Interview: Carly Paoli

Nov 16 2017

Carly Paoli released her debut album 'Singing My Dreams' earlier this year. It heralds the entry of a young classically trained artist who has already made headlines with her exquisite emotional and dramatic singing. LTTM caught up with her to find out a little more.

Tell us a little bit about this new album Singing My Dreams?

I’m so proud of my debut album ‘Singing My Dreams.’ It’s a really exciting time for me. We’ve been working towards this album for three years, and I suppose it’s unique in the sense that most of the songs have been performed live prior to recording. This adds a greater depth for me. I feel that you become much more emotionally connected with the music when the songs have had time to grow and you’ve experienced what it’s like to share the music with an audience. 

My album contains all the elements that I love to hear in music. As a child, I was very much influenced by musical theatre. I adored watching the MGM musicals to see how Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and Barbara Streisand would perform. They had this special ability to tell a story through song, and I feel that this has become quite a theme within the music that I perform. The lyrics are fundamental, and each song has a different story or message.

It was evident as a child that my ‘default’ sound if you like was ‘classical’. I’ve trained with the same coach now for the last 19 years. I started singing lessons with Liz Hetherington when I was just 9 years old. During my studying, I also trained for 2 years at Tring Park and 4 years at The Royal Northern College of Music. As I matured I really appreciated the theatrical element of Opera and classical song.

I like to think my music has lots of dramatic elements:  high notes that make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, combined with storytelling and topped off with rich orchestrations. 


Which is your favourite track on the album and why?

My favourite song on the album has to be the last piece, ‘Memory Of You’. This song means a great deal to me. I lost my Grandmother four years ago, and as she was a rock for the whole family, it was a very difficult time. It was the experience of losing someone so important that spurred me on to try writing lyrics for the first time. The melody that I imagined them sung to was James Horner’s nostalgic theme from the movie ‘Legends Of The Fall.’ I had the privilege of working with an amazing producer, Romano Musumarra who composed for Luciano Pavarotti, Celine Dion and Placido Domingo. It was lovely the way he encouraged me to be creative and together we bought to life the song that I imagined in my mind that day. It is also I have to say an unbelievable honour that the estate of the late James Horner believed in my lyrics, so I can be associated with an amazing composer.

If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why? 

I would love to work with Jason Robert Brown. The first song on my album is a piece I heard him perform called ‘Music of Heaven’. I was just 16 years old at the time. He has a very beautiful way of writing songs that touch the heart in a language that is current and relevant to today. 

I also adored William Ross’s romantic arrangement of ‘Where or When’ on my album. I would love to work with him more in the future. 

Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?

For me performing the songs to a live audience is the most exciting. I love to share my music and it’s really special singing with a live orchestra. It’s interesting also to listen back and hear how the interpretation can change between different performances. 

How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?

My music has an almost cinematic sound. I think lots of the songs you could imagine featuring on the end credits of a movie. Lots of my family are based in the South of Italy. It’s an incredible honour for me to share writing credits with a legend like Ennio Morricone and also his son, Andrea Morricone. I wrote an English set of lyrics for my interpretation of the iconic classic ‘Se Tu Fossi’ from the movie, ‘Nuovo Cinema Paradiso’. It’s the live performance of this song from ‘The Roman Forum,’ which features on the album. 

How would you define success in your career?

I thank God every day that my job is doing what I have been passionate about my whole life. Not everybody gets the opportunity to follow their dreams, it’s down to the support of my family and the extra support I’ve found later in life that has allowed me to do that. As I said earlier, I was very much influenced by amazing singers that gave the world their gift of song. Judy Garland, Frederica Von Stade and Julie Andrews are a few examples. I would love to one day find out I had inspired another child to follow their dreams and sing, in the same way that I was. 

What has been your career highlight so far?

I performed two years ago at ‘The Ancient Roman Baths.’ It’s where the three tenors first performed together and is such a spectacular setting. I performed with two of my idols Andrea Bocelli and José Carreras. I had such an amazing feeling when I sang the finale, ‘One Bright Star’, which talks about inner wishes we all hold in our hearts. It’s a song which delivers such hope. I then performed ‘Arrivederci Roma’ as a duet with José Carreras. I could just hear my Nana all the time in my head. She used to say in her front room, “One day I want to see you up on that stage singing 'Arrivederci Roma’ with José Carreras.” At the time, we all laughed but that night I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Well Nana, we did it.’ 

What is your favourite album of all time?

I can’t say I have a favourite album. I go through phases where I can listen to an album on repeat. I do have songs which always lift me up when I hear them, a few of these for example are: 
Michael Jackson - Will You Be There 
Jason Robert Brown - Someone to Fall Back On 
Alan Menken - Forever More 
David Phelps - No More Night 

You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your mp3 player. What track is it?

I’d listen to an inspirational song with the voice of David Phelps to spur me on. It’s a Christmas song so perhaps not appropriate for a hot desert island, but his interpretation of ‘O Holy Night’ is something really special. 

What does the next year hold for Carly Paoli?

There are so many exciting ideas in the pipeline for the UK and overseas, America and Italy. 
I’m thrilled to be able to announce that I will be touring the UK for the 1st time this year with the talented group Collabro. I’ll be joining them from October 24th to December 2nd. My album is released on June 30th, so that’s just around the corner for me. I hope and pray people enjoy listening to it as much as I’ve enjoyed creating the music. I look forward to sharing the music that features on my album with more live audiences. 

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