Words: Steve Brown
Luke Evans is a name everyone will know.
Whether it’s for his acting roles in The Hobbit trilogy or the dark, sinister series The Alienist, or even playing narcissistic villain Gaston in the live-action remake of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Showing off his singing abilities in the Emma Watson-starring production, Luke has now fulfilled a dream of his and released his debut album ‘At Last’ on Friday (November 22) - and can be downloaded here.
Recording the entire album in just five days, Luke reimagines some classic tunes including Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ and is already hoping to be back into the recording studio for a second outing.
Now, speaking exclusively to Attitude, Luke talks about his new album and possibly a second, whether he’ll be making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut and reveals a hidden talent.
Your album ‘At Last’, is out now. How are you feeling?
I’m really excited. I mean this is a first experience for me. I usually have this feeling when I’m having a movie coming out.
It’s quite nice to have the same feeling but know it's about my album.
I’m very proud of what I’ve done, and I love the album and the reception so far has been great.
Why did you decide to release an album now?
It was partly me and partly other people who came to me and presented the idea, record producers who knew that I sang.
I sang in Beauty and the Beast and then I did the Queen’s birthday last year. I’ve always wanted to make an album but never pushed it because I was so busy with the movie part of my career.
When it was presented to me, I was like, ‘This is the time, it’s now or never’.
So, like maybe 10 months ago, we started talking about it and that’s how it all came together.
Were there any songs on the album that you struggled with?
I tried to choose songs that I have been singing for a very long time so many of them are a soundtrack to my life.
We all have a soundtrack to our life. Songs that remind us of moments. The first time we left home, our first love, our first heartbreak.
The challenge was not singing them, but it was making them different because they are all well-known tracks that I wanted to reimagine them, and I wanted to take a different journey with the songs.
I slowed down the tempo, changed the key, changed the accompaniment. There are a couple of tracks that I didn’t change because they are already beautiful.
It was more about finding a new life through a song that people know and changing many things. I found that a lot of reactions are people are listening to the lyrics differently.
80 per cent of the tracks are sung by women and have not, if at all, been recorded by a man, so that immediately takes the song into a whole different place.
You’ve covered Cher’s iconic classic ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’. That must have been daunting.
[Laughs] It was a little bit, but it was also great fun. We flip the song on its head so it’s the opposite of what Cher did with it.
We slowed it right down. It had a very melancholy regretful siren sound to it. It was quite tragic in a way because you start listening to the words and realise it’s about regret, not being able to change what you’ve done and life goes on but if you could turn back time, you’d do things differently.
I found myself listening to the lyrics in a very different way by doing that. So, I had to pretend that it wasn’t a Cher song and it was mine for that moment [laughs].
If you could record with anyone who would it be?
It would be one of two people. Adele who I am a huge fan of, and the other person is sadly not with us, that would have been George Michael.
How different was it shooting music videos compared to films?
It was very strange because you’re also singing a song on camera and we recorded the tracks at a higher frame rate so that when it was played at the normal speed, there is a slight slowing on movement but I’m still singing at the same pace as the song when it was recorded.
When we recorded it on camera it was faster so my brain to think quicker to be in the right emotional chat of the song. It was a very odd experience, but I enjoyed it very much.
You’re a singer and actor but is there any other hidden talents you have?
[Laughs] I mean I’m a good cook. I can cut hair. I don’t know why I can cut hair, but I can.
I think my mum was in the hairdressers so often when I was a kid.
I used to leave school and go sit there to wait for her to have her hair done and I would just watch the men get their hair cut and I just learnt the technique from watching them and did it myself. It’s always something to fall back on if this doesn’t work out [laughs].
What is your most memorable moment making this album?
I was shooting season two of The Alienist in Budapest when we started recording the album.
I was shooting Monday to Friday then I would fly home, land just after midnight, go to sleep and wake up super early and go to the recording studio, record all day.
Go back home, go to sleep and do the same on Sunday and then I would fly back to Budapest and shoot all week again.
That was quite challenging and also takes a lot of commitment, energy and focus from going from shooting a very deep, dark, sinister, murder series to singing my own music and going back to the recording studio.
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Will we be expecting a second album?
If people like what I’ve done and I get a great response, which seems to be happening, then I can’t see why there wouldn’t be a second album.
I would like to have more original tracks on the second album. I’ve proved to people I can sing; I am quite diverse in my ability to sing; I can sing different genres so I would like to now show my own ability as a songwriter and in another album that would be fun.
I’d like to tour next year which is definitely on the books.
Your career started in the theatre; would you ever consider returning?
Never say never. I love the live aspect of theatre which is probably why I want to tour with this album next year because there’s nothing as rewarding as performing to an audience who are listening and enjoying what you are doing.
Theatre is very much part of my craft. The problem is, it requires a lot of commitment timewise, and I don’t have that very much.
I have a lot of things I’m filming next year; I’ve got three projects I’m producing and starring in.
Theatre you have rehearsals and you have to commit to like six months and maybe a transfer.
It would have to be something very special for me to commit to it and block out that time to do it.
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Will you be making your Marvel Cinematic Universe debut any time soon?
Oh God, I have no idea. Not that I know of. Never say never. If the role and the story were interesting and the character, yeah why not.
It’s all about story and character. You don’t want to be in it for the sake of being in it, you want to be part of it and have a great role and great message and great character, it’s a lot of things that need to be right to do that.
What would your dream movie role be?
I don’t really have one. I’ve always loved to do different things every time I do a job, I try not to do the same.
I just manage that against all odds so far by trying many, many different characters from studio films to independent films to TV. I’ve really enjoyed them, and I’ve tried to keep them diverse.
I’ve never had a dream job because every time I have been rewarded so well from a personal point of view.
I’ve loved the experience and I’ve challenged myself with roles that I might not have necessarily done before and had to learn something new, or a learn new accent or a period or portray a famous person.
So, you know, if you’re clever and try to hold out sometimes for the roles, they come about. But you have to be selective because otherwise you can be placed in a box and you’ll play the same roles over and over.
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What can we expect from the second season of The Alienist?
It’s gripping, if not more gripping, than the first season. The story is extremely dark. All the main characters are back, and we are all challenged in very different ways.
We have all moved on in our lives, we aren’t the same people we were in season one. There’s definitely been a progression of time and maturity and self-exploration which shows in the characters and how they relate to each other and to new people in the storyline as well.
But it’s a fantastic plot and I think it might even be better than the first season.