Interview : Jonathan Antoine, Amazing singer

Interview : Jonathan Antoine, Amazing singer

Photo credit : Paul Marc Mitchell

Described as the ‘Teenage Pavarotti’ as he rose to stardom through Britain’s Got Talent, Jonathan Antoine has not rested on his laurels after his first solo album Tenore went straight to No1 in the Classical charts and stayed there for three weeks. After a string of live performances around the UK, Jonathan returns with his second solo album Believe, released on 19th August. The album is a mix of classical arias, musical theatre songs and contemporary classics.

How would you describe yourself in five words?

Aut viam inveniam aut facial. A quote attributed to Hannibal meaning ‘I will either find a way or I will make one.’

You’re about to release your new album ‘Believe’. How are you feeling ahead of the release?

In a sense when you create an album, and I think this is similar for all forms of art, you become so engrossed in that creation that the idea that it might be released to the public is almost a strange fantasy. Needless to say I’m excited for people to hear and enjoy the album, after the countless hours spent by so many individuals crafting and perfecting it!

How does the album compare to your solo debut Tenore? Did you approach the recording/development of the album in the same way?

For the most part when creating new art I like to strip away any prior influence, aesthetic and method imposed in any of my prior albums. With the inception of Tenore we had overseas orchestras and I performed over the tracks in a church, using 5 neumann microphones to accurately capture the natural reverberations therein.

In the case of Believe we approached it more like an entire flowing performance from start to finish. I was in the booth, recording scratch vocal takes whilst the orchestra recorded in the room with me! The performances on this album are so complete and overarching, and the album itself is more thematic, following itself more closely than any of the prior albums.

It must have been tough deciding what songs made the final cut? Is there a song that means more to you than the others?

Every single song that is burned into this disc means something to me, truly and deeply. To put any one above the rest would discredit the others. I’ve been singing Bring Him Home since I was 16, Ave Maria since I was 14, I learned about Jeff Buckley and his version of Hallelujah through my GCSE music class. Every song has its own story, a snapshot of my life incarnate within it.

What’s your personal highlight from the recording process for the album?

I suppose the cliché answer would be finishing it! In all honesty though stepping in to record the vocals alongside the orchestra for the first time, trying something completely new to me was a rush for sure.

“Every single day when I peer out into the world and see people living their lives, making friends and enjoying themselves, I am inspired. Life is my inspiration, and so are you!”

Have you always believed in yourself? Do you have any words of advice for someone reading this who has big dreams, but doesn’t have the self-belief to chase them?

The only things that can truly hold you back in this life are your body and your mind. If you lack the confidence in your ability, then perhaps it is not the mind that needs strengthening but the body. Practice, craft something that you are proud of, truly attempt to understand yourself and the art that you create. When the body is in order, the mind will follow, and vice versa.

What inspires you?

What doesn’t inspire me? When I open my eyes every morning (or indeed late afternoon) I am inspired by the fact that light still pours in from the window and the roof over my head still stands. Every single day when I peer out into the world and see people living their lives, making friends and enjoying themselves, I am inspired. Life is my inspiration, and so are you!

When you look outside yourself and start to truly understand the struggles that people go through every day with a smile on their face, how can you not be inspired by them alone.

You’ve talked about battling with depression when you were younger. Did you feel you had the support around you to help you deal with this? Is the professional support available up to scratch?

I am here because of several strokes of luck and a positive support network. Trying to find genuine help in this country, from someone who you understand and who understands you, is down to pure random chance. I was rattled around the young mental healthcare circuit for a few years before the most remarkable therapist stepped out from the woodwork, and every once in a while I still go to see him.

Mental health care in this country is completely misunderstood and mismanaged. I have seen the negative results of a failing system full of people who do not care and they’re not pretty.

Video : Jonathan Antoine performs Hallelujah

Video : Jonathan Antoine performs Dolce Vento

Growing up, were you encouraged by your family to follow your dreams? What about at school?

My family were always highly encouraging of whatever it was that I wanted to do. I always had an eye for music but at school I had an eye for a lot of things, and my family wanted me to keep an open mind, because the music industry is of course hard to get into. It really wasn’t until highschool that I was encouraged to focus almost solely on music, really.

Did you have any role models growing up? How important do you think role models are?

I did, but I believe in many ways the concept is archaic. Nowadays with the intelligence of younger people climbing in accordance with their access to greater technology to gain more varied information I believe that younger people are finding less and less of a dependency on role models, taking small chunks from various different personalities as opposed to focusing on a handful of popstars.

Photo credit : Paul Marc Mitchell

“Trying to find genuine help in this country, from someone who you understand and who understands you, is down to pure random chance. I was rattled around the young mental healthcare circuit for a few years before the most remarkable therapist stepped out from the woodwork, and every once in a while I still go to see him.”

Does the music industry embrace talent that doesn’t fit the stereotypical glossy mainstream pop star stereotype?

No. The music industry is stagnating, and I believe even the general populous is seeing that now. There is a time limit on the way things are run within the industry at present, and I firmly believe it is nearing its end.

Is the record industry what you expected?

I never expected anything from the music and recording industry, so I suppose you could say yes haha! In all seriousness it’s not been entirely easy but I have nothing to truly complain about. I’ve been able to make albums and sing really good music, and that’s what matters.

What’s your proudest moment to date?

I’m not often proud of myself, more often shocked that people enjoy or care! Every time I perform is my proudest moment, to put one performance above the rest would discredit the others.

When are you at your happiest?

When my girlfriend visits from Canada, and I get to go and perform. She’s very calming for me, and having her around whilst I’m performing makes me try just that little extra bit harder to impress her!

After two successful albums, do you have any plans to record with your former singing partner Charlotte Jaconelli in the future?

The strange thing about the partnership is that so many people assumed we had been best friends forever prior to the show. The show brought us together for sure but it was still a singing partnership, a business partnership. If I’m honest it’s been at least three years since I’ve seen Charlotte.

‘Believe’ by Jonathan Antoine is released on 19th August 2016 | Cavendish Records

KEEP CONNECTED WITH JONATHAN :

About The Author

Thomas Anderson

Founder and MD of Inclusive Networks. Thomas was Chair of the award winning LGBT network for The Co-operative Group, ‘Respect’ (2011-14). Thomas named the network and designed and managed all of the branding, communications and engagement until he stepped down from the role of Chair in March 2014. He also created the branding, name, was Editor of the quarterly magazine and developed the launch of the UK’s first Inter-Retail LGBT network ‘CheckOUT’. He contributed to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 5 Year review. In recognition of his work in the diversity field he was shortlisted for ‘Diversity Champion of the Year’ at the 2013 European Diversity Awards, shortlisted for ‘Role Model of the Year’ at the 2012 Lesbian & Gay Foundation Homo Heroes Awards and shortlisted for the ‘Positive Action’ award at the 2013 Asian Fire Service Association Fair & Diverse Awards. He also won the 2012 ‘Pride of The Co-operative’ award. He was a judge for Scotland's biggest diversity awards, The Icon Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newsletter

Sign up to our monthly newsletter

Sign up to our monthly newsletter

Become a Friend of Inclusive Networks and join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Thank you. You're now a Friend of Inclusive Networks

Recent Tweets

Our Pride Playlist

Share This