Tony Hadley, singer-songwriter, occasional stage actor and radio presenter and former successful London brewer, is returning to Majorca this week. He is really looking forward to coming back to the island, although he is a bit concerned about the heat.
Sir Tim Rice, who collaborated with Andrew Lloyd-Webber on most of his hit shows, once said of Hadley that he "has a strong and expressive voice that few of his contemporaries came near to matching", and still, to this day, very few have.
As part of Spandau Ballet, Hadley sang the soundtrack to the lives of millions of people all around the world during the '80s. Those chart-topping hits have stood the test of time and are still on digital playlists of the younger generations today. Hadley told the Bulletin that he never gets bored of singing them.
"They are legacy songs and I love perfuming them with my fantastic band. The reaction from the audiences is always different, it depends on the song. Some have them crying, hugging and kissing each other because they bring back so many memories; other numbers have them on their feet singing along with me. I love it, it’s great to think that I still get paid for doing what I love - singing and more importantly performing live. I’ve just come back from Italy and I’m in and out of the studio recording some new tracks." His new album, Talking To The Moon, was released in the UK last year and will be released around the world when he goes on tour to promote it next year.
"It was a long time in the making, nearly a decade because I was trying to do too many things. I had opened the brewery in London and the beer was proving really popular in the pubs, so much so I eventually sold it to some Chinese outfit. Now I’m quite happy to let someone else brew the beer while I just drink it, but I was trying to keep on top of the brewery and my music and it was all too much. So once I offloaded the beer business, I got down to recording the album, which I think people have been surprised by.
"It was nominated for album and single of the week (Tonight Belongs To Us) by Radio 2, which was a result considering it has been self funded, produced and promoted, although Sony have picked it up for Australia, which is one of the tour destinations for next year.
"I think a lot of people thought it would be crooning about, but far from it," he stressed.
Despite a myriad of wide-ranging musical tastes spreading from The Chainsmokers ("I love what they’ve done for dance production, it’s something rather unique to me") through Be Bop Deluxe ("I’m a massive Bill Nelson fan, he’s an amazing guitarist and brilliant songwriter"), Hadley has taken more conventional influences, though he does admire and take inspiration from genre-welding acts.
"I’ve always liked the idea of splicing different elements together; I like quirky stuff. Robert Palmer and Roxy Music were great for that. This album tries to replicate that idea of combination. It touches on four-on-the-floor dance music but it’s an anthemic record too; there are nods to The Killers, to Queen, to Muse. It’s a solid piece of work by all of the band involved."
And away from his own music, tours and festivals, he has also been involved with a project called Young Voices. For the past 23 years, Young Voices has staged the largest children’s choir concerts in the world. Over two million children have taken part in a Young Voices concert in inspiring the next generation to find their love for music. Each night, between 5,000-8,000 children perform as a single choir to a sold-out audience of family and friends, and Hadley has spent most of this year heavily involved with the project.
"It’s been great. I think I did a total of 24 arena gigs across the country and it is a wonderful experience, not just for the kids and their parents but for me as well. You’ve got thousands of children all singing together and then you get the odd one up on stage; it's truly magical.
"But next year’s a big one. It’s the 40th anniversary of Spandau Ballet but sadly, for rather acrimonious reasons I don’t really want to bore you with, we officially broke up for good last year. We’ve had our spats and legal battles over the past 20 odd years over musical rights etc., but we did get back together a few times - 2010 and then 2014/15 - but it wasn’t the same and we just decided to call it a day.
"I’ve got a great band and it’s a really nice atmosphere to work in. I’m in a happy place with my wife, family and music, and that's all that matters as I continue on my journey. But it is not going to stop me celebrating. Apart from tours to South Asia, the States and Australia, I’m doing a 40-date anniversary tour of the UK, ending up with a full live orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.
"However, before I get there, I’m going to be going back to all the small theatres and venues we used to play when we first started. Down to Cornwall, playing some of the old ‘water garden’ theatres in the seaside resorts. I’m going back to where we came from and places I have not performed in since, so I’m really excited about that."
He admits to not being a nostalgic person. "I don’t go back and listen to old Spandau in my spare time and marvel over it. It annoys me slightly when people tell you that the '70s or '80s were the best time to live through; they seem to be stuck in the past, hankering after rose-tinted glory days. Ok, the '80s did produce some epic bands, but so did the decades before, after and continue to do so today.
"There’s great stuff out there in the world right now. There are some really good songs and that is all that matters. Forget the hype, just write, produce, and sing a good song. Mind you, there is also some crap out there as well," he joked.
"My daughter Zara is rather helpful in keeping me up to speed; she’s always putting me in contact with new things. Zara loves singing. However, I wouldn’t advise her to go into the music business any time soon. But having said that, for anyone who has a talent, whatever it may be, my advice is give it a crack because you will only live to regret it, and regrets are not healthy. Live for today and tomorrow. What’s in the past is done and dusted; onwards and upwards is what I say."
Hadley is still, in his own words, a great believer in giving people what they want though; he won’t discard True or Gold from his touring show any time soon.
"Whenever you play live, for me you’ve got to send people home with a smile, and that is what I intend to do next week in Majorca. I’ll be mixing my classics with some of my new tracks. We’re going to have a great night together."
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