Interview by Markus Hamence – Friday 10 November 2023
Bobby Fox is no stranger to us. That Irish lad that resides in Australia has done his fair share of hard work in the arts and entertainment industry. He’s put some well-punched notches in his belt. From starring as Frankie Valli in the Australian production of Jersey Boys through to most recently playing Corny Collins in the Australian Hairspray the Musical alongside the likes of Todd McKenney, Rhonda Burchmore and Shane Jacobson. Bobby has sung a duet (and released it as a single, check Spotify) with none other than Aussie world famous supermodel Miranda Kerr. He has also produced his own solo shows, including 2023’s ‘Bobby Fox is Mr. Entertainment’. His portfolio is grand. Now Bobby is set to take 2024 by storm with his new show, ‘Careless Whisper – The Iconic Songs of George Michael‘ it debuts in Adelaide and then sets off around Australia AND I find out all about it…
Markus Hamence: Heya Bobby, we last saw you here in Adelaide with ‘Bobby Fox is Mr Entertainment’, a very personal, honest and raw show that was reviewed highly and received extremely well by the audiences. Is that a show you are proud of?
Bobby Fox: Could not be more proud of Mr Entertainment and to perform it in Adelaide for the 1st time was just so fun. Adelaide crowds and me go really well together. We got a thing going on for sure.
Markus: What is it about the Adelaide audiences that keep you coming back for more?
Bobby: Adelaide crowds are fun, rowdy and appreciate great music and storytelling. That’s me to a tee. *Chefs kiss!* playing in Adelaide is a true highlight for me. Played there twice already this year and had THE BEST time. Can’t wait to get back.
Markus: Careless Whisper: The Iconic Songs of George Michael is your next show – What has inspired this one for you?
Bobby: I can’t say that growing up I listened to a lot of George Michael music per se – but he was so huge and such an overwhelming presence in the pop music zeitgeist that I knew so much of his music. A few years ago, just after his death, I was part of a George Michael concert series where I sang a hand full of his songs and it was there that I discovered that 1, we had an eerily similar vocal range and 2, that I really connected with his writing on an emotional level. I knew I wanted to create a show with his music someday.
Markus: What is it about George Michael’s catalogue that has universal and long-lasting appeal in your estimation?
Bobby: The writing is just so deep but fun with Melodie’s that you just can shake. His fearlessness in his lyrical prose allowed for a deep and intimate insight into such a complex and life loving figure. He definitely brought his own interpretation to the famous “Choose Life” tee shirt.
Markus: Is there a George Michael song you resonate with above all else?
Bobby: I went through a stage of listening to Amazing on repeat for about 2 weeks. The sentiment is stunning and the song is just so beautiful to sing.
Markus: George Michael worked in many decades, is their a favourite era of his for you?
Bobby: I really can’t say! Every era brought out an incredible/new dimension of his artistic fluency.
Markus: Was there a point in George’s career that you really started to notice his impact on the world music landscape?
Bobby: I remember when “Jesus To A Child” came out and it being this real moment in pop music in the UK. He had been through a huge amount of scandal and traumatic losses in his life and delivered this masterpiece. I was very young and was so intrigued by the title. I didn’t fully understand the song til a few years ago.
Markus: You have the option to choose any artist to perform “I Knew You Were Waiting For Me’ (Original George & Aretha Franklin) with, who do you choose?
Bobby: Ariana Grande. Yup. Let’s go. Someone call her agent. Tell her I need her to be at the Regent Theatre on (insert date) – cheers Ariana, you’re a diamond.
Markus: George is famous for his insane vocal talents, do you feel a pressure to live up to his reputation with your delivery of his songs?
Bobby: No actually! We have such a similar range that I can learn from his phrasing and placement and see what I can bring to his music that’s fresh and authentic for me. It’s gunna be a match made in heaven!
Markus: Lyrically George wrote some of the most poignant songs. What song do you consider one of his most poetic?
Bobby: Praying For Time is such a confronting song lyrically. George had this seamless way of connecting conversational dialogue with lyrical prose, and certainly in this song we see his existential conflict with perspective and justice. This song really makes you think about the man behind the star.
Markus: How do you choose the set list from such a large array of very good material?
Bobby: Hits. Hits. Hits. For me it’s about the audience I’m trying to connect with all the while the music that connects with me. This songbook has limitless potential and I want to make sure everyone who comes to Careless Whisper has a night they’ll never forget.
Markus: Is there plans to tour this show nationally? Including possibly regionally?
Bobby: Oh yes big plans! This is a show that needs to be seen by the masses. I can’t wait to bring the joy!
Markus: Finally, what do you want the audience to take away from this show?
Bobby: I want to give everyone such a fantastic night that they leave the theatre checking their phones to see when my next show is. My relationship with my audience is everything to me and it’s so important to me that we go on a ride together. I’m so excited to bring this brand new show to Adelaide.
Careless Whisper – The Iconic Songs of George Michael
The Regal Theatre, 275 Kensington Road, Kensington Park, SA
Saturday 28 September 2024 at 2.00pm & 8.00pm