Sebastien Izambard, of world famous classical cross over group Il Divo, is on the line from London as he winds down from a sell-out concert the previous evening, describing it as fabulous, beautiful.
The 45-year-old French musician, singer, composer and record producer has been a member of the four-member Il Divo group since 2004 alongside Urs Buhler (Switzerland), Carlos Marin (Spain) and David Miller (US).
Il Divo has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide, achieved more than 50 No 1 records, received 160 Gold and Platinum sales awards in 33 countries and staged four ground-breaking world tours.
They have performed before the likes of former US President Barack Obama and Her Majesty the Queen and shared microphones with fellow superstars from Barbra Streisand to Celine Dion.
The group was created and promoted by music producer Simon Cowell. The quartet’s strength is its remarkable ability to blend operatically-trained vocals and classical music with themes from pop, bolero, folk, tango, sacred and Latin music.
Sebastien, the only self-taught singer with Il Divo, started his career as a pop musician in France. His childhood was tough and he grew up with his mother in in a block of apartments.
In Paris he has written music for many French artists and in 2001 performed with the famous French singer the late Johnny Hallyday.
The voice on the telephone is calm, relaxed and at ease with himself, and really happy when it comes to discussing his family, Australian born wife Renee and children twins Luca and Rose 10, and Jude 7.
“I am very lucky to be married to Renee who is originally from Ferntree Gully in Victoria. She has lived in Melbourne and Sydney where she worked for Sony Music and where I met her,” Sebastien says with typical Gallic charm.
“After marrying, we lived in France and England. Our children are half French, half Aussie; one of my sons calls himself a ‘Fraussie’.
“We live in California now and love it there. My wife says by moving from England – where we spent 10 years – to California, we are getting closer to Australia. We love Byron Bay, there’s no craziness there.”
Sebastien has been to Perth twice before and says he is looking forward to the October concert.
“I think we played at an outdoor venue, maybe near water, (research reveals it was Kings Park in 2012). I remember having my first surfing lesson in Perth with no problems because the water is so beautiful.”
Il Divo’s Timeless Australian tour includes the classics and songs from their new album. Timeless features a classic mix of favourite pop and traditional standards in four languages including Hola, a Spanish version of Adele’s hit song, John Legend’s All Of Me, Robbie William’s Angels, Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable, Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful
World, and many more.
“We have some incredible dancers,” Sebastien says. “It is a very rich and non boring show.”
The frenetic pace of touring the world might seem daunting but Sebastien gives the impression he still enjoys it.
After the UK, Il Divo headed to Europe for a few weeks, then to Australia for a promotion.
After that Sebastien has a private concert in Bali. Next stop is Japan and Australia, the US and Latin America, commitments which extend until March-April next year.
The Australian arm of the tour will feature much-loved Australian singer Marina Prior who Sebastien says he is looking forward to meeting.
Returning to discussing his family, Sebastien says the children are on school holidays at present.
“But when they are at school they don’t usually come out to where I am performing, we like to keep them to a routine as much as possible. I miss them so much so I try not to tour more than six weeks maximum, then I go home for 10 days or so.
“In September they will miss some school because they are old enough and I want them to see Japan. Grandma is in Melbourne so they will come to Australia and be based in Melbourne, and we will also check out Byron Bay for a few days.”
Off stage Sebastien likes to wind down by walking around the city he is visiting.
“I like getting to know about the world and local history. I also like doing yoga and meditation. It can be very disrupting moving from one place to another so I try to do things that keep me grounded.”
Il Divo performs at Perth Arena Tuesday, 16 October on the first leg of its Australian tour.
Win Win Win
We have one double pass to giveaway to Il Divo at Perth Arena on Tuesday 16 October
for one lucky reader to win.
To be in the draw simply fill in the form below or write to Il Divo competition c/- Have a Go News PO Box 1042 West Leederville 6901.
Competition closes 9/9/18.