Alfie Boe has steadily built a career in the industry, starting in musical theater and working his way to recording artist with a DVD series airing on PBS. Add to that, he was honored with an invitation to perform at Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee this past summer and he met and recorded a duet with his childhood idol, Robert Plant. It seems as if everything Alfie touches turns to musical gold…or platinum rather. Recently he released a collection of classic songs on an album he entitled, Alfie. While he was on tour in the U.S. I was fortunate enough to grab a few minutes of his time to chat about his very illustrious and productive career to date, as well as his philosophy for the road ahead and his plans for the new year.
Marian: You’ve had a really busy and productive year ranging from the recording and release of your new album to the DVD special on PBS to the Queen’s Jubilee. What were some of the highlights of the year and how it has impacted you personally and as an artist.
Alfie: “Well, it’s been a wonderful year, yeah and you pretty much mentioned all the highlights to be honest. You mentioned the Queen’s Jubilee and getting my album released over here in the States and doing my first U.S. tour, so yeah, it’s been an incredible year so far. And how it impacts me personally is, I’m very grateful for this happening to me. I just try to keep focused and keep my head centered on my shoulders and just go for it. It’s a job, it’s another job really.”
Marian: Let’s talk about your album, Alfie. What made you want to bring these classics to life and what does this body of songs mean to you?
Alfie: “I love to sing great songs and I was given the opportunity to put all these songs on the album off the back of doing the Le Mes 25th Anniversary. So I mixed it up a little bit, I put some musical theater on there and I put some classic tunes as well and hopefully it will pay off and people will like it. They are good songs and they’ve stood the test of time and they’re classic things to me and they’re classic things to a lot of other people too. It means a lot whenever I make an album, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. You’ve got to make an album that you really want to release.”
Marian: Tell me about your experience meeting and working with Robert Plant on the duet on Alfie?
Alfie: “That was incredible! Robert’s a great guy and a great friend. We keep in touch, we talk about music together and we get together when we’re in the same country. Robert was probably the best duet I’ve ever done. I shouldn’t really say that because I’ve done songs with amazing people but because of the fact that I was such a big Led Zeppelin fan back in the day and still am, that to meet him and sing with him was just a dream come true really.”
Marian: During your U.S. tour was any audience graced with a live performance of this duet featuring both you and/or Joe Jonas and Robert Plant?
Alfie: “Unfortunately Joe was busy on the day of the concert so he couldn’t make it along to duet with me. And Robert’s over in the UK at the moment promoting the new Led Zeppelin movie that they’ve just released and he won’t be able to join me. But I do sing the duet that I performed with Robert, I do sing, ‘Songs of the Siren’. When I was in Portland I met Larry Beckett which is the guy who wrote the words to ‘Song of the Siren’ and he came to the show. He co-wrote the song with Tim Buckley. It was amazing! I got to meet him and have a long chat with him and asked him if I did his song justice really.”
Marian: Tell me more about what inspired the making of your dvd series and how you connected the dots with PBS on it?
Alfie: “My PBS relationship started when I was in Le Miserables 25th Anniversary and off the back of that I got the record deal and off the back of getting the record deal I released ‘Bringing Home’, my first album with Decca. And then got the opportunity to go on a national tour of the UK and PBS and Universal took that on tour and PBS spoke and decided to broadcast it so I was very fortunate.”
“There’s no point in having a fantastic album or a good concert out there, if nobody gets to see or hear it. And T.V. and radio and having the support of PBS has been so valuable and I’m so grateful to PBS for everything they’ve done for me.”
Marian: What are some of the challenges for you currently as an established artist?
Alfie: “I don’t look too far ahead on what might come along, I just take everything day by day and not sort of aim to, I hate to say achieve anything, because I’m always striving to achieve, you know. I want to do as best as I can as a performer and an artist but I don’t look at what I want to do next. I don’t say, ‘I want to go sing at the Vatican or White House.’ If it happens, I’ll be thrilled and I’ll be over the moon but if it doesn’t happen I’d be quite disappointed if I was banking on it. So I don’t sort of look too far ahead and just take everything day by day and as it comes really.”
Marian: What has been perhaps one of the most rewarding moments to date in your career?
Alfie: “I think probably the 25th Anniversary of Le Miserables is something I’ll never forget and the moment standing on that arena stage was incredible. Getting to perform, as well, for Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee was such an honor, such an honor, you know. And to do what I did on that show was quite diverse and quite interesting so that was a wonderful time for me. People say to me, ‘What was your biggest break in your career, what was your biggest break to date?’ And I have to say the first time I got a job as a singer and that was my biggest break because it got me into the business. It was what started me off on the ladder really.”
Marian: What plans do you have going forward into the new year?
Alfie: “We have actually got plans for the New Year. We’ve got an arena tour in the UK to tackle which is going to be quite fun. I do have a new album out in the UK which I’ve been working on.There’s a number of different concepts all over the place. So yeah, I’ve got a few plans that are already in the diary that we have to focus on basically.”