is Stephen Sondheim. He writes the kind of songs that make you grow as a singer and performer. There are always multiple levels of depth to his song that you might only discover the third, fourth or fifth time studying the music.
What other kind of music do you like?
We all have different tastes in music that we listen to: Tom - Heavy Metal. Michael - Pop. Jamie - Opera and Matt - Swing.
What’s been your funniest moment on tour?
Matt: Oh where do we start! No show is ever the same for us, there’s always something that will happen. For example, we were touring in Canada. The music started for ‘That’s Life’ and there are some big piano chords before we start to sing. On the last big chord, Jamie did a spin, and as he did this, his ring flew off his finger and straight in to the audience, missing a lady by inches. To be fair... it was hilarious. I’m not sure if she actually kept the ring!
Any embarrassing moments?
Michael: We were doing a show in Liverpool, and we were performing our ‘Jersey Boys Medley’. We dance in this medley which is what makes this story so funny. In one of the songs, Matt knocked his mic stand over, and as it hit the floor, the microphone flew out of the stand and across the stage... awkward.
If you could perform anywhere in the world where would it be?
Tom: We have been lucky enough to perform in some amazing places. Japan, Hong Kong, America, Canada to name a few, as well as cruise ships all over the world. One country we’ve always said we want to visit is Australia, so watch this space!
Are you still in touch with Simon Cowell?
Matt: Not so much now, but if we see him at an event we will always have a chat!
Tell us an interesting fact no one knows about each of you.
Matt: I do impressions
Michael: I can lick my nose with my tongue
Jamie: I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!
Tom: My hair has been many colours when I was younger. Including: red, purple, blue, green, blonde, black, and, of course, brown!
Who would you most like to perform with?
Matt: Beyoncé, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand... the list goes on!!
What are your must-have items in your dressing room and what will be on the list for Blackpool?
Michael: We keep our rider pretty simple! As long as we have water, a kettle, honey and lemon... then we are very happy!