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Q&A: Meet the artist - Remigio Pereira


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The Tenors, from left, Clifton Murray, Remigio Pereira, Victor Micallef and Fraser Walters. The Canadian singing group will headline a show June 15 at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre.
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The Tenors, from left, Clifton Murray, Remigio Pereira, Victor Micallef and Fraser Walters. The Canadian singing group will headline a show June 15 at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre. SUBMITTED PHOTO


Despite being a classical singing group, the members of the Tenors haven’t grown up listening only to Wagner and Vivaldi.

Their sound is tinged by elements of singer-songwriters such as Jim Croce, folk singers such as Bob Dylan and gospel.

Remigio Pereira played in a reggae band, loved big guitarists such as Eddie Van Halen and used to pretend he was Ringo Starr.

Pereira and his fellow singers will make their first big-time theater performance in Indianapolis this summer. Supporting their third album, “Lead With Your Heart,” they will show off a mix of bombastic opera, pop sensibilities and original songs.

The Candadian singing group will headline a show June 15 at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre.

“It’s our blood, sweat and tears. It’s a labor of love,” Pereira said.

The Tenors are made up of Pereira, Fraser Walters, Clifton Murray and Victor Micallef.

The group has performed on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” for Queen Elizabeth II during her Diamond Jubilee and during the live broadcast of the 2011 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

They were featured in the opening ceremonies of Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics and for the NBA and NHL All-Star Games.

This year, they won a Juno, the equivalent of a Grammy in Canada, for Best Contemporary Album. They even beat out their idol, Celine Dion, for the award.

“You grow up thinking that it would be great to join the ranks of all these people who won these awards,” Pereira said. “Then you get one, and it’s like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ It’s so crazy.”

After releasing their third album in January, the past six months have been a whirlwind of touring, TV appearances and promotion. They have been crisscrossing the globe, playing shows from Africa to Turkey to Los Angeles.

Even a brief respite in Italy was peppered with work responsibilities, Pereira said.

The Tenors will perform at 7:30 p.m. June 15 at the Murat Theatre, 502 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis. Tickets range from $41.50 to $52, and can be purchased online at livenation.com.

What led you toward this type of singing and music?

I was a hockey player, growing up in Boston, and I got injured. I started playing the guitar, and it grew into a passion for music.

It wasn’t until I went to university for the guitar that I started singing. I heard my dad around the house singing Portuguese songs and serenading my mom.

So I had always heard a baritone-tenor voice from my dad. But I had a complex from my older sisters not to sing. It wasn’t until these girls at the university convinced me to sing that I started.

They took me to the dean of the school, and I started singing classical music.

How do you put your unique spin on our sound?

I came from a rock background, people like Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai, the Beatles and Bon Jovi. Classical is something I stumbled upon.

You can’t take the rock out of the guy, so our shows, everybody is into so many different styles. It’s interesting how we’re mixing classical with punk, world beat and film scores.

We have a whole wide range of backgrounds and influences. It stems from what we grew up with.

Is it difficult with the different influences you have to pull it together into one sound?

We’re always singing and arranging for the song. We want to do the song justice. We wouldn’t be singing a pop song with the operatic, huge sound. It can sound too stiff, and pop is much more relaxed.

We have to really gauge ourselves with the song. If it calls for huge operatic notes, then we’ll sing that. But if the song calls for tenderness or some other high-floating sound, we disperse the notes out among each other and just sing the song.

We make sure we blend and that we’re not creating a big wall of sound that grows tiresome on the ear. We want to take them on a journey, with valleys and hills. We don’t take ourselves too seriously on stage.

How is “Lead With Your Heart” a departure from what you’ve done in the past?

We’re very hands-on with our music. We suggest things to the orchestrators, let them know what we’re thinking. The first record was these tried and tested songs.

The next one was a Christmas album we did. With the third one, we thought that now that we’d proven to the record label that we can sell records, we wanted to do some writing.

This album has four tracks on it that we penned and wrote with other people as well. That’s probably one of the biggest departures for us.

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