The man behind the mask and the lead actor in the Middle East debut of Phantom of the Opera provides his insight into one of theatre’s most exciting roles
Debonair catches up with one of the men behind The Green Room, a new space for Dubai’s under-served jazz lovers
What is the one thing you’d tell your 16-year-old self?
Be confident in yourself and your abilities.
What are the three things you would save in a fire?
My wife, son and dogs — although I have two and obviously can’t leave one behind! I’d probably sling a sax on my back for good measure as well.
What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
I had a made-to-measure suit designed and tailored by Barbaranne Heaton and her team at House of Moirai for my wedding. It’s a vibrant blue three-piece, with a bright red contrasting lining.
Where is your favourite place in the world and what makes it special?
I love Barcelona. It was one of my favourite cities even before I met my wife, and then I got married there a few years ago — making it pretty significant. My wife and I generally visit every year and I would happily live there one day. It’s a seaside city, which I love. Added to that, it boasts the most amazing architecture, culture and superb drinking, dining and music hangouts. My other safe-haven is anywhere up a mountain with a fresh dusting of snow.
Who would play you in the biopic of your life?
I’m not quite sure who has my hair… But someone like Hugh Jackman (similar hair!) would be awesome. He sings, plays different instruments, dances, produces and goes from roles in films such as Les Misérables and The Greatest Showman to movies like X-Men and Eddie the Eagle.
What’s the most-played song on your playlist?
My taste is pretty eclectic. I grew up studying classical music, played in wind bands, then big bands and now play in venues with house DJs, while having a real passion for some hard rock on the side. I like to hit shuffle or listen to “what’s new” sections and see where it takes me. If I have to pick one track, Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol is well up there for various sentimental reasons.
What character from a movie/book/series can you relate to?
Sebastian in La La Land — he’s also always trying to find the balance between music, goals, ambitions and so on.
If you could time travel to any gig or concert, which one would it be?
I’ve always had a thing for the band Queen. I’ve just seen the new film Bohemian Rhapsody, and am totally in awe of Freddie Mercury. I think to have seen them live at Wembley in 1985 would have been amazing.
Tell us about The Green Room. What inspired it and what highlights and challenges did you experience making it happen?
John Gillespie of House of Negroni and Tonique Consultancy approached me to manage the music content for a new jazz club in Dubai. I’ve known John for about nine years, have performed at numerous of his events and we’ve collaborated independently as industry professionals. We’ve talked a few times over the passed couple of years about projects that we think would work and the venue, styling and vibe of The Green Room lent itself perfectly toward something we both have a big passion for — jazz.
The Green Room brings the top jazz talent in UAE to the people of UAE, and combines that with some of the best cocktails in town. It’s a winning recipe around the world, and hopefully it is welcomed and appreciated here in Dubai. We’re a few weeks in now. I personally get to book all the talent that perform live from Tuesday to Friday nights. The calibre really is world-class, which is often not the perception of musicians in Dubai.
Tell us something that will surprise us?
I’m a bit of a hoarder — clothes in particular!
The Green Room is a lounge bar built around cocktails and music, providing a space for jazz musicians and fans. It’s situated above Galvin Bistrot & Bar Dubai.
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