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 foursome 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," says 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," Pereira says. "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," Micallef says. "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 colors."
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," Micallef says. "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," Walters says. "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," Walters says. "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," Micallef says. "It was emotionally challenging to sing while watching images of our fathers on screen, for those of us who have lost them. It was made 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," Pereira says. "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 Celine Dion), at the 2014 National Christmas Tree Lighting at the White House, at the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals, the 2012 Emmy Awards, the Queen's 2012 Diamond Jubilee at Windsor Castle in England, and the 2010 Vancouver Olympic opening ceremonies. Among the artists with whom they have performed are Paul McCartney, Sting, Sheryl Crow, Andrea Bocelli and Sarah McLachlan.
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 1 million albums around the world.
The foursome created Under One Sky over an 18-month period, recording in Ontario, Los Angeles and Nashville with seven producers, including David Foster (Michael Buble, Celine 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," Murray says.
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," Pereira says. "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."
Concurrent with the album's June release, PBS stations across the country 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," Micallef says. ""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 and can't wait to perform their new material. "We were thinking about the live show with this album," Walters says. "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," Murray says. "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.
Back to Past Campaigns