Original article in French Pour Sébastien Izambard, d’Il Divo: «Le challenge, c’est de durer»
(French to English translation is my own, I hope its okay)
BY Alain de Repentigny at Le Presse 19.05.12
Sebastien Izambard, the French Divo, is visiting his home in London a few days before leaving for Montreal, where his family will move during the Canadian tour of the quartet of singers and his band of forty musicians. A few hours after taking tea with Queen Elizabeth II, he answered questions from Le Presse.
Sebastien Izambard (bottom right): “Our success depends more on Simon Cowell, not our costumes or if we are handsome or not.”
PHOTO PROVIDED BY PRODUCTION
Question: On your last album, Wicked Game , you translate most of the songs in Italian, but not Do not Cry For Me Argentina , from the musical Evita , you sing in English. Why?
Answer: It’s simple. When you have a song, we try it in English, Spanish, Italian, and we keep what works best. Sometimes when you sing in English, it sounds like Mickey Mouse: it does not work.
In your dazzling debut, there was much talk of Simon Cowell, who found you. Are you out of the shadow of the famous British impresario?
We always talk about Simon because he has opened the doors. It took two years to find us when we all had solo careers, I was the only one of four to make pop. We submitted the project, and some of us were not convinced. We tried and it allowed us to be on TV shows that we would not have access on otherwise. Simon has a very strong instinct, he can feel what people want to hear. I met his band One Direction: they are adorable. But the challenge is to last. After nine years, our success depends less on Simon Cowell, our costumes or if we are handsome or not. It is really the business we have and our passion for music.
How is it that you choose your repertoire?
For the show, it depends on us because we are four producers of the shows. Sometimes we added songs that are not even on the albums. But for the record, we have a list of songs and Simon has his. For example, Crying, Roy Orbison, was the idea of my wife, who heard the end of the show Prison Break . I played this song to David, Urs and Carlos, and was then to Simon, who found it great. It was Simon who suggested to Wicked Game , by Chris Isaak. I said: “It is not possible, it is a huge song, pop song, it won’t work.” But in the studio, it was incredible! In fact, this song gave us the direction of the album.
What you were like at pop music before Il Divo?
I wrote my songs and I released an album for EMI. I also came to the promo in Montreal, where I shot my second video. Later, I was offered to the musical Le Petit Prince with Richard Rodgers. I played the businessman with Daniel Lavoie. It was truly a great experience at the Casino de Paris.
How do you respond to those who say that you have struck gold, a recipe, or you always operate the same way?
Not much. Often they are people jealous of our success. There are plenty of people who tell us that our music helped them through difficult times. I see people at our shows who really have fun, and that’s what matters to me.