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Voice of an Angel

ANGEL BLUE is determined to let people know that she has always been a musician – even during her time as a beauty pageant pro. “One thing I try to tell people is that I’ve always been a musician – I play three instruments, I sing, and doing beauty pageants helped me pay my way through college where I studied music.”

For the statuesque operatic soprano, doubling her life as beauty pageant queen an opera powerhouse has led to a very full and interesting experience – one that has continued to flourish since her days as a young girl in Los Angeles, with a love of opera that first began with her father.

“My father really inspired my interest in opera, because he studied classical music and he could sing in so many different styles,” reminisces the powerful vocalist. “I remember watching my first opera when I was four years old. It was Turandot, and I recall bursting into tears whilst watching it and just being blown away. From there, that love of opera really started.”

This passion for opera – meshed with her contemporary influences including Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston – played a large role in Blue’s life and her position as the leading classical crossover artist today. “When I was a kid, I would listen to a lot of Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan and Donna Summer. A lot of those ladies have really inspired my work and my voice.”

Whilst becoming a musician was something that Blue was keen to pursue, it didn’t come without its obstacles. During her time studying music at college, Blue’s mother helped her to discover a new way to help finance her studies. “I got into UCLA and I’m the forth of five children, so by the time they got to me, my sisters had used what my parents had saved for college,” she reveals. “Also, I was growing extremely tall so my mom suggested I do beauty pageants to help me pay for school.”

“So I ended up doing them for six years, from my freshman year to the time that I graduated with my master’s degree, it helped fund my college tuition.”

Pageantry helped the statuesque songstress to master skills that she needed onstage, and she credits her years as a beauty queen to her confident persona and ability to command a crowd. “I’m thankful for those years in pageantry, because they helped me to become more comfortable and confident; I know my body really well and I know how to present myself on stage.”

TALENT: Angel Blue in London, 2013 PC: Benjamin Mengelle

Whilst the benefits were endless, Blue did face her fair share of judgemental commentators, and felt stereotyped by some of her college peers. “I remember this one time a teacher said to me; “if you were as interested in music as you are in your beauty pageants you’d be a phenomenal singer”. At the time, I didn’t really comprehend what she meant, and in a way I’m happy I didn’t” she says. “I see that some people think that because I have a background in pageantry that means that somehow discredits my opera career, but it certainly doesn’t.”

And there’s no doubt about that, as Blue’s ever-evolving career continues to reach dizzying new heights. Her shining, agile upper register has been heard by admirers across the world, and this year, the star will perform at the London Symphony Orchestra's Sound Unbound event. “I’m so excited to be performing at Sound Unbound, and even especially excited when I was told I could sing whatever I wanted,” said Blue ahead of the show. “I didn’t want to do the standard opera classical recital for 45 minutes, I wanted to do something that I thought would grab people’s attention.”

Grabbing people’s attention isn’t too difficult for Blue – from her dazzling smile and star presence to her powerful vocals, the 32-year-old is on a roll, and will be continuing her tour of Europe this year. “I’m going back to Germany to perform in La Boheme, and then I’ll be in Wales. Following that, I’ll be making my debut at the Metropolitan Opera and that’s really some of the exciting things I’ll be doing this year.”

Read the full interview with Angel Blue's in The Voice Newspaper, coming soon

See Angel Blue at this Sunday's (April 30) Sound Unbound festival at Jerwood Hall, LSO St Luke's, London

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