Gospel recording artist David Phelps, 44, best known as the tenor in the Grammy Award-winning Gaither Vocal Band, is bringing his trademark voice to the Yukon on March 9.
Phelps' “Classic in Concert” tour is coming to the metro through Muse Concerts and sponsored by Feed The Children.
A songwriter and vocal arranger who has recorded and contributed to numerous solo and group projects, Phelps' vocal abilities and his wide vocal range have made him a popular with fans of all ages.
The Yukon concert will highlight many songs from Phelps' most recent album “Classic,” which was released in 2012.
The recording artist recently shared his thoughts about the album and the resulting concert tour:
Q: What can fans expect from your concert?
A: The “Classic” project is just that: songs, in addition to some new songs, that have a classic kind of sound to them. As usual with me, I'm pretty eclectic when we go out. It's everything from sacred pieces like “The Lord's Prayer” to maybe what you might consider traditional pop like “What a Wonderful World” to Puccini's aria “Nessum Dorma (None Shall Sleep).” It's that music plus things that are kind of classic to me like some great songs of our faith like “No More Night” and other things like that. So, musically, it kind of spans the gamut there. We try to go out and have a great time. People are on their feet, clapping and laughing. We create a real family atmosphere.
Q: What inspired you to focus on the classics?
A: The kind of voice that I have, people have always been asking for that kind of project. At Christmas time, I get to sing a lot of the classics, and it has become a very popular thing for me to do, so I just wanted the opportunity to put my voice and my art on these songs. They are just so incredible, and they've stood the test of time. Even though some of them have been around for a lot of years, they are still very moving for people.
Q: I read that this was the first time you and Bill Gaither worked together on a solo project for you. What was that like?
A: It was very, very good. He's definitely a mentor for me, and he considers himself a teacher and I consider myself a student and always have. I think we both kind of stretched a little bit, and hopefully we'll get to do it again. We're already talking about doing another one.
Q: I heard that it took you over a year to select the songs for the album. What went into the selection process?
A: We had hundreds of songs that we were choosing from, and it's always painful to make those cuts. As you can imagine, you can just name off titles right now that we probably had on the list. We had enough for another project. It was definitely a group decision. On our own we would create lists and come together and compare notes and start trimming the ones that weren't going to make it.
Q: Is there any one particular song that people insist you sing at your concerts or is there a song that they seem to be more passionate about?
A: Well, “In the Beginning” was one of my first songs that touched a nerve, so that's one that people want to hear a lot. “Virtuoso” is kind of an up-tempo praise song that people like a lot. “Nessum Dorma” has also become that way for me. People really want to hear that.
Q: When will you get back into the studio to record another album?
A: I've been writing for a record and collecting songs, so probably later this year we will get into the studio and start making that happen.
Q: What's it like being part of the Gaither Vocal Band?
A: It's a dream come true. As a kid, I dreamed of working with Bill and Gloria (Gaither), and to get to do that has just been pretty amazing. I always tell people that I'm a bigger fan of Bill than I was before I met him. The Gaither Band is interesting like that. It's really a collection of artists, as opposed to just a tenor, a base and a baritone. Everybody has to be able to kind of hold their own by themselves and then come together as a group.
Q: When did you find out that you had such wide vocal range?
A: I grew up singing with my family. That's really were I got my chops, you know. My mom has a great classical soprano voice. As I started singing more and more by myself, I started turning people's heads a little bit. Then I would be asked to sing somewhere. As a high schooler, that's when my voice really started to become something unusual. I was a junior in high school when I had a high C, which is young for a tenor to be able to do that. I was not singing it properly, so my mom said we're going to get you into some voice lessons. I would drive to a university in Texas for voice lessons to make sure I was doing things as well as I could. I feel like I'm still learning. I'm a student of it all, and that makes it fun for me.