Regent-bound Pacheco hasn’t done bad for somebody who sang like Kermit
From trying to sing operatic high notes without falling over and dying to singing for our very own Prince Charles, entertainments writer WAYNE SAVAGE talks with singer Nathan Pacheco
“THERE were a few years there that I sounded like Kermit the Frog and that’s the truth,” laughs Washington DC native Nathan.
Understandably, It’s not easy being green isn’t part of his set list.
With a foot in both the pop and opera worlds, the Disney Pearl artist was discovered by producer Ric Wake, a featured performer with pianist and composer Yanni on a tour of the US, Canada and Mexico and has starred on several TV specials.
This month he will be Katherine Jenkins’ special guest on her UK tour, duetting with the Welsh mezzo-soprano as well as singing some of his favourite songs and tracks from his debut album.
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“I love to sing and have been involved with music for as long as I can remember,” remembers the 31-year-old.
“I was raised in a musical home, my mom taught piano, she still does, and helped me get involved with other instruments. I was woken up a couple hours before I had to go to school and had to practice the piano.
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“I stopped the violin in high school when there wasn’t enough time to do the school orchestra and basketball.”
Basketball was a huge passion of Nathan’s when he was a teenager, hitting the neighbourhood court every day after school with his friends. So how come we didn’t lose him to the NBA?
“Not only did I not realise I wasn’t good enough,” he laughs, confessing his current game is a little rusty, “but my passion started to change to music and I came to feel more fulfilment. So I just followed my passion, continued to focus on music and I’m glad I did.”
The switch came as Nathan got more involved in school performances and musicals. He loved being on stage in front of an audience so started taking classical voice lessons; something he still does with a teacher in New York even now.
His inspiration for dabbling in opera? The Three Tenors naturally.
“I would listen to their recordings over and over; I had no clue what they were saying at the time but they were incredible inspiration.
“Operatic singing is one of the best art forms to just capture so much emotion, passion and feeling. I’d feel that as I would listen to people like Domingo, Pavarotti as they’d sing these melodic phrases and let it build and build and build until they hit the high notes.
“There’s just something about that which really touched me and I wanted to be able to do the same thing,” he says.
“So at the age of 16 I would try to mimic them, sing those high notes and capture the same emotion they did. It’s a tricky thing trying to sing opera; it may sound good in your own ears but it’s not as friendly on other people’s. There were a few years there that I sounded like Kermit but I kept at it.”
Nathan’s spent the last 16 years doing just that; learning how to sing the high notes in a way, he laughs, where it doesn’t feel like he’s going to fall over and die because they’re so complicated.
“It’s been a process, but it’s been incredibly fulfilling because there’s something about the style of music that allows me to express what’s in my heart. I love being able to get in front of people and share that.”
Sharing is a big part of who Nathan is.
After his first year of college, aged 19 he decided to do missionary service in Brazil for two years.
“It was certainly a life changing opportunity; not only to experience and be immersed in another culture but just change the focus from myself, what I wanted to do to and focus on other people and help them with their various needs,” says Christian-raised Nathan.
He did everything from lending a ear to people with problems to cleaning homes and building furniture.
Right now, he’s concentrating on building a career for himself and can’t wait to team up with Jenkins again.
The two first met last August when they both performed in Sherwood Forest.
“Someone she was performing with wasn’t able to come and I stepped in at the last minute and performed with her. Things just started taking place after that,” he says.
“It was a very positive experience; not only is she very talented but a very genuine person and very pleasant to work with.”
That performance led to them appearing together at ABC/Disney Parks Christmas Parade with Jenkins. Their duet of O’ Holy Night was released digitally last November.
“I’ve been looking forward to this [the UK tour] for a few months now and preparing for something like this for my whole life I’d say,” says Nathan, who will perform everything from Nessun Dorma to Danny Boy.
“I’m going to sing my heart out the best I can.”
Katherine Jenkins’ Daydream tour comes to the Regent Theatre, Ipswich, on January 12-13.