At last, says Luke Evans with a grin – after a decade in musical theatre, and another decade in movies and television, the Welsh actor is finally able to fully dive into his first love: singing.
“If you know anything about my past, you know I come from singing,” begins the man who, in his mid-teens, was taught at musical college in Cardiff by Charlotte Church’s singing coach, and then won a scholarship to London Studio Centre.
But, for a long time, his other performance skills took over. Evans’ thriving West End career saw him appear in Taboo, Rent, Miss Saigon and Avenue Q. Then his even-more-thriving film career took him from Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll to Clash of the Titans, The Three Musketeers to Fast & Furious, Dracula Untold to The Hobbit and Beauty and the Beast. At least in the latter, playing Gaston in Bill Condon's 2017’s blockbuster live-action reboot, he had the opportunity to sing. And yet…
“I’ve always dreamt of having a solo album, something that would just be my voice,” he admits. “And it didn’t happen back then. But then doing movies upped my profile massively – and then came Beauty and the Beast. And alongside that I sang for The Queen’s birthday at the Royal Albert Hall last year, alongside Kylie Minogue, Jamie Cullum, Sir Tom Jones and Sting in the finale. And a lot of people’s ears pricked up after that – they were, like wow, he can sing.”
Evans better get used to that enthusiastic response. Because, finally, here is At Last. It’s a solo album of 12 show-stopping covers, with the song choices compiled from the actor’s lifelong love of music. Their deliveries sent soaring by Evans’ powerful tenor and the glorious instrumentation of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Whether it’s Cher’s If I Could Turn Back Time or Roberta Flack’s take on First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, U2’s With Or Without You or Les Misérables’ Bring Him Home, Evans proves himself a singer of range, reach, passion and considerable skill.