Il Divo is breathing a collective sigh of relief. After not touring the U.S. for several years, the pop-classical vocal quartet wasn't sure what kind of reception it would get from its American fans.
Happily for the group, the first few performances on its current North American tour showed fans haven't forgotten, member Sebastien Izambard says.
"We've been out of the American public's eye for quite some time," says Izambard, who performs 9 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Revel in Atlantic City. "It's scary that people might not like your music. It really worked well, and people seemed to really enjoy it."
To help refresh the audiences' memories –– and win over new ones –– Il Divo will focus on its best-known material, including "Regresa a mi" ("Unbreak My Heart"), "I Believe in You" and "Wicked Game."
Besides Paris-born pop singer Izambard, the group consists of tenors David Miller, who is American, and Switzerland's Urs Buhler and Spanish baritone Carlos Marin.
Formed in 2003 by Simon Cowell of "American Idol" fame, Il Divo has recorded six albums, selling 26 million copies. The foursome performed the theme for the 2006 FIFA World Cup and also has toured with Barbra Streisand.
Izambard talks about being the pop voice in the mix, the importance of the group's look and whether he or his cohorts ever have any "divo" moments.
Q: You're the only member of Il Divo that's not classically trained. Have you studied voice on your own or worked with a coach to play catch-up?
A: I've been really lucky. I studied music by myself, and I've been lucky to learn from the guys as well. In the beginning, I was very skeptical, thinking this was never going to work. Sometimes things are magical, and they just happen.
Q: Il Divo has covered a wide range of pop and classical material. As a songwriter, do you have plans to compose for the group?
A: I have tried in the past to write songs for Il Divo. Somehow I feel spending a lot of time with the group doesn't give me enough distance to bring something new. I love writing pop songs, that's what I keep doing. It's my passion. It's good to have different (creative) hats. I find different arts can nourish you.
Q: The group is known for its on-stage fashion sense, and at one point was sponsored by Armani. Why is your look so important?
A: The clothes are an important element because that's the way we want to represent the music –– jeans and a T-shirt doesn't suit the type of music. The suit brings something, but it's not the most important part –– it's really who we are on stage that matters.
Q: As a songwriter first, how did you adjust to being in the spotlight?
A: For me, music was something that made me happy because I had a difficult childhood. Like most artists, we've been wounded. It was kind of a therapy for me, a way to express my feelings. I was very introverted, and it was a way to communicate.
When I started Il Divo, I didn't think I would make it –– I just wanted to be a composer. I didn't want to be in front of the spotlight, I wanted to be in the background. It just happened naturally. It really happened by itself –– I've been the luckiest man in the world.
Q: As a divo among divos, do any of you have your difficult moments?
A: We know what we want, saying we like this, we don't like that. It makes us look a bit of a divo, but we know just what we need. We're not one of those people who need our water to be a certain temperature –– there are none of those divo moments. We're pretty normal, in fact.