Paul Phoenix, tenor and founder of PurpleVocals. Paul’s long career in the music business began in the 1970’s, when he became a Chorister in St. Paul’s Cathedral Choir in the City of London. He sang in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee service in 1977 and recorded the Ivor Novello award-winning theme ‘Nunc Dimittis’ by Geoffrey Burgon, in the BBC adaptation of John Le Carre’s ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ in 1979, for which he was later awarded a gold disc. His musical education continued at the Royal Northern College of Music, in Manchester, England, between 1986 and 1991 where he studied voice and academic studies, spending his spare time singing in various styles and guises – as a member of Manchester Cathedral Choir, fronting a Big Band as well as recording with a Dutch group called ‘Janus’ (with whom, in the last few months he has completed a new album!). ‘In a way, it prepared me for the musical versatility of the King’s Singers‘, says Paul, who stresses that his freelance career was well underway by the time he graduated. There followed a six year period during which he continued to diversify, singing as a soloist in oratorio, taking part in pop and classical sessions, coaching the choristers of Westminster Under School and performing with the Monteverdi Choir. In 1997, Paul successfully auditioned for the King’s Singers, and joined in September of that year. Averaging more than 120 concerts annually,
He has sung in many of the world’s greatest concert halls, from Sydney Opera House to Carnegie Hall in New York, and travelled as far as Chile and New Zealand, Russia, China and South Africa, with too many places to mention in between! As well as a packed concert schedule, King’s Singers recordings continue to be released to critical acclaim, and Paul was co-producer on the 2009 Grammy-winning album, ‘Simple Gifts’, as well as performing on the 2011 Grammy-winning recording, Light and Gold’, featuring works by the American composer, Eric Whitacre. In 2013, the King’s Singers were also voted into the ‘Gramophone Hall of Fame’. 2014 marked his ‘retirement’ from the King’s Singers and the launch of: ‘Purple Vocals: Perform and Engage’, Paul’s coaching and engagement consultancy. ‘It’s important to me to pass on the many skills I have learned in 17 years as a King’s Singer’, explains Paul. ‘My singing career will continue as a guest soloist, but I also want to concentrate on educating, mentoring, lecturing, speaking and coaching. I feel uniquely placed to offer new perspectives and advice on the career development of young musicians, as well as coaching choirs, ensembles and their conductors and speaking about the art of ‘audience engagement’.’ His work as ‘PurpleVocals’ takes him around the world, with visits to Colombia (playing the role of ‘Aristeo’ in a brand new production of ‘Orfeo’, with the renowned ensemble ‘L’Arpeggiata) China, (coaching and speaking in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Shenyang) across Europe, the USA (coaching and performing the role of ‘Evangelist’ in Bach’s ‘St. Matthew Passion’ under the the direction of Craig Jessop, with the American Festival Chorus, and as guest coach with the Philadelphia Boys Choir). Late 2016 and 2017 see him coaching and performing in Germany (as guest soloist with the WDR Orchestra in the Köln Philharmonie), Finland, Italy, Iceland, Switzerland, Hong Kong, China and the USA. Paul lives in Cambridge, England with his wife, Helena and two sons, William and Edward. When not singing he tries to avert another mid-life crisis by riding ridiculous distances on his mountain bike in aid of a friend’s charity!