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 Il Divo interview: 'X Factor has turned music into a competition'

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PostSubject: Il Divo interview: 'X Factor has turned music into a competition'   Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:10 pm

http://www.digitalspy.com/music/interviews/a352101/il-divo-interview-x-factor-has-turned-music-into-a-competition.html

If there is one act who Simon Cowell can depend on time and again for a successful record, it's Il Divo.

Since releasing their first record almost seven years ago to the day, the multinational four-piece have turned out four hit albums - three of which topped the charts - and shifted over 27 million units.

Ahead of their new LP Wicked Game, which includes covers of Chris Issak and Madonna, Digital Spy caught up with them to find out what it's really like to have Simon as a boss.

You've been saying that your new album is your best yet. What precisely makes it the best?
Urs: "Obviously the song choices themselves are where it starts. The arrangements are also very charismatic and powerful. We've been working with a new guy called Karl who's relatively new to the industry, and he did a great job. The whole thing is a great package."

It seems like there is a fresh energy between you all...
David: "I think so. We had time apart after our last tour and that always helps. We've all got very different personalities but if you spend a lot of time together, it's easy to get into everyone heads and everything starts to merge together. Some time apart means we all have fresh ideas and individual input."

You performed 'Wicked Game' on Red or Black? earlier this year. Why did you choose it as the lead track?
David: "This song, similar to our last album, was the moment when we knew we had something. We'd been trying different things for months before 'Wicked Game' and throwing it all in the bin. This song feels like us, and it was sort of like a centrepiece for the album."
Sébastien: "I remember that Simon Cowell refused the song at the beginning. Sometimes you have to work on him a bit! We were then refused the rights to cover the song by Chris Issak's management, mainly because we wanted to do a translation rather than a straight cover. In the end it was Chris Issak's mother, who is a fan, who convinced them to agree."

You've had three number one albums in the UK; are you hoping for a fourth with this one?
Carlos: "I think it's fair to say we are hoping for that!"
Urs: "What we've realised more importantly is that this album will help us to tour. Promoting is the most important thing, and we want to do it around the world. We're planning some surprises for our new show - we've already played a couple of gigs at the Colosseum which got a fantastic reaction."

Several new opera acts such as Il Volo have launched in recent months. Does that make you nervous? David: "Not at all! That's the funny thing about our boss - he's turned music into a competition. For us it's about expression and freedom, and there's plenty of room for everyone. That new acts doing a similar thing are coming through is a huge compliment to us."
Sébastien: "There are a few bands who are latching on to what we do. I have respect for ones that put their own twist on it, but then there are those bands who imitate us A-Z - right down to our configuration. This might sound very arrogant, but we consider them tribute bands."


Has Simon Cowell heard the whole album yet?
Urs: "Absolutely - he's very involved. We all have opinions on our work too, and somehow we all end up meeting in the middle. Sometimes we have to put our foot down and insist on how we want things to be, but his input is extremely important too.

You're one of the few Syco acts who have lasted this long on the label; do you a good working relationship with Cowell? Carlos: "We have a great working relationship with him. We've sold 27 million records, which is obviously great for him! The good thing is we don't see Simon very often, but when we do it's always very amicable."

Are you watching this year's X Factor?
David: "I've started watching the US and UK ones this year. I've never really see them before so thought I'd educate myself. It's really addictive because it's so light. Something has been lost from the show since Simon left. There's something about Simon - it's nearly impossible to fill his shoes. All the judges seem to be on board with all the acts all the time - they're afraid to put them down."
Urs: "Simon has this way about him where you believe what he says 100%. His conviction is incredible - you're always really sure that he means what he says, and not a lot of people can do that."

Who are you backing to win?
Sébastien: "It's obviously got to be Misha B, hasn't it? She's incredible."
David: "I have a hard time watching the show because it reminds me of early on in my operatic career when I would audition for things. The feelings and memories of the stress that come out are hard to cope with. You see the approval in their eyes and I connect to that - it's so stressful to watch!"
Urs: "We were stressed out enough when we once went on the show to perform. It's very intimidating and you're surrounded by people who badly want to make it."

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