Putting the fan into the Fantoine family

Jonathan Antoine
Jonathan Antoine
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If you thought Joe Longthorne’s fans were committed you have probably never met Jonathan Antoine’s.

And if you want to meet them book his show at Viva Blackpool on Friday May 20. Tickets are, surprisingly, still available. Organisers are also looking for a choir to support him too but that’s another story and we’ve already run it.

Jon says his following is less of a fan base and “more of a family.” His family’s involved every step of the way too.

“They keep me grounded,” he admits. “My mum’s my manager and does everything for me and makes my life incredibly easy. My dad and sister drop anything they’re doing if I need help. I’m blessed with the most lovely fans too.”

Some fans are coming over from America to see and hear him sing. They - like Jon himself - like the intimacy of the venue rather than the impersonality of the major arena shows.

“I sang to 10k in Florida and that was great but this is lovely because I haven’t seen much of Blackpool and it will be like singing to friends.”

Jon’s a big fan of the Fylde too - he played Lytham Festival last year and followed through with a concert at Lowther Pavilion.

Since his ‘discovery’ on Britain’s Got Talent he’s carved a niche in that middle ground known as ‘classical crossover’ occupied by the likes of Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson and Alfie Boe.

But he’s also venturing forth and taking opera - which he loves to sing - to the heartlands. He’s learned some of the great arias phonetically but hopes to learn Italian in time. “I’m barely fluent in English,” he laughs. He’s also sung with some of the greatest names in opera (Placido Domingo ring any bells?) as well as up and coming sopranos . “Domingo’s legendary and refuses to be pigeon holed. I love that.”

Jon still cringes at being hailed the ‘teenage Pavarotti’ after BGT . At 21 he has grown vocally and in stage presence - without losing himself in the process.

“People have been incredibly supportive of me pretty much since primary school days.

“I think it’s really important, personally, to build a good community around yourself.

“Too many online celebrities have toxic communities around them because they don’t interact in the same way. I keep things personal and talk to people in the same way as I would anyone else. ”

Jon’s just escaped from the recording studio - “we’re working on album two” - to talk and is almost breathless with excitement at it all.

(That’s because we’re also talking about his other great love, his guitar collection.)

Given a choice between a career as an acoustic rock god or opera star what it be?

“Singing. There’s nothing better. I think I’m the luckiest man in the world. I really like singing and performing in the way that only classical music can afford.

“I flip between passions, some days I really love live performing. At the moment I am having so much fun working on the album, hearing the stuff that will come out. I think the fans will go nuts and hopefully others will come to know and like me too because I’m working on building the repertoire. It’s really exciting. I am making something I am genuinely proud of - and having so much fun in the process.”

He admits he sings the songs he grew up hearing - “and I listened to anything and everything.” His tenor voice is the perfect fit for opera but doesn’t overpower lighter mainstream classics either.

And there’s still time to share the stage with Jon as Viva Blackpool is looking for a support act to perform on the same bill. Any act wishing to be considered should submit a video showcasing their talent to arrive by 5pm TOMORROW by following a link on the home page of www.vivablackpool.com. Videos can be in any standard format and no more than three minutes long.

Jon will judge all videos with the Viva team and pick three finalists who then go up for public vote via www.vivablackpool.com.

The winner will be announced on Sunday. The 120-minute show is on May 20. Tickets from £23.50 and £31.50 online or from the box office at 01253 297297.

Viva Blackpool’s managing director Martin Heywood, says: “Jonathan Antoine has appeared on stage with global stars including Placido Domingo, Vittorio Grigolo and Joss Stone and he will now be sharing a stage, for one night only, with the winner.”