Alexander Young on stage at Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Alexander Young, finalist in The Sydney Eisteddfod Senior Singer of the Year 2018, talks about turning his passion for singing into a career and his love of jazz and opera.
How has your outlook as a singer changed over time?
Singing has always been a passion of mine since I was young, but it has only been in the last few years that I have seriously considered making a career out of performance. In that way, my outlook has had to change from that of a side passion to that of a possible career, and I've had to come to terms with the uphill battle that confronts all artists, and the uncertain future that such a path leads to. In some ways I find that challenge very daunting, but I also find a thrill in the pursuit of the unknown and in the desire to take my passion and forge a career from it.
Tell us a bit about "stardust", one of the songs you performed in the final of the Sydney Eisteddfod Singer of the year.
Stardust, is a personal favourite of mine, and was once a staple in any jazz standard repertoire, be it for voice or any other instrument. Although most popularly known by Nat King Cole's outstanding arrangement with vocals and strings in 1957, the piece was actually composed 30 years earlier by Hoagy Carmichael as a piece for solo piano. It's wistful and somewhat melancholy melody has made it a longstanding classic, and the piece is often described simply as "a song about a song about love".
Do you have a role model in your music career?
I've never really had a single specific role model. I prefer to draw my influences from a variety of artists and from a range of genres. A large part of my love of jazz comes from the old crooners and legends like Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé, and their modern counterparts, the Bublé's and Connick Jr's of the world. I also have enormous admiration for the great classical tenors of the 20th century, the likes of Corelli, Gigli, Björling, Lanza, and of course, Pavarotti. I'm always searching for new figures and artists to broaden my understanding of music in all its wonderful forms.
What is your favourite song to perform and why?
I suspect I'll never truly be able to answer this question, and though my response may feel a little cliché, the best answer I can give is that there's simply too great a selection to choose from. Music has a singular way of capturing the heart and mind, and has done so throughout history. In fact, every single recorded culture, modern or ancient, has created music, even those without written language. It's something that is innate within the human creative spirit, and I find so much wonder in the way it continues to bind and connect us as it evolves. Music can act as both a bridge to past and a glimpse into the future. It's a continuous lineage of the human creative endeavour, and that's what I find so compelling about music, and why I gain so much joy from exploring it.
What are your plans for the future?
After the final, my immediate plans are to complete my Bachelor of Music at the Sydney Conservatorium where I am currently studying in my second year. Further beyond that, my hope is to move to Europe and seek out a career in performance, either in the classical world of Opera, or perhaps in a more contemporary field such as musical theatre or jazz.