John Owen Jones

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On the eve of the 30th anniversary of Les Miserables in London, let’s take a look at 26 highlights and facts from Alfie to Miz!

A is for Alfie Boe of course! Alfie played the role in the West End for six months, having first taken the role at the 25th anniversary concert, and is now Jean Valjean on Broadway

B is for bread.  JVJ is jailed for stealing a loaf of bread but the onstage bread was once responsible for almost choking Dan Koek! Whilst pretending to eat the bishops’s bread, a crumb went up Koek’s nose and lodged at the back of his throat…and stayed there for the whole of the soliloquy!

C is for Carrie Hope Fletcher. London’s current Eponine, is the younger sister of McBusted’s Tom Fletcher…who appeared with Alfie at the Royal Festival Hall on the Bring Him Home tour

D is for Do You Hear the People Sing? We can and we can’t imagine ever stopping!

E  is for Eponine, brilliant character – surely, I can’t be the only one rooting for her over Cosette in Marius’ affections?

F is for Frances Ruffelle, original Eponine, winner of a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical and mum of singer Eliza Doolittle

G is for Grantaire, a glorious character who spends most of his time onstage in an alcoholic glaze

H is for Hans Peter Janssen, the only Belgian actor to play JVJ in London

I is for I Dreamed a Dream, iconic song from Fantine, memorably performed by Lea Salonga at the 25th anniversary concert.  Went into the entertainment stratosphere with Susan Boyle’s Britain’s Got Talent audition

J is for John Owen-Jones, the youngest Jean Valjean (he was 26).  He most memorable Les Mis moment came in rehearsal with Claude-Michel Schonberg for the 25th anniversary tour.  John says “I was rehearsing Bring Him Home with Claude-Michel in a room backstage at the Barbican. We were running through the song when he suddenly stopped playing the piano and looked slowly around the room with a quizzical look on his face. Then he looked at me and said in that wonderful French accent of his: “Wait…zis room…it is where I wrote zis song!”

K is for Karrie, Peter who played JVJ for three years from 1986.  In a recent interview he told me that he worked with one Javert who made him corpse one day at the end of the cart scene: “he clicked his heels together and turned to walk off, his microphone was already off, and he said so only I could hear, if you don’t have that cart moved, I’ll have it clamped!  I laughed so much I had to feign a coughing fit and run off stage quickly!

L is for Lea Salonga who played Eponine in the 10th anniversary concert and Fantine in the 25th anniversary

M is for Mackintosh, Cameron, the producer of Les Mis as well as many more musicals around the world

N is for Norm Lewis, picked as his favourite Javert by Alfie Boe in his Club 24601 interview with thoughtsofjustafan

O is for One Day More – best ending to a first act in musical theatre bar none (the combination of Michael Ball and Ramin Karimloo is superb here):

P is for Peter Lockyer, current London JVJ –  first played JVJ whilst directing an amateur production in Hawaii

Q is for the Queen’s Theatre, home to the London production

R is for revolving stage, no longer in evidence in the Broadway show.  Dave Willetts remembers several shows in the early days where the stage stopped revolving at awkward moments, notably at the end of the barricade scene when all the dead actors had to get up and walk off stage in the full glare of the lights!

S is for the Soliloquy, favourite song of several of the Club 24601 JVJ’s

T is for Thenardier – a villain we love to love

U is for understudies – Dave Willetts understudied for Colm Wilkinson before taking over the lead when Wilkinson originated the role on Broadway

V is for Valjean, one of the most iconic roles in modern musicals and the Valjean Quartet from the 25th anniversary:

W is for writers, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer

X is for Enjolras’ xylophone vest at the barricades (trust me, it’s real) – big thanks to Debbie Bannigan for telling me!

Y is for young performers – Little Eponine, Little Cosette and Gavroche

Z is for Miz which is the twitter spelling for the Broadway production

 

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The time has come, the day is here and Les Miserables is shortly to celebrate its 30th anniversary.  This also means thirty years of Jean Valjean and a considerable number of actors who have portrayed one of the most challenging roles in modern musical theatre.  Some have played the role for a short time, some played the role for a number of years and I spoke to some of the more notable names (mainly in the London production) over the past few months to get a feel for what it’s like to play such an iconic role.

In no particular order, thank you to Alfie Boe, Peter Lockyer (the current London JVJ gave me the title to this piece: Club 24601, a very exclusive club), Geronimo Rauch, John Owen-Jones, Simon Gleeson (currently in the Australian production and to lead the Manila show in 2016), Hans Peter Janssen, Peter Karrie, Dave Willetts and Dan Koek for being so generous with their time.    The role is famously challenging in all sorts of ways and something I was interested in was how the actors changed their interpretation of the role as their run got longer or in some cases, when they returned at a later date.  For John Owen-Jones, being the youngest ever JVJ at 26 meant that the emotional challenges of the role took on new meaning when he returned a few years later.  He says “I had a more rounded outlook on life and more life experience to draw on when I was older. I had two children in the intervening years and suffered some loss in my family and had grown up a lot. I therefore was naturally able to give the character more depth and I like to think my approach to interpreting the role was more mature than when I was 26”.  Hans Peter Janssen, who played the role in London from 2000 – 2003 agrees with John: “I matured in my portrayal…especially in my understanding of JVJ as an older man”.  In contrast, Geronimo Rauch who had previously played the role in Spain said the biggest difference for him in returning to the role was the language; a phone audition with Cameron Mackintosh to see if his English was good enough obviously did the trick as he then got the London job.

This piece has been some time in the works and when I interviewed Alfie, he had yet to start on Broadway.  As we know by now, Alfie Boe as Jean Valjean in New York has been a runaway success but Alfie’s focus back in July was on the production as whole.  He explained that “the main difference is that the production is completely different, it’s not the same show I performed in the West End.  Although the music is the same, the structure of the show, the choreography of it is different.  I’m so excited to embrace the new direction of the role”.  Alfie also mentioned that “although I’m a little more known than I was back then, I’m not focused on that.  I’m just focused on doing the job, doing it properly, performing each show I’m in to the highest standard”.  Judging from the reviews so far, Alfie, you’re certainly doing that!

Peter Lockyer said that JVJ is the “best role in musical theatre” as it “goes through so much of life; everything is there on stage” and again, this is reflected in the experiences of the other actors.  When asked about the best thing about playing JVJ, every single interviewee cited the emotional, vocal and physical challenge to do the part justice.  Simon Gleeson mentioned “sharing the scope of the the story with an audience” and Peter Karrie (1986 for three years) said that he found the role “very satisfying as an actor and a singer”, something that was repeated by all the interviewees.  Another common link is the music – all the actors mentioned the joy and privilege of being able to sing such an amazing score night after night.  Of course, that incredible score can also be one of the downsides to the role; John Owen-Jones compared it to “climbing a mountain if you’re not 100%” and Dan Koek (2013-2014) said that the “pressure to always be amazing is hard, especially if you’re tired”.  The last word on this goes to Geronimo though, who when asked what the worst thing about the show was answered that it was very demanding but “at least we don’t have to dance as well”.  That really would be something to see, a dancing JVJ!

Thirty years of Jean Valjean, one of the most iconic roles in musical theatre, has given us some wonderful musical moments –  all the Valjean’s interviewed mentioned the incredible score as the high point of their time in the show and I wanted to pinpoint their favourite songs: would they all choose differently?  Without exception, Bring Him Home cropped up, but as a given; no one who performs the role would say anything else I suspect.  However, several of the Valjean’s (Alfie, Dan Koek, Dave Willetts, Peter Karrie and Geronimo Rauch) also chose the same second favourite, the Soliloquy.  As Dave Willetts (1985-6 as understudy and then took over from Colm Wilkinson) says, this song shows “the journey of the character of Valjean” and in Alfie’s words, it shows “what Valjean has become and what he has come from, a chance to show the anxiety, fear and passion of the character”.  John Owen-Jones chose Bring Him Home as a singer and Who Am I as an actor whilst Peter Lockyer named the Epilogue as one of his favourite moments.  Alfie also mentioned the emotional intensity of the Epilogue but I got the feeling he would have named all his songs as his favourite!

Six months ago, when I started researching and interviewing this piece I had a good idea of how I wanted it to turn out.  I thought that there would be enough material for an interesting look at the different portrayals of Jean Valjean over the years but I never thought there would be so much material that I couldn’t use it all!  Several hours of interviews meant that there was enough material to publish this piece five times over, so I’ve decided to publish each interview in full, starting with Alfie himself, on a weekly basis.  If you want a sneak preview of Alfie’s interview, make sure you’re a subscriber – you get it ahead of everyone else so check your emails shortly for the password.

Tomorrow we get to hear if we got lucky and won tickets for the 30th anniversary gala – come and tell us if you won!

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Yes, you read that right – Alfie Boe will appear at the 30th anniversary performance of Les Mis in London on 8 October.  You may not be all that surprised at this news as Alfie’s Broadway dates were so recently changed.  Other famous Jean Valjean’s will also be appearing including the very first one, Colm Wilkinson and more recently, Geronimo Rauch and John Owen-Jones.  Frances Ruffelle and Roger Allam have also been announced.

The best news for fans is that there will be a large number of tickets available in a mobile lottery and charity auction – the money raised will be donated to Save the Children’s Syria Children’s Appeal.

Cameron Macintosh said “Having already had so many requests to attend this very special anniversary performance, we know we could sell this performance many times over. We are limited by the capacity of the Queen’s Theatre and the number of invited guests who have been involved over the 30 year history, but we wanted to make over 40% of the house available to fans. The only fair way we can get these tickets out to the fans is through a lottery. Everyone involved in Les Misérables also wanted to take the opportunity to raise as much money as they can through the distribution of tickets towards the Save the Children Syria Children’s Appeal.”

The mobile lottery will be live online from 12 noon on Friday 25 September and can be found by clicking on www.lesmis.com/30 – if you enter, good luck!

Let’s remind ourselves of the 25th anniversary concert:

If you’re lucky and get tickets come back and let us know!

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The summer concerts are over and Alfie is in the US to start rehearsals for Broadway’s Les Mis.  Ramin Karimloo will be a hard act to follow but I’m sure Alfie will do us proud – look out for the first night review in September.

Now, in case us Alfie Boe fans are likely to be ever so slightly down in the mouth and suffering from post Alfie concert syndrome, here’s a little something to keep you entertained.  Back in March, I asked you what your top Alfie moments were and you responded enthusiastically as always.  My top Alfie moments included meeting Alfie and hearing him sing Addio Signi di Gloria at Classic FM Live – click here to see the rest.

So, in no particular order, your top ten fan moments are:

  • Nancy Webb meeting Alfie at the Utah concert in March this year and getting a photo.
  • Pauline Partridge meeting Alfie unexpectedly outside the Blackpool Opera House and getting a photo.
  • Marie meeting Alfie (again unexpectedly) in the bar of the Radisson Hotel, Glasgow after the Scottish Proms in the Park, 2013.
  • Alfie giving his drumsticks to Linda W on the Bring Him Home tour 2011.
  • The red carpet of the Classic Brits 2013 – Alfie bypassed the waiting press and came straight over to see The Two Linda’s and me.  Later that evening he tweeted a photo of the 40th birthday card we had given him.
  • Cecelia meeting Alfie outside the stage door of the Royal Albert Hall on the Storyteller tour and getting a photo (thanks to Nikki Lewis) – two actually as she spoiled the first one by giving Alfie a peck on the cheek!
  • Pat, Janet and Cecelia seeing Alfie at breakfast the day the Azura cruise departed.
  • Bring Him Home with John Owen-Jones at the Royal Albert Hall.

  • Love reign O’er Me live for the first time.

  • That show stopping moment when Alfie sang with the Jean Valjean Quartet at the Les Mis 25th anniversary concert – aka the moment most of us were Boed.

You picked some amazing top Alfie moments – again got goosebumps when watching the 25th anniversary video.  Other than that, the top moments show how generous Alfie has been when meeting fans – at the Royal Albert Hall on the Storyteller tour, Alfie was actually in the car on the way home when he stopped and got out to sign autographs and have photos.

If you have any more fan memories you’d like to share, please leave a comment – we’d love to see them.

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I recently caught up with the ever lovely John Owen-Jones for an article about Les Mis (you’ll have to wait a while for that, sorry!) and he mentioned that he would be travelling to Japan in the near future for a couple of concerts.  The repertoire will be mainly musicals with songs from his last couple of albums thrown in…Rise Like A Phoenix should be amazing live.  Tokyo will feature a band but Osaka will have a much more intimate feel with John accompanied by just John Quirke on piano.

 

JOJ japan

During the interview, John talked about a few new projects coming up, one of which involved directing!  Sounds intriguing.

In case, Japan is a long way to go for a concert, John is also appearing at the following UK summer concerts:

Aug 2 – Les Mis v Phantom

Aug 6 – Welsh National Eistedfodd

Oct 23-25 – Broadway to the Bay

John’s album, Rise, is available here:

JOJ Rise

 

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Here we are at the third week of looking back at your favourite Alfie Boe tour moments and we’re also right in the midst of making some more fabulous tour memories from Summer 2015.  This week though we’re looking back to my first tour, Storyteller, from March / April 2013.  If this isn’t your favourite, you can still vote:

For lots of you though, Storyteller was your favourite and lots of special memories were made.  My best memory from this tour was getting Alfie’s towel from Blackpool (yes, I still have it) and him posing for photos at the stage door.  Musically, the best moment for me was Alfie and John Owen-Jones singing an impromptu duet on Bring Him Home at the Royal Albert Hall.  A few of you agreed with me so let’s see it again:

Your other tour highlights include Margie meeting Alfie at the Brighton stage door, something a whole lot of us were cheering and hoping for as she had come all the way from Australia, hearing Alfie at the sound checks, seeing him race right up to the top balcony of Blackpool Opera House and Alfie singing Led Zeppelin’s Rock & Roll at Bournemouth.

The second video also comes from the Royal Albert Hall and is Shine A Light:

Storyteller is available on CD and DVD:

storyteller dvd

storytellercd

 

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The Welsh husband and wife composers, Dan and Laura Curtis (who are expecting the arrival of their first baby very soon) have just released their first short musical concept written especially for the big screen. Based on the Disney / Pixar animation, Ratatouille, the unofficial video (made using fair use exception of US copyright laws) showcases their talents and announces their intention to move into the world of film composing in the future.

The music very much draws on the big screen musical style that we all know and features a full orchestra and a number of up and coming musical theatre artists, most of which have already featured on the London stage.

I spoke to Dan and Laura earlier this week and asked what drove the making of this video. In reply, they said that they had always been big Disney fans and one of their song writing dreams was to work with Disney. With this in mind, they were keen to show what their creative vision would have been, had they been given the task of writing music for a Disney film. In addition, many of their fans are also Disney fans and have been asking for something like this for some time now. So far, the response from those fans has been rapturous, with the video being shared multiple times across social media sites and receiving over 29,000 views since it’s release this week.

Dan and Laura’s work until now has been as award winning composers, producers and record label owners. Their most recent album Love on 42nd Street topped the UK and US iTunes vocal and Amazon Broadway charts and featured theatre legends such as Lea Salonga, Ramin Karimloo, Sierra Boggess, John Owen-Jones and Samantha Barks. Recent single releases with Laura Osnes and Cheyenne Jackson both topped the iTunes vocal chart.

Whatever happens with this musical concept video, (the video has been sent to Disney and Dan and Laura are hopeful that it will gain a positive response) Dan and Laura would like to move into the world of film and TV composition – and with their track record of making things happen, I wouldn’t bet against them. See the video here:

Love on 42nd Street is available here:

42nd street

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Part of the appeal and fun of being an Alfie Boe fan is the friends I’ve made along the way…and there a lot of you out there that I would never have known had it not been for Alfie. Chatting to one of my closest friends recently, we were struck by how much the music we listen to now has been influenced by Alfie and his musical choices.  Some of you will be amazed to hear that I do actually listen to other artists (oh alright, it’s not often!) but a lot of the music I’ve discovered in the last couple of years has been driven by Alfie’s musical train.  So the next logical step was to write about it!

Looking through my iPod I now have music from Led Zeppelin, Bonnie Raitt, The Clint Boon Experience, The D’Oyly Carte, Emilia Mitiku, Laura Wright, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, John Owen-Jones, Ramin Karimloo, Al Vosper.  For me, this diverse group of artists has only one thing in common: Alfie Boe introduced me to them.

Obviously some are a lot more well known than others (I can just imagine the gasp of horror from Linda W at my only really listening to Led Zeppelin in the last year or so) and although I was aware of them I never considered listening to them until Alfie sang their songs or worked with them.  This is certainly the case with The Who and Quadrophenia which I listened to for the first time two weeks ago in preparation for Alfie Boe and Quadrophenia – I can honestly say that I really liked it and have listened to some of it again…and I didn’t have to!  It goes without saying that I prefer Alfie’s take on I’m One and Love Reigns O’er Me.

Alfie’s well known saying “there’s only two types of music, good and bad” has obviously rubbed off on me or maybe I’m just more willing to embrace new music as I find myself not only listening to but buying music I had previously discarded as being “not my thing”.  This is definitely the case with Clint Boon; I was not a fan of the Inspiral Carpets and wasn’t particularly keen to listen to the Clint Boon Experience albums even though Alfie was featured.  Of course, when I did listen, I liked it (and not just for Alfie!).  As I write this, the thought occurs that super fans can sometimes be categorised by their willingness to go and do whatever their favourite artist asks or mentions…I leave that with you for later discussion.

One of the joys of my musical education with Alfie has been finding out about extremely talented musicians who I would almost certainly never have heard of otherwise.  These include Laura Wright and John Owen-Jones who I have had the pleasure of interviewing and the awesome Al Vosper, Emilia Mitiku and Michael Boe.  They all produce the sort of music I have always listened to but I am absolutely sure their work would have passed me by without Alfie.

As always, I would love to hear about your musical education with Alfie – what do you now listen to that you didn’t before, or perhaps you have been drawn back to something you haven’t listened to for years?  Leave me a comment in the box!

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs from the Storyteller tour, Jimi Hendrix’s Angel (thanks to Linda W for sharing):

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Les Mis legend John Owen-Jones has a new album out on Monday, entitled Rise.  If only 1 March had been a Monday in 2015, but the day after St. David’s Day will do just as well for such a proud Welshman!

In his recent interview for thoughtsofjustafan, John Owen-Jones Time To Rise, John told us how he came to choose the tracks included on the album:

It’s a lengthy process actually. I spent a year putting together various tracklistings with various concepts attached to them but in the end went for a tracklisting that had variety. At one point I had a Rolling Stones track, something from a very rarely performed musical, an opera track, a prog rock track…the list goes on. But I very much wanted the album to be cohesive and some songs I really liked just didn’t fit well enough with some of my favourites. So they had to go. Hopefully I’ll use them down the line somewhere.

Great explanation of why these particular songs were chosen and on the whole I think he’s chosen well. The idea of the title track, Conchita Wurst’s Rise Like a Phoenix sounds a bit odd but when you listen to John singing it, it sounds fantastic, very Bondesque which is what they were after I understand. The last note alone is worth the price of the album – just think Thunderball, which is on John’s previous album, Unmasked.

As you would expect from an established West End star, musical choices feature quite heavily on the album, although it is nice to see some less well known songs from shows like Pippin which I enjoyed a lot.  Empty Chairs, from Les Mis is a revelation; gentle when necessary, powerful when called for, this version brings a lot of emotion to the table (pardon the pun) and for me, is the best recording since Michael Ball in the original. Bui Doi from the revitalised Miss Saigon is also powerful yet emotional – I loved it.

There are two duets on the album, both from musicals: Ruthie Henshall on For Good from Wicked and Madelena Alberto on Once’s Falling Slowly.  Of the two, I feel that For Good is the more successful as it complements their voices perfectly and brings out the chemistry that the two performers have.

These were the stand out tracks on Rise for me but my out and out favourite is Motherless Child.  I didn’t recognise the song by name but when I heard it, I realised that I had heard it many times before.  Many, many artists have covered it but my favourites are Mahalia Jackson and Tom Jones – John Owen-Jones has now joined my list of favourites.  Another strong track is You Are So Beautiful...and it is.

As already noted, John is a proud Welshman and there is a strong Welsh presence here.  Two of the bonus tracks are Welsh language versions of two of John’s most famous musical songs, Bring Him Home and Music of the Night which are head and shoulders above his arrangement of Bread of Heaven.  Maybe it’s because I’m a traditionalist hymn lover at heart but neither of the arrangements on the two hymns featured are a winner – sorry John!

Overall, Rise is a great album with good song choices and beautiful vocals by John Owen-Jones and should appeal to lovers of good music everywhere, not just those who love musical theatre.  Rise is available to buy here and is released on Monday 2 March:

JOJ Rise

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A week today and West End star John Owen-Jones will be taking to the stage with Katherine Jenkins on the first night of her headline tour of the UK.  John also has a new album, Rise, due for release on 2 March and if that wasn’t enough, it’s just been announced that he will star as Pirelli in the much anticipated ENO production of Sweeney Todd from 30 March to 12 April this year! Click here for tickets.

In advance of all this, I caught up with him to ask a few questions (my questions / comments in bold) – thanks John! Also, huge thanks to Jacqui Archer, JOJ super fan, who helped me come up with some great questions.

How did you choose the tracks for Rise – and what didn’t make the cut?     It’s a lengthy process actually. I spent a year putting together various tracklistings with various concepts attached to them but in the end went for a tracklisting that had variety. At one point I had a Rolling Stones track, something from a very rarely performed musical, an opera track, a prog rock track…the list goes on. But I very much wanted the album to be cohesive and some songs I really liked just didn’t fit well enough with some of my favourites. So they had to go. Hopefully I’ll use them down the line somewhere.

How do you choose duetting partners on your albums, in this case Ruthie Henshall and Madalena Alberto?  I try to choose singers I like that really fit the song well. I also choose people I’m friends with as there is already chemistry there. There were ideas for other duets but I knew I wanted to work with Ruthie and Madalena at some point as I think they are both brilliant. When putting the album together I knew I had the perfect songs for them to shine on so it ended up being an easy choice to have them on the album. I’m lucky they said yes!

You mix and produce your own music, why is that and what does it involve (most of us have no clue!)?  Basically producing is pulling all the different elements of making a recording together and mixing is blending the various sounds together to make it sound as good as possible. A couple of months before recording starts I sit down with my record company and decide on the final tracks for the album. Then my musical director John Quirk and I go through each song and how it should sound, what instruments are needed etc. We then demo the songs with a just piano and vocal to get a feel for how the album should flow and how the songs sound together. I then arrange a running order of songs and start coming up with ideas for artwork while John arranges the music and books the musicians. We then rehearse and record the musicians over a few days whilst I sing a guide vocal to set tempos. After the music is recorded I’ll record my vocals which can take several weeks depending on the nature of the material. Guests artistes then record their contribution and the mixing process starts. This basically involves balancing all the sounds recorded. A trumpet may be too loud on one small part of a track for example so we adjust the volume to make it sit better in the overall sound. During mixing we may end up dropping or adding instruments as necessary, changing certain vocals, adding harmonics, sound effects and many other things. The end result is hopefully what I hear in my head. If not, things get tweaked until it sounds right to me. Mixing can be a very time consuming process as you have to mix and listen to every track dozens of times. On an album thats an average of 45 mins long that takes ages. It’s a finicky slow process but one which I enjoy as I love sculpting the sound. There are many singers out there who have nothing to do with this process and just record the vocals. That’s fine but it’s not really me. I love the idea that I’m shaping something artistic when I record an album and want to be involved in every aspect of production if I can.

What are you most looking forward to about touring with Katherine Jenkins and will you be duetting with her in the show?  I will be singing with her, yes. I’m looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to performing in venues/cities I’ve never been to before and meeting lots of new people. (Tickets are still available, click here).

If you concentrate on your solo music, will we be seeing you on your own headline tour?  Hopefully! If audiences and promoters want me I’ll do it! Pretty sure there’s an audience out there for you John!

What is your favourite song to sing and what is the song you have sung most? Probably Bring Him Home from Les Miz. That answers both those questions I think!

If there is one song that Alfie Boe fans expect him to sing at a concert it is Bring Him Home; do your fans have that same expectation of you? Of course. Luckily I love singing it.

The video of you and Alfie singing BHH at his RAH concert in 2013 has over 115,000 views – any plans to worth with him again?  Not at the moment – but hopefully our paths will cross again. I didn’t plan to work with him that night at the Albert Hall. He dragged me up onstage with no rehearsal, totally unprompted. It was a shock to say the least. I really enjoyed it though! The bloke sitting in the seat next to me didn’t know who I was (he’d been dragged along to the show by his wife I think) and was gobsmacked when I joined Alfie onstage!

When I asked the question, the views for this video stood at 115,000 – now they’re up to 122,000 and counting! Thanks for sharing Linda – it was a magical moment.

John’s new album, Rise is due to be released on 2 March and is available now for pre-order:

JOJ Rise

John’s new album got a plug on Flo Bannigan’s blog this week too! – click here.

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