FREDDIE MERCURY was such a huge musical talent it takes six singers to reproduce his range in the latest Queen tribute musical, Bohemian Rhapsody.
One of them is Nathan James – the finalist from ITV1’s Superstar who had a spat with celebrity judge Andrew Lloyd Webber – and he admits he couldn’t take on the whole of Freddie’s back catalogue himself.
“It’s really scary to even attempt some of his songs,” says the shaggy-haired rock tenor. “However, because there are six of us it’s OK. We try to cover just about everything that he did and he had a soulful voice, a rock voice and he sang opera.
“He could do just about everything – the fact that it takes six of us to cover his range shows you what a genius he was!”
Among the songs performed by Nathan are The Show Must Go On, Too Much Love Will Kill You and Barcelona.
He says: “It’s very interesting for me to try to get my voice around some of the opera stuff he did, but my favourite bit is when I sing parts of Bohemian Rhapsody.
“It comes right towards the end and it’s so much fun to perform. I’m hoping the audience enjoy it because when I hear it I just love it – you have to sing along, everyone knows it. So everybody should be having a good time.”
Nathan is too young to remember Queen in their heyday but says he fell in love with their songs via the musical We Will Rock You. “Unfortunately, there’s not really a part in it for me otherwise I would have auditioned, but Bohemian Rhapsody really suits me because I don’t have to pretend to be anyone else,” he says.
“I just get to sing and try and honour Freddie Mercury who’s one of my heroes. We all have so much respect for him and for Queen and we want to do their music justice.
“We’ve studied loads of videos – everything from early shows to Live Aid – and we’ve taken some of the arrangements from live shows rather than records.”
Nathan has recently returned from a three-month arena tour of US with The Trans Siberian Orchestra, so he’s understandably feeling pretty pleased with himself despite a public dressing down on TV from musical supremo Lloyd Webber.
It came during the final of the reality show which was searching for a star to front a new production of Jesus Christ Superstar when he accused Nathan of “loving himself more than the sing” and asked why he kept tweeting pictures of himself.
But the singer says: “I loved being in the show even though I didn’t win. I didn’t particularly want to be in the West End anyway, it’s not my type of singing.
But if I wasn’t on Superstar I wouldn’t have got to do Bohemian Rhapsody. It’s a TV show. I’d rather I had done that and me be talked about. Everyone that watched it will remember me and I don’t think I was the one that looked like an idiot.
“He had to apologise to me on national TV on the last episode. Then I went to tour America and got a work visa really quickly.”
Nathan, who also appeared on BBC1’s The Voice, says he loves reality TV shows.
“It can make the difference between having a hobby and making it a career,” he says. “It’s the way the world works. People who have been on telly – even people from soaps – are getting parts in the West End because they are a name and it’s all about people knowing you and relating to you as a person.”
Bohemian Rhapsody brings the songs of Queen and Freddie Mercury to the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, from Tuesday (May 21) until Saturday,
Joining Nathan James, the rest of the cast includes singers Amy Diamond (a finalist in BBC1’s search for a Dorothy for The Wizard of Oz), Kelly-Anne Gower, Rebecca Kelly, Giovanni Spano (who has just played Simon Zealots in the Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour), and dancers Ricky Loftus, Philip Birchall and James Evans.