Icons! Greg Gould On Performing ‘Aretha, Whitney, George – Keep The Faith’ & ‘ The Freddie Mercury Songbook’

Marcus Hamence Presents has a feast full of shows for Feast Festival and one of the most exciting and energetic artists on the list is Greg Gould. Coming to Adelaide for two shows full of iconic hits from some of the greatest artists of the last century; Aretha, Whitney, George – Keep The Faith and The Freddie Mercury Songbook. Since becoming the runner up of Australia’s Got Talent in 2013, Gould has toured sold out shows, international festivals and recently with Synthony the immersive experience of dance music with a live orchestra, taking him all over Australia, New Zealand and Asia. 

With an electric charisma and non-stop energy that will lift audiences and take them on a musical journey, Gould brings to life songs by Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. Singing all the classics and more, these shows will be a night not to be missed. Chatting with the Hi Fi Way about what can be expected from both shows and who will be joining him.

I saw you in Adelaide a few months back when you performed in the Synthony concert and you have this energy on stage that is so infectious. Is that what audiences can expect from you when you come for the shows Aretha, Whitney, George – Keep The Faith and The Freddie Mercury Songbook?
I’m all about vocals and energy! Yes! That’s what my job is especially for something like Synthony where they have a huge crowd who want to be lifted. There’s no difference if you’re in a theatre or stadium, you want to have an experience and your energy lifted. The audience want to come away feeling like they’ve gained something from a show.

In the Aretha, Whitney, George – Keep the Faith show. Will you be singing the George songs?
We also sing each other’s as well. The whole first act we all have our little sections but in the second half we all sing together so I will be singing a bit of Whitney Houston and a bit of Aretha Franklin but yes, I am there to represent the George Michael part of it.

You’ll be in Adelaide for The Freddie Mercury Songbook show. These are some pretty iconic singers you’re representing in these shows. How hard is it to sing these classic songs and to keep them so modern and fresh?
We definitely give you Bohemian RhapsodyWe Are the Champions and We Will Rock You and you really can’t mess with those songs. You have to give the people what they want but I do try to interpret a song in my own way at the same time. There are plenty of moments in the show where I do like a ballad version of, You’re My Best Friend. I strip it right back so it’s everything that people want from a Freddie show but it also has a bit of heart. 

We have three different singers who are unique vocalists taking on these iconic songs. One of them is Sarah C, so you get a female perspective. The other is me, a raging homosexual (laughs) who is known for re-interpreting songs but then you have a drag queen who is lots of fun. Jimi the Kween who is the, I don’t want to say ‘heart of the show’ but brings an energy to the show that is un-matched and something different.

There’s lots of Queen shows out there and there are different ways you can consume the music of Queen but we wanted to do it different and have a cabaret feel to it.

So, who will be joining you for the Aretha, Whitney, George – Keep the Faith show?
So, Sarah C is doing both shows who is a Melbourne powerhouse. A diva of all divas! She’s very well known in Melbourne for having a huge voice and an amazing presence on stage. Then there’s Faith Sosene who was one of the grand finalists of The Voice this year. She’s our Aretha! Faith is phenomenal and a freak vocalist. I discovered her on YouTube and she’s a freak of nature with an insane voice. If you’re going to do Aretha, you got to have the pipes and she certainly does have the pipes!

You’ve done a few stints on these reality singing shows.
Yes! Ten years ago, next year.

Knowing what you know now, would you still give it another go?
Potentially. It’s been ten years so I’m definitely not against getting my mug back on television. It certainly has its place and can help your profile but you have to go in with the right intentions. You have to understand what you’re getting yourself into. It is reality tv show. it’s there for entertainment purposes. It’s a tv show!

That’s a great way to look at it!
It’s not there to serve you. You’re there to serve them. You’re there to have tv moments for the tv audience. The tv audience is a very different audience to those who buy tickets to shows. Obviously, there’s a cross over and it can help to let more people see who you are so that’s why I wouldn’t say no. It’s a platform for exposure. Never say never! 

Which Freddie Mercury song is your favourite to sing?
I would definitely say You’re My Best Friend. I do a stripped back version of it and it’s really special because when I sing it, I think of my partner who I’ve been with for three years and has become my best friend. So, yeah, it’s really special. It’s a real poignant moment in the show.

Which song is your favourite to sing from Aretha, Whitney, George?
I’m still getting my head around that the show. We did some sold out shows in Melbourne for the Freddie Mercury show so I’ve done that show and I’m familiar with the songs but this show we are debuting it in Adelaide. I do like Kissing a Fool by George Michael. It’s nice and jazzy and I’m from a jazz background. My first paid gig was fourteen years old busking on the side of the streets on the Central Coast (where I’m from) and a band leader of a forty-piece brass show band came up to my mum who was my mum-ager (laughs) for a chat. I ended up being booked on this Island of Vanuatu tour. I was fourteen years old and I was singing frank Sinatra songs. So not a bad first gig!

That’s awesome! Would you consider putting on a show like that in the future?
I’m definitely looking into it! Never say never!

Euphoria by Loreen is my all-time favourite Eurovision song and I’ve heard your version and your voice is just out of this world. Its a very different version.
Yeah, I’ve stripped it down.

But it works! Youve really capture the emotion of the song. How was singing that song for you?
Well, its bloody high! (laughs). Same thing, I’ve always loved he song and always wanted to do a cover of it. It was on my first EP and I took a dance song like Euphoria which is a big anthem in the Queer community and I wanted to give it new meaning and new life.

Well, you did and its great!
Thank you!

Have you recorded your own songs or will be in the future?
I’m recording my own songs at the moment. I’m working on my first original album. So next year for sure it should be coming out.

What kind of music will it be?
It’s pop music. My idol in terms of genres is Lady Gaga. For a long time, I’ve had record labels trying to put me in a box and thank God there was someone like Lady Gaga. She’s not in a box. One moment she’s recording a jazz album with Tony Bennet then she’s doing a rock album for a movie, then a dance record and then she’s doing a tribute to Julie Andew’s on the Oscars. So, for me I don’t want to be put into a box. If I want to do a jazz or pop or dance record, I think I’m a versatile vocalist that can do lots with my voice, so sky’s the limit!

Are you writing your own music?
I’m writing songs. I’m also having songs presented to me but it’s very important that I at least co-write the songs. It’s important for me to have something to say of my own.

Are you looking forward to coming to Adelaide?
I can’t wait to some to Adelaide. My first time in Adelaide was for Synthony and that was such a quick visit. I’m looking forward to really spending time and getting to know Adelaide more. These shows are really special so this Feast Festival come and see them!

Interview By Anastasia Lambis

Tickets to Aretha, Whitney, George – Keep the Faith show HERE

Tickets to The Freddie Mercury Songbook HERE

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