John Barrowman Talks Music Music Music
John Barrowman Talks Music Music Music
John Barrowman Talks Music Music Music
John Barrowman burst onto our television screens back in 2005 as the
charismatic Captain Jack Harkness in the revamped Doctor Who series
but before then had enjoyed a very successful theatre career.
Since his Doctor Who role he has seen his television career soar as
his character of Captain Jack got his own show Torchwood. But after
the success of his first album Another Side last year John is back
with another collection of some of his favourite songs Music Music Music.
I caught up with John to talk about his new album, the rise of
Captain Jack and the future of Torchwood and what the future holds
for the actor himself.
your new album is Music Music Music can you tell me a little bit about it?
Well first of all the title was chosen because I have a habit of
saying things in threes on television and we decided to pull in on
that phrase and the thing that people recognise about me. But also
because there is three styles of music that I cover and am really
really passionate about: one I straight pop, the second is country
music and the third is musical theatre music, and before everyone
goes ewww musical theatre it's not your Phantom of the Opera or Les
Mis it's songs like Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You, which is an Andy
Williams pop song but it's also in the musical Jersey Boys so I have
sort of hit two birds with one stone. To me I listened to it again
this morning and I loved it I really thing that it is a great balance.
It's a collection of cover songs how did you decide what makes the
record and what is left out?
Well it's a collection of covers but there are two songs that the
British public have never heard before the title track What About Us,
which is written by Gary Barlow and Chris Braide, and the second has
actually been sung by Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman's husband and
country singer, and I decided to do that one because no one had heard
of it over here and it's called You'll Think of Me.
But the other tracks I go into the record company with a list of
songs and then they give me a list of songs and I put them together,
and I end up with about two hundred songs, and I narrow it down to
about fifty. And when I'm narrowing it down I always go with what my
heart says and what my feelings say than my head because if I had an
emotional connection to the song and I can think of that then the
song will mean more to me and I think I will sing it slightly better
than if it was just a random song that I want to record.
And do you have a personal favourite?
At the moment I'm loving the title track What About Us because it's
original and it's mine and on of the ones that I love, well I love
all of them that's why it's so difficult to choose, but From A
Distance I adore because it makes me weep because of what is going on
in the world and the upset that we have and if we could look at
things from a distance it makes it all a little bit better. What else
I Am What I Am because it describes me so they are all personal
favourites, if you buy this album you are really getting to know me a
You worked with veteran producer Simon Franglen what was it like
working with him?
Yeah Simon was absolutely a hoot, for people who don't know him he
has produced people like Celine Dion and some Streisand stuff and
Whitney, he is absolutely amazing and what I love about him he let me
sing and perform the songs. A lot of them time when you are working
with producers you will do it bit by bit, which I also like doing,
but Simon was like ' No John you go in and sing' and I probably sang
each song eight to ten times and then he took all the best bits and
put it all together and he's created some really wonderful stuff on there.
What did you decide to release another album so close to Another
Side, which was only released about twelve months ago?
Yeah well because the public wanted it! The first one was such a
success we didn't expect it to go gold so quickly and we didn't
expect it to be heading towards going platinum and all my fans said
that they wanted him to sing bigger and sing more so that's why we
decided to do this album, if things go well we are already planning
what the next one's gonna be. Totally fantastic
You also toured with the last album how did you find that?
I loved it and I love that when I'm on tour I can get out there and
amongst everyone who appreciates what I am doing because I appreciate
what they are doing for me and that's why I do these tours, yeah I
known that they pay to come and see me, but you ask anybody who came
to see the tour they get a really special performance I don't hold
back at all in the performances I give myself over completely because
I'm totally appreciative of their spending their hard earned money to
come and see me or buy my album and I want them to know that.
You do come from a background of musical theatre and when you do
those show you are supported by the rest of the cast so what was it
like on tour standing up their all by yourself?
Awesome (laughs) I'm not going to lie to you. It's great to be part
of a company and I love being a company man in a show but to be
centre stage all by myself, I still saw myself as being supported by
my band, but it's a very different feeling when you are out there by
yourself and it's all about you, in fact I was listening to a song
the other day that I was thinking about putting in the new tour
called Talk About Me (laughs).
What made you decide to move into music as most of us know you as an actor?
I didn't really decide I was asked Sony, last year's album was with
Sony BMG I am now with Sony Epic, and Sony approached me to ask if I
wanted a recording deal and who is going to say no to that? One of
the biggest recording companies in the world asked me if I wanted a
recording contract and all of the things that have happened to me
over the last five or six years I haven't planned they have just
happened and as any human being who wants to work and loves to work
if I think I'm going to have a good time I'll do it.
You are obviously best known as Captain Jack Harkness what can we
expect from the new series of Torchwood?
Here's my official answer Torchwood will come back bigger and better
and it will be a five part mini series over one week, so every night
you will get a cliffhanger, hopefully airing in the spring and
summer. There will be new faces, you will learn a lot more about
Captain Jack's past, his dark past, you will also learn a lot more
about Gwen, there will also be some deaths but a lot of action and excitement.
And why has the series been cut down from its usual thirteen week run?
It's been cut down specifically because we have been moved to BBC1
and we can't take a full fledged series from BBC2 to BBC1 because a
lot of BBC1 viewers have never seen it, which is yeas and no a lot
have seen it and a lot haven't. You have to make an impact on 1
because if we too the series over the rating that we got on 2
wouldn't hold us steady to last on BBC1 so we have to make an impact
and to make that impact we have to condense it down into five. But
series four, if we come back, we will come back with more.
And how surprised were you that Torchwood has done so well as a stand
Overwhelmed I can't believe it! We knew that we were doing a
production that we had to, when we did it first on BBC3, we knew that
we had to be loyal to the original brand of Doctor Who and when we
got out ratings and we got the best ratings in the history, and we
till hold that title on digital television, and they moved us to two
and we got good ratings there, even in our repeats we beat some
programmes on other channels, so the success I'm overwhelmed and I
think that's why I continue to do my variety of things because it's
my way of saying thank you to everybody. I figure that if I work
harder and try to do other things that please people then they will
see that I really appreciate what they have done for me.
when you singed on for the role back in 2004 did you imagine that
Jack would become such a popular character?
Oh god no! If you had asked me back then I thought that Jack was only
going to be in the show for five episodes and that was it and then lo
and behold I get my own show it's gone worldwide and Jack has become
an iconic figure, not just in the UK but worldwide, and honest to God
I'm speechless I'm absolutely, and excuse my French, f***ing thrilled
(laughs) I'm speechless and when I'm in other countries, and I can't
do accents very well, people come up to me going (Chinese accent)
'Captain Jack' I', like he's everywhere.
The funny thing is my niece had a lecturer come to talk to them,
she's learning to be a public school teacher in the States, and they
brought a guy in to talk to them about being gay and how to help your
students deal with that and not to make an issue of it. So he asked
if anyone had heard of a show called Torchwood (laughs) so my niece
raised her hand and said 'yeah' and he was like ' You have? That's
such an obscure show I was going to get you guys to watch it' and she
was like 'Well Captain Jack is my uncle' and he just said 'Shut up!
I'm gonna have to text my partner and tell him' (laughs).
And he just looked at my niece and said ' Your uncle is hot' and all
of her classmates, the ones who didn't know about the show were like'
He's hot? Get him up on line lets look him up on the computer' and
they were like 'Oh my God Claire your uncle is hot'. So it's things
like that that really make me chuffed when she rings me up and says
'Oh my God Uncle John it was supposed to be a lecture about
understanding and it turned into a loves fest for you' (laughs).
What do think of David Tennant's decision to step down from the role
as the Doctor?
Well I think he is making the right decision, and as much as I would
like to see him stay, as an actor he needs to move on and as he said
if he didn't step down then he would be there forever he does love
it. The only problem is finding someone to fill his shoes because he
has done such a brilliant job.
Who's it going to be and is there anyone that you would like to see
take on the role?
I have no idea I'm not part of that process. You know what someone
might have said that about Captain Jack in the beginning stages
Billie, myself and Chris Eccleston were the first three cast and if
the producers were going and asking everyone who they would have
liked to see I would have liked to have thought that there was no one
else, and there wasn't they said that I was the only one who they
thought could play this role. So from that aspect I wouldn't like to
say anyone because I wouldn't want to kill anyone else's chances
Finally what's next for you?
Oh you are just going to have to watch
That's not fair
I have pantomime at Christmas, an album tour and I have a couple of
television shows in the pipeline
No fantastic, fantastic fantastic (laughs).
John Barrowman's new album Music Music Music is released 24th November
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw
Precious and rare all Love is, gender matters not.
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