What inspired you to invite youth choirs to perform on your new tour?
JAMIE: We all started our journey into the world of performing arts as members of youth choirs and youth theatres near our homes. If we’d have had the chance to perform alongside an established artist we’d have loved to. We just dearly wanted to give young people that opportunity, because we are able to.
How did you select the chosen youth choirs – what was the process like?
MATT: We had well over 300 choirs apply for slots on the 52 dates of the tour which was amazing. We sat with our Promoter and Management and watched all the videos everyone sent in - and made our selection. It was difficult as the standard was so high.
TOM: We have such a wide range of choirs performing – everything from the tiny Primary school choir on the Isle of Wight right up to the 120 strong choir of West End child performers at the Royal Albert Hall. We also invited back some of the choirs we particularly loved from last year’s tour.
Will the youth choirs have the chance to sing with you onstage during your set?
MICHAEL: Yes, the children accompany us on two numbers during the show. It’s great to have that wall of sound behind us. I also get chance to chat with them onstage too, which can sometimes lead to some impromptu, funny or heart-wrenching moments.
What are you most looking forward to achieving through the #CollabroChoirs initiative?
MATT: We love to see how elated the children are when they’re onstage with us. I think it’s beneficial for them to see that there is the opportunity to succeed, wherever you live in the UK. You don’t necessarily need to be based in London. Collabro came together from all corners of the UK.
Do you plan to continue working with youth choirs and young performers in the future?
TOM: Yes, we hope to. It creates such a buzz and the fans always love to see the children onstage with us. It’s a real talking point.
What advice would you give to young performers working hard to establish themselves?
JAMIE: Be nice, work hard, persevere, network and never stop learning and trying to improve. We have had 4 Top Ten albums, but we still take an occasional singing lesson.
What do you enjoy most about touring the UK?
MICHAEL: For us, it’s about the fans, our ‘Collaborators’. They wait so patiently for our annual tour and travel to so many dates. Also, meeting audience members who are brand new to us. Planning the tour takes such a long time, and we always have the audience in the forefront of all our choices. When they love what we’ve created, it’s incredibly special.