A classical Hannah?

Nathan Pacheco - Blackpool Opera House
Nathan Pacheco - Blackpool Opera House
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Nathan Pacheco is the first to admit that even if he was a star his name wouldn’t exactly trip off the tongue.

But he’s happy enough to take things at a steady pace and is doing his claim to fame no harm at all by being Katherine Jenkins’ special guest on the nationwide tour which brings her to Blackpool Opera House on February 4.

Together with the fact that he’s got an album waiting in the wings for release later this year on the prestigious Disney Pearl label and it’s no surprise that the Nashville-based opera and popular music singer reckons this could be the year he has been waiting for.

“It’s all been a bit crazy lately but I’ve wanted this my entire life,” he says. “I’ve been involved in music since I was a kid but about six years ago I decided I’d really go for it.”

As luck would have it he knew someone who said he knew someone – but for once it wasn’t showbusiness hokum. He landed auditions in Los Angeles and New York, was discovered by producer Ric Wake (whose previous projects included Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston) which led to him working with acclaimed pianist/composer Yanni for around three years.

“One thing led to another,” he says modesty and that meant becoming the first classical singer to be signed by Disney – but with a different spin.

“They wanted to focus on music that could reach parents and children as well – something that conquer the teenage market as well as adult programming,” he says. “Disney Pearl is a new label with that in mind.”

He roars with laughter that this might make him the Hannah Montana of classical music.

“I don’t think that’s quite how I’m hoping to be marketed,” he says. “Although I wouldn’t mind selling as many records!”

He’s an admirer of our own Alfie Boe and says he’d have no problem becoming the American answer to Fleetwood’s favourite son.

His album is a combination of familiar classics (including the inevitable Nessun Dorma) and new collaborations with multi platinum composer/producer Leo-Z).

So what is he happiest with – opera or popular?

“I’d love to perform in La Boheme but for the time being I love the combination of opera and pop,” he says. “I love the liberty of being able to express myself in whatever genre.”

Despite leaving temperatures in the mid 50s behind in Tennessee he says he is loving the chance to tour – both for sightseeing (his wife has come with him) and for sharing a stage with Katherine Jenkins.

“She’s a wonderful person and a great performer,” he says. “I met her a few months before the tour and we got on really well.

On tour he gets to sing two duets with Katherine and four solos.

“It’s neat,” he says. “It’s 25 dates so it’s not too gruelling and I get plenty of chance to rest my voice. I don’t do too much talking when I’m off stage – just in case.”

There’s no release date yet for the album but a sampler EP has been put out to capitalise on his UK visit.

“The full album is ready but it’s up to Disney to decide,” he says. “I guess they are waiting for the market to be ready. We worked so hard on it and it’s ready to go but there’s a lot of other things involved apart from just wanting it out there.

“I’m willing to wait – for the time being.”