Johnathan Veira: The classically trained singer

Tuesday 1st July 2003

Operatic singer JONATHAN VEIRA spoke to Tony Cummings.

Jonathan Veira
Jonathan Veira

Tony: Were you brought up in a Christian home?

Jonathan: I was brought up in the Plymouth Brethren in London and the Bible was part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I went to University and met a lot of Christians from other religious backgrounds, I really started to commit what I was and what I did to the claims of Christ. However, this is a continuous process, a journey of conversion that we who claim to be Christians are on for the rest of our lives as we get to know Christ better.

Tony: How did you come to record with ICC?

Jonathan: All the best things happen by accident! Peter Martin of ICC heard me at the At Work Together conference - an offshoot of Spring Harvest. I was there entertaining everyone - chatting, making them laugh and singing a variety of songs. It was the response to this and in particular the final song that prompted Peter to write to me. As I have a perfectly successful career in opera, dipping in and out of Christian ministry as time permits, I ignored the letter! I didn't particularly want to get involved in the Christian music scene and wasn't sure what I had to offer. Peter's insistence led to a phone call and his sheer integrity led to a meeting with him. He convinced me that my voice and singing touched people in a unique way and that he could see that I had a ministry to offer. I felt that I could work with ICC because I was impressed by their integrity in every way.

Tony: What are your favourite two songs on 'Rhythms Of The Heart' and why?

Jonathan: "God Of The Moon And Stars" struck me personally straight away because of the breadth of the lyrics. It encompasses all, draws people in and shows the God of the ever-open door for everyone no matter who they are. The story of the song is "don't wait to get ready before you come to God, come as you are, now." "Wayfaring Stranger" was a lot of fun to make as I love playing jazz so much! Every time I listen it puts a smile on my face and Phil Madeira does a great Hammond solo which I just love.

Tony: Who are the kind of people who buy Jonathan Veira albums?

Jonathan: The demographic of the people that like my recordings is really quite broad. People between the ages of 35 and 75 buy my albums and seem to love them for different reasons. I'm quite keen that people don't think it is a "classical" album because it isn't! My style of singing on the album is not classical at all. It's an album of songs I like to sing, in the styles in which I like to sing them. I may be an international opera singer now but I started out doing rock 'n' roll and ballads. I sing just like I did then!

Tony: What plans do you have for the future?

Jonathan: My opera diary is busy with bookings until 2006 but in recording terms I plan to keep making music that people like to listen to and that touches them in some way. Other albums are in the pipeline so watch this space! I also plan to keep doing my One Man Show whenever possible too, reaching out to people who don't necessarily come to church and for whom the Gospel is a mystery. Some of my audience for these shows know me from opera, some know me from past Songs Of Praise performances and some are just taken along by friends with no knowledge of what to expect - but the evenings are always full of a huge range of music and lots of laughs! So I plan to keep making people laugh as well as singing opera, blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll... CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


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