Il Divo - Encore (2006)
Il Divo has conquered the world. In just two years since their debut album, the dramatic rise of the international operatic supergroup has been breathtaking in its speed and unparalleled in its success.
The fusion of four exceptional voices, bringing the passion and virtuosity of their classical training to the interpretation of romantic and popular songs, has brought a sense of opera into the mainstream and thrilled the world in the process.
They have achieved 26 # 1 chart positions internationally, sold over 13 million albums, and achieved some 104 gold and platinum awards around the world.
With Il Divo, their first album, which was released in October 2004, they smashed Led Zeppelin's 25-year record of being the only band to achieve a number 1 album without a commercial single release. It was even the highest charting debut album for a UK signed act ever in America.
Their second album, Ancora, went straight in at number 1 in the USA, sold a phenomenal 150,000 copies there in just one week, and confirmed them as one of the biggest acts in the world. In the UK, Ancora also went straight to number 1 and they finished the year on a high performing for Her Majesty the Queen at The Royal Variety Show.
This year their sell-out 86-date world tour where they played to over 500,000 fans, took in 69 cities across the UK, USA, Europe and Australia, and was followed by an invitation from the legendary Barbra Streisand to join her on her 20-date US tour throughout October and November.
They recorded the official anthem for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, performing in front of an International audience of 1 billion people at the opening ceremony and the Final of the World Cup.
For all four members it has been an incredible journey. With the release of their third album, Siempre, Il Divo are poised to take their meteoric success to another level.
David Miller (tenor, from the USA) says: "So much of what has happened has exceeded our hopes and expectations, and the future seems wide open. But we still have to keep ourselves grounded in the music, in passion for the music, and for performing.
"So we're very proud of the new album, and the vocals we've come up with. We're branching out a little, but it's still the Il Divo sound. We've done Nights In White Satin, and Bryan Adams' Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman? But the whole album has a much more Latin feel, more up-tempo. It's more fun."
David, who has a Masters Degree in Opera Theatre, had sung leading roles internationally in opera for 10 years and on Broadway in Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme. "We four have become like brothers. We've shared so many amazing experiences - we went to NASA together, to the beach in Australia, shared private jets. It's all been new to all of us. We make light of it, almost a buffer against how excited we are. Because if we really let out how we feel all the time, we'd be like nerdy little boys!"
Sebastien Izambard (pop singer from France) says: "Our adventure has been amazing. Two years ago, I never thought I would travel so much, meet so many people of different cultures, or work so hard. I couldn't believe it when I heard we would be singing with Barbra Streisand, and it has been fabulous."
Sebastien, the only self-taught singer, is an accomplished songwriter who plays guitar and piano and has produced for many other French artists. "The new album is different from the other two, it's another side of Il Divo, a side we've never shown before. We use Cuban percussion and guitars, the melodies are very different. Il Divo starts swinging..!"
"When we found out, just before we went on stage on the first night of our world tour, that we were at number 1 in the USA, it was a fabulous moment. But we love performing in the UK. We feel like we were born here, and everything started from here. So we always feel like we're coming home."
Urs Bühler (tenor, from Switzerland) says: "I'm very happy about the third album. Except for Somewhere, which is in English, everything is in Spanish or Italian and it has more rhythm. I think it's very sexy actually! And the songs are wonderful. I really love Without You. The Mariah Carey version is great and the Nilsson original is wonderful, but I am really proud of our version."
Urs, who started singing with a hard rock band, had sung at the Salzburg Festival, based in Holland, singing with Netherlands Opera. "Life is very exciting, and never better than when we're on tour. I love the traveling. It has changed my views on the world, stretched my horizons.
"It was wonderful being on our UK Summer Nights Tour, I rented a motorbike to travel between venues. It was like having a motorbike holiday through England, and yet each night at the same time, I got to have one and a half hours of big, big fun on stage."
Carlos Marin (baritone, from Spain), says: "Now we know each other so well, we only need to watch each other's eyes, and we know what the other guy is thinking, and how he will sing the part. It's an amazing closeness.
"We needed this when we first started to sing with Barbra Streisand, an unbelievable honour. Of course we were nervous, but when she arrived, we couldn't believe that she was this sweet woman who was asking our opinion. She has a beautiful, amazing voice, but she likes to improvise, so at first rehearsal it was a little difficult. But it soon came together, and the mix of our voices is very special."
Carlos, a star of the opera scene was based in Madrid and was renowned for his work in many operas such as La Traviata and La Boheme. "In my opinion, this album is the best of the three. The original songs are better, the vocal arrangements are more precise, more elaborate. And of course, it's still always romantic. How could it not be?
"We just want to grow and grow. We do our best, try every single day to improve ourselves. Even my English is improving! Now when I go back to Spain, I sometimes find I am thinking in English, and English words come out with the Spanish."
David has the final word: "We are built for singing, that's what we're here for, to let our voices out, and let the music ring. Now we're going to the next step."
The journey continues:
1. Nights In White Satin
3. Without You
4. Come Primavera
5. Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman
6. La Vida Sin Amour
7. Una Noche
8. Amour Venme A Buscar
10. Somewhere (bonus track)
* The album was recorded in Dublin and Sweden with previous collaborators Steve Mac, Per Magnusson and David Kreuger
Siempre will be released worldwide on SYCO Music / SonyBMG on Monday 27th November.