Following her appearances at Dubai World Trade Centre, the world-famous soprano chats to Peter Feely about life on the road and a plan to sing in space.
When did you first discover your talent for singing?
I discovered it at a very young age. I remember my mother telling me I could sing even before I could even speak. I was quite shy about my voice and used to get very nervous about it, because I think even at a young age I understood the power of it. Everyone would stop and listen. I was different because of it to other people.
Producers and writers often refer to how subjects in songs need to relate to the performer’s own emotions if the track is going to be successful. Is this true?
Well I think the role of a soprano’s life is always about giving, when it comes to their voice, as that is what we do. The voice can create amazing emotion within people. It’s about feeling passionate about the pieces you are singing, as it is a gift. It’s about your soul and about a part of you and what you want to give to people.
You starred in various musicals including Phantom and Cats. Is there a particular favourite and if so, why?
Phantom was lovely because apparently everybody says I inspired the composer to create it. I was very young at the time. The fun of it now is watching everybody else come up and do all the parts – seeing the younger generation singing it and bringing something different to it. You think to yourself, it’s amazing that I actually initiated that and now all those people are enjoying the parts and getting something out of it. Audiences around the world are still enjoying it. It’s a good feeling because as creators and artists, we always want something to be enjoyed – that’s our job, to entertain people.
You’ve performed at a number of memorable events, including the Olympic Games. Is there a personal highlight?
I think doing the Beijing 2008 Olympics on that incredible image of the Earth really stands out in my mind.
What’s your routine before a performance and how do you protect your voice on tour?
I warm up and train all the time and also try to get as much rest in between [performances]. It’s like being an athlete, the voice is a muscle and it is important to sing every day whether it is for a few minutes or two hours – it is really that simple.
You’re hoping to be the first female artist to sing from space – what on Earth made you want to do that?
I am not sure yet if it can be accomplished but I have been told by one astronaut who was up on the MIR station (and he actually trained as a choir boy), that it was absolutely possible.
What do you do to relax and unwind when you’re on the road?
Tour schedules can be rather hectic with all the constant travel and rehearsals, shows so I try to rest as much as possible but I do love to read to unwind.