Interview With Edward Kay, Baritone

by Karine Hetherington

Who or what inspired you to take up singing and pursue a career in music?

I started singing as a boy at the age of seven at Clifton Lodge School in Ealing which had a very impressive choir setup at the time. I remember one day coming back home from school and announcing to my parents that I wanted to audition – nothing much more to it than that!

Who or what has been the most important influence on your musical life and career? 

Tenor Ben Johnson with whom I recently started studying.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

Changing technique in a rather drastic way in December 2016. It involved pulling out of a large amount of work and much soul-searching.

Which performance are you most proud of?

I performed ‘Abschied’ from Schubert’s Schwangengesang a week or so ago with not much notice. It is particularly tricky as you have so many words to learn….!

Which particular works do you think you sing best?

I am focusing mainly on Italian songs and arias at the moment while I concentrate on learning how to sing. Tosti writes beautiful melodies and, in my opinion, you can’t beat the antique arias like ‘Caro mio ben’ or ‘Per la gloria d’adorarvi’.

As a singer, what is your definition of success?

Being able to convey the emotions, themes and messages that composers create with their music in the most convincing manner and truly understanding how to sing.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring singers?

As an aspiring singer myself I feel uncomfortable ‘imparting’ too much but I would say that you need to have a technique that will last your entire life; you need to listen to your instincts; you need to have a core support network around you and, above all, don’t compare your own journey to anyone else’s.

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Performing around the world singing a mixture of repertoire in various opera houses and concert venues and working with interesting, passionate and inspiring people. And still have time to watch the Formula 1 and read the Sunday newspaper on the weekend.

What is your present state of mind?

Positive and excited about the future. Concentrating on practising and I have a number of concerts coming up to look forward to. Having the chance to perform a staged work like Dido and Aeneas throws up all sorts of difficulties, and with the rather limited rehearsal schedule it presents new hurdles to overcome, but it is an opportunity I am relishing and I am very much looking forward to the performance.

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