Get ready to hear The Tenors like you’ve never heard them before.
On their new album, Under One Sky, the multi-platinum JUNO-Award winning band co-wrote eight tunes, showing facets of themselves they’ve longed to share with their millions of fans.
“We’ve had eight years together and we wanted to turn those memories into music,” said Clifton Murray, who is joined in The Tenors by Victor Micallef, Remigio Pereira and Fraser Walters.
The Canadian group has written a handful of songs for their previous three sets, but Under One Sky marks the first time their songwriting talents stand toe-to-toe with their vocal prowess. In the process, they’ve created a rich collection that expands on their earlier efforts, while delving deeper into their collective strength as artists.
“That this band has been seen as just four singers is a bit of a misconception,” said Pereira. “When you peel away the onion, you get many layers. With each album, we built more confidence to write for ourselves.”
The four members wrote individually and in pairs, often teaming with top co-writers including Walter Afanasieff (Mariah Carey, Josh Groban) and Steve Diamond (Faith Hill, Eric Clapton).
“Tenor groups aren’t known for going out and writing like a band,” said Micallef. “We came to the table as singers, but we’re also songwriters and musicians and we’re using all our talents, not just our voices, onstage. We get to show all our colours.”
That’s not to say they are abandoning the blueprint that made them beloved. Under One Sky’s material covers the full range of tunes that have made The Tenors one of the most popular live draws across the globe. In addition to the originals, Under One Sky includes the foursome’s reinventions of contemporary classics like “Lean on Me” and “You Are So Beautiful,” a swoon-worthy duet featuring Walters’ wife, Kelly Levesque, as well as their glorious interpretations of classical pieces “Granada,” “Besame Mucho” and “Agnus Dei.”
Over the years, The Tenors’ musical diversity has become one of their primary strengths. “There used to be hesitation because we didn’t want to confuse our audience by introducing too many different genres into one show or CD, but we’ve learned that this was one of our greatest strengths, which, in fact, the audience craves,” said Micallef. “We’re not targeting any one audience; we’re just playing from our heart.”
Walters began writing the title track, credited to all four Tenors, as a theme for the Pan Am Games, reflecting on Walters’ experience on Canada’s national track and field team 15 years ago. But the reflective upbeat tune morphed into something more universal. “It’s a song with a big message,” said Walters. “The goal for anyone who hears it is to realize that in our world, we have a choice to focus on our differences or on our similarities. It’s an anthemic song about bringing people together.”
He also sees the song as emblematic of The Tenors themselves and the way they have brought their different styles together into one harmonious blend. “Cliff and I are more pop singers, Vic and Remi are more classical,” said Walters. “We meet in the middle.”
The album’s emotional centerpiece is “My Father’s Son”, a song written by The Tenors with Asher Lenz as a tribute to their own dads. “We just finished our PBS special and during that song, we all had moments where we broke down,” said Micallef. “It was emotionally challenging to sing while watching images of our fathers on screen, for those of us who have lost them. It was even more difficult to look into the eyes of my son just after the fact. It’s a powerful tune.”
That poignancy and ability to express such feelings through their euphonious voices is what deeply connects The Tenors to their fans. “Our songs are inspirational. They’re about goodness and helping others and about love,” said Pereira. “A lot of people who listen to us have come through a lot of strife and they find wisdom and hope in our music.”
Since their formation in 2007, The Tenors have performed more than 500 concerts on five continents and made over 150 television appearances, including on The Oprah Winfrey Show (with Céline Dion), at the 2014 National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House, at the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, the 2012 Emmy Awards, Her Majesty The Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee at Windsor Castle in England, and the 2010 Vancouver Olympic opening ceremonies. They have shared the stage with such artists as Andrea Bocelli, Sting, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Jennifer Hudson, Ellie Goulding, Justin Bieber, Earth, Wind & Fire and more.
The Tenors’ first album is certified double platinum, and their holiday album is certified triple platinum in Canada. Their third album, 2012’s Lead With Your Heart, went double platinum, won a 2013 JUNO Award for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year and debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Classical and Classical Crossover charts. They have sold almost one million albums around the world.
The band created Under One Sky over an 18-month period, recording in Ontario, Los Angeles and Nashville with seven producers, including David Foster (Michael Bublé, Céline Dion), Bob Ezrin (Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd) and Keith Thomas (Blake Shelton, Luther Vandross).
“For every producer, it really came down to looking at their track record, their sounds, their strengths and fitting them with the right songs,” said Murray.
Regardless of the producer, The Tenors exposed their vulnerability through their music, giving it their all in the studio. “The songs have everyone’s blood, sweat and tears on them,” said Pereira. “This is what we want to show people. It’s very humbling. It’s like walking out of your house naked. You’re opening yourself up and you’re bearing yourself.”
Following the album’s May 4 release, in June PBS stations across the U.S. will begin airing the quartet’s third special, Under One Sky. The special gives a taste of what to expect when The Tenors hit the road. “In the past, the PBS sets didn’t have anything to do with the tour,” said Micallef. “This time, the ideas are the same, the stage design is similar.”
The Tenors will kick off a 70-city North American tour in September, including stadium shows in Canada, and can’t wait to perform their new material. “We were thinking about the live show with this album,” said Walters. “When you come to the live show you get so many pockets of different styles, and we love to show our humor by interacting with our audience. That’s why people seem to gravitate towards us. You’ll hear us go from something more pop to something that’s in Italian or Spanish with a big sound.”
As they continue to evolve, The Tenors have a firm grasp on moving forward, while never forgetting what unites them with their audience. “Our goal is longevity—to be doing this in 15 to 20 years time,” said Murray. “The only way to do this is to create memorable music that people cherish.”
With Under One Sky, The Tenors have once again done just that, bringing all their musical worlds together for all to enjoy.
Clifton Murray joined the Canadian Tenors in 2009. His natural singing voice was inherited from his grandfather, George Murray, a famous Irish Tenor on CBC Television’s Cross Canada Hit Parade that aired in the 1950s. Clifton began singing and playing guitar at an early age with his father at Nimmo Bay Resort, and went on to study voice and theatre at Brentwood College and The University of Victoria before graduating with honors from the Vancouver Film School.
Clifton has worked steadily in the television and film industry, securing a supporting role alongside William Shatner and James Spader on the hit series, Boston Legal. He has also appeared with actor Amanda Bynes in the DreamWorks feature film She’s the Man. His role in the movie opened the doors for guest appearances on well-known television series such as; the L Word, Smallville, Reaper, Pain Killer Jane and Flash Gordon and can be seen in the upcoming motion picture releases Night at the Museum II and Damage with Steve Austin.
Clifton performed as a soloist with the Vancouver-based Good Noise Gospel Choir prior to joining the Tenors, and starred as ‘Gord’ in the Studio City, Los Angeles production of the Daniel Brooks play, The Good Life.
Fraser Walters is a former member of the Grammy Award-winning 12-man a cappella vocal ensemble CHANTICLEER. Highlights include performances on leading international concert stages in Vienna, Amsterdam, Taipei, Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles as well as regular broadcasts on NPR and CBC Radio. He is a featured soloist on their internationally released album entitled SOUND IN SPIRIT, recorded at Skywalker Ranch in California on the Warner Label.
Fraser began his professional career as a boy soprano soloist with the Vancouver, Edmonton and Seattle Opera Companies with roles including Miles in Benjamin Britten’s THE TURN OF THE SCREW. At the age of 16, he performed the role of Jesus in Lloyd-Webber’s JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex in Brisbane, Australia.
Fraser holds a bachelors degree in Voice Performance from the University of British Columbia and has done extensive stage and concert work, including a World-Premiere theatre piece entitled HILDEGARD: A MEASURE OF JOY with acclaimed director Francesca Zambello in San Francisco and a tour of the Czech Republic singing Tamino in Mozart’s MAGIC FLUTE.
A Varsity soccer player, Fraser was also a member of the Canadian National Track & Field team at the Pan-American Jr. Games. Other talents include playing piano and guitar; one of his compositions can be heard on the T.V show Edgemont on CBC in Canada and FOX family in the U.S.
Portuguese-Canadian tenor, Remigio Pereira, is a multifaceted artist sought-after for his work as a vocalist, guitarist, composer and songwriter. He is fluent in four languages and has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe.
Remigio’s love for music began in his late teens when he performed as a self-taught guitarist in local rock bands. At the age of twenty-three, he was accepted to Le Conservatoire du Quebec where formal vocal and classical guitar studies began. For the following three years, Remigio was awarded several top prizes and scholarships before graduating with a Masters Degree in Classical Guitar Performance.
During this same period, he began singing with professional opera companies and performed numerous solo recitals for Ambassadors, Prime Ministers and Presidents world-wide. Throughout his career, Remigio has had the unique opportunity to perform many styles of music including Rock, Pop, Reggae, Opera, Latin and Classical music.
Born to Azorean parents, Remigio remains close to his Portuguese roots through his love of Fado music. He is equally inspired to sing an opera, as he is to write a pop song, a symphony, or a verse of poetry.
As a composer and songwriter, Remigio’s original works and orchestral arrangements have been featured in Hollywood motion pictures and at various international venues including the 2003 Presidential Visits to Canada. His sold-out debut CD Destino is a cross-cultural collection of Spanish guitar, Portuguese Fado and Italian love songs, while his most recent CD entitled Incanto highlights famous Italian opera arias. In addition, Remigio’s music has been frequently broadcast on numerous international radio and television stations. Ai nostri “fans” ti amo! Grazie tanto e a presto!!
Maltese-Canadian tenor Victor Micallef was born in Toronto and began his musical training on the piano at the age of four at the Royal Conservatory of Music. His singing career started as a young cantor at his local church and at the age of sixteen he began taking formal voice lessons. He later attended the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto to obtain his Bachelors Degree in Vocal Performance.
In the fall of 1998 Victor moved to Florence, Italy, where he began studying with his mentor, tenor Franco Pagliazzi. While in Europe, Victor was featured both in opera and in concert with several companies including Il Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. He has also had the pleasure and honour of working with such world-renowned conductors as Zubin Mehta, Claudio Abbado, and Daniel Oren.
In June 2004, Victor returned to Toronto after being accepted as a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s prestigious Ensemble Studio. For the following two years he performed and understudied among others, the role of Luke in the Canadian Premiere of Ruder’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the title role in Britten’s Albert Herring, Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, both Macduff and Malcolm in Verdi’s Macbeth, Rodolfo in Puccini’s la Bohéme, and Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.
Throughout his early career, Victor has performed for audiences and dignitaries in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has recorded as a soloist and in ensembles with Il Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino(Bocelli/Mehta), Il Coro di Ferrara, and with The Orpheus Choir. He has also been heard live on CBC’s Saturday Afternoon at the Opera in Canada, and RAI’s Prima della Prima in Italy.