Powerhouse vocal group Il Divo are back with their brand new album ‘Timeless’. Since being discovered by Simon Cowell 15 years ago they have gone on to sell over 30 million albums across the world and were the first ever classical crossover artists to have an LP debut at number 1 on Billboards Top 200 Chart.
Now, to celebrate their 15th Anniversary, Il Divo (original members Spain’s Carlos Marin, Switzerland’s Urs Buhler, France’s Sebastien Izambard and America’s David Miller) have released their their seventh album. The new record marks their first release for Decca Gold, an imprint of Universal’s Verve Label Group,and first release without the backing of Cowell.
Here we speak exclusively to Il Divo to discuss their new release, working with Decca, parting ways with Simon Cowell, and more:
So, how does it feel to be releasing your first album with Decca?
It’s a great experience. Not only because we have changed record companies, it’s also because we are the producers of the record, we are the producers of the videos, we are the producers of everything. So that’s a new step in Il Divo life. With Simon Cowell, it was always a collaboration. He obviously had his ideas of what songs he wanted and what his favourite tracks would be and offered them to us and said ‘what can you guys do with it?’ There was a lot of experimentation in the beginning, figuring out what our sound was and what we were going to create was an unknown. But after each subsequent album, we really kind of grew that sound and the four people who really understand that process most intimately is the four of us. So when we parted ways with the record company we felt like we still had a lot of music left in us to give to the world. So we just took the bull by the horns and just started the process of which songs do we want to record, which songs do we think we would be able to create something special with. It’s been a very empowering process.
What is the best thing you learned from working with Simon Cowell?
Simon used to say that he only trusts himself. I mean, he took it so far as once saying that ‘the moment I trust somebody else’s judgement about anything I’m doing, I’m dead.’ I wouldn’t go that far but he’s obviously always been very, very decisive. He’s got an idea and he doesn’t let himself be influenced by the opinions around him. If he thinks it’s the right thing to do and he goes for it, he goes all the way. To me, personally, that’s the most inspiring thing about Simon Cowell.
What can fans expect from your new record ‘Timeless’?
It’s a really amazing album – we took all the power in our hand to create it from A to Z. The idea was to have songs from the ‘30s until now. I think what the fans can expect is actually for the younger audience to get to be familiar with songs they might not know from older times. So far the feedback that we get is incredible. Even when we listen to the album, it’s so rich in terms of how we’ve chosen the songs. It brings a smile to people because it brings memories to them, a moment in their lives and that’s what we love about this album.
What do you hope listeners take from the new songs?
On this album, we’ve looked for the biggest, best known, most beautiful songs from each decade. And according to audience reactions so far, we think we’ve made good choices!
Are you planning on touring your new music?
Yes we have just completed a UK Tour. We picked castles and stately homes because we always try to surprise the people.
— Il Divo (@ildivoofficial) August 10, 2018
You have been together for 15 years, what’s your secret to longevity?
Good sense of humour, good sense of bad humour! Creating space for each other. We have a functional way of making decisions. I think we also know each other boundaries and what’s important to us.
What advice would you give to new classical acts trying to break through?
We would say to them if they really believe in themselves they can make it. If you bring good music to people, they will understand it.
Looking back over the last 15 years, what would you say is your number 1 highlight?
That’s a very difficult question! Probably playing at Madison Square Garden with Barbara Streisand. She’s iconic, the venue was iconic, everyone in the audience was iconic. That was a moment that came real close to feeling like “Wow, we’ve made it. Here we are”. Another highlight is when we went to No.1 in The States. No.2 was 50 Cents and No.3 was Mariah Carey! We were No.1 in the classical charts, we were number one everywhere! So when we went back to New York, just seeing in the Virgin Megastore, seeing a big billboard of Il Divo, that was impressive.
And what would you say the biggest challenge you have faced over the years?
Each other! Honestly, the biggest challenge has been how dramatically the industry has changed. The hardest thing is the lack of appreciation for art and thinking everything should be free.
Along with the new album, what else can we expect from you over the course of the year?
We’re touring worldwide on this. We started off in Mexico in April. We’ve done a few shows in Europe. We are going to go to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South-East Asia later on in the year!
Make sure you follow Il Divo on Twitter @ildivoofficial to keep up to date with all their latest music and tour news!
Did you enjoy our exclusive interview with Il Divo? Let us know your thoughts over on Twitter @CelebMix.