Singer and performer Daniele Alan-Carter talks to Ruth Comerford about carving out his career as an immigrant in London, and recording bilingual Disney videos…
What was the most recent show you have done?
A German tour of Altar Boyz. It was produced by the company OffStage, founded by a friend of mine, which takes less mainstream Broadway musicals and translates them for European audiences. The musical is about five men named after the evangelists, who are touring the world to convert people to Catholicism. It’s not a religious show though – definitely more of a comedy.
How did you get into the industry?
I was born in Italy and the first thing I saw on stage was the opera Madama Butterfly. I fell in love with the theatrical representation of music, but I also loved the acting and singing that was telling the story. I started to get more involved in theatre and discovered musical theatre. But in Italy, where opera and ballet dominate, it’s not a mainstream genre – not as well known as in the UK or on Broadway. After receiving my high-school diploma, I went to an acting school to do my BA. I worked on a musical directed by Roman Polanski, and that took me to France and Germany. Then I moved to London to pursue musical theatre, so I had to start again from the very beginning.
What challenges did you face when starting out?
Like any foreigner, I had to accept that I will never sound British or American, and because the shows are in English, immigrants may find it a struggle to be cast in some leading roles. Finding work in London was a challenge – the competition is so tough because performers have been trained to do everything. You need to find a way to sell yourself.
Tell me about your Disney videos.
Michael [Heller, director of OffStage] and I had the idea of recording one of the lead solos from a show we were doing in different languages. The audience loved the fact that we could tell the same story in different ways, and we could reach more people. It delivers a story in a way that feels really inclusive. I started to do Disney songs because they’re what I grew up with – I was a real Disney kid. I speak three languages, and in London there are so many different cultures, so it makes it easier to make friends if you can communicate. I pick the songs that mean a lot to me – the ones that bring back a lot of memories and emotions.
What advice would you give to emerging actors?
I tried to hide who I was, where I was from and my background in an effort to fit in, because I thought that was what the industry wanted. Most times, the fact that I sound different, or approach a score or text differently, brings something valuable. The bare bones of this job is trying to convey emotion and tell stories, so it doesn’t matter which language or accent you do it in. It speaks to people anyway. Don’t suppress who you are.
Training: BA in acting, Accademia Nazionale di Arte Drammatica Silvio D’Amico, Rome (2012-15)
First professional role: Romeo and Juliet pop opera, national tour (2007)
Agent: Russell Smith Associates
Daniele Alan-Carter’s music videos can be found on YouTube, including his most recent bilingual version of Into the Unknown from Frozen 2