• Donnington Grove

Tenors Unlimited, the ‘Rat Pack of Opera’

Jem Sharples, Paul Martin, Scott Ciscon


How does it feel to be celebrating the group’s 15th anniversary?

It’s flown by, but professionally 15 years is a great achievement and something to be proud of. Some groups struggle with 15 months! Keeping a group together is like a marriage in that it needs good communication, respect and love and we have that with a good smattering of fun! We have seen and done so much, but the greatest achievement to date is the fact that we all believe there is still so much to do.

How did you all meet?

Scott and Jem met working in London, got on really well and decided to set up a group that would allow us the freedom to do what we wanted to do and write the songs we were passionate about. Paul shared that vision and joined us a couple of years later.

What were the first songs you performed together?

Nessun Dorma was always there but we learnt “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge for a friend’s wedding and it felt as if we were creating a new sound.

How are you celebrating your 15th anniversary?

We never need an excuse to party! Our 15th Anniversary tour is a great way to celebrate.


How did you compile the songs for your new show In Concert with Tenors Unlimited?

As we always do we sit around and argue about it until we are all happy.

It is flexible in that the songs may change during the tour if we feel we want to do that.

What are they?

The best way to describe the show is an ‘eclectic’ mix of repertoire ranging from opera, pop and crooner classics as well as old favourites. These include Everything (Michael Bublé), Unchained (Righteous Brothers), Nella Fantasia, Recipe For Love (Harry Connick Junior), The Pearl Fishers Duet and Nessun Dorma. The group’s repertoire includes songs written by the group themselves such as “Carry You” composed by Paul Martin in aid of charity Harrison’s Fund.

What is the secret to your longevity?

Cups of tea and a belief that we have a message that needs hearing in our songs and unique sound.

What are your plans for the next few years?

To remain healthy and happy and to create great work that people want to see and hear.

You’ve sung alongside so many celebrities such as Sting, Lionel Richie, Beyoncé and Simply Red. Who was your favourite and why?

It’s hard to say as they were all so different to be around with different levels of entourage, etc.  It was, however, a very surreal moment when you find yourself sharing a glass of wine with Sting (and Trudy) after that particular show.  Like you do…

How many songs have you written yourselves?

We are writing a ton of songs at the moment – some that are right for the group, some that are outside the box.  We all enjoy the process and bring our ideas to the table – sometimes very embryonic and sometimes the finished article. 

It’s always great to know that people enjoy your original works alongside some of the best and well known tunes in the world.

How do you find inspiration?

We all work in different ways but often it stems from a thought or a melody that was rattling around in your head and next thing you know, it develops into something bigger and bigger.

You travel round the world. What’s your favourite country and why?

We always feel really welcome when we go to the USA – not to say we’re not welcome elsewhere, of course.  That said, there’s something (obviously) magical about singing in a villa on say, Lake Maggiore in Italy.  If we had to give one answer, Italy might be our favourite at the moment – great food, great wine, fantastic coffee.

Who would you like to sing with?

There are so many artists doing amazing things out there that it would be hard to choose.  I (Scott) would love to record a track with Sting or Seal or even Metallica – now that would be an interesting session!

What’s your current CD?

“The Journey” which can be purchased online from our web site www.tenors.com via iTunes, Amazon and GooglePlay.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

We all have a great passion for cooking (and eating.)  To be honest, there’s not much we won’t eat (or try) and while at home it’s always easy to fire up the BBQ, throw on a few steaks and relax.  When spending a bit more time in the kitchen, you wouldn’t be disappointed with the variety of dishes we all can whip up; anywhere from a French bistro menu, traditional Sunday roast all the way to an authentic Indian curry or two.

Although American, Scott has developed a keen interest in cricket and often opens the bowling for his Sunday side.  Paul has recently started playing for his local club… In fact, we often travel with a cricket bat and ball and have been known to play a few overs before a gig in hotels all over the world.  Jem also loves touch rugby.

What are your backgrounds?

Scott Ciscon is from Chicago, USA and has a background in musicals such as Grease, Rent and Saturday Night Fever. After a call from London’s West End, he moved to the UK playing in Notre Dame de Paris and The Witches of Eastwick.

Paul Martin, born in Sutton Coldfield, is the bass baritone of the group and first discovered his love of music singing in the local church choir and joined the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. He studied voice at the Birmingham Conservatoire and embarked on an opera career, performing with opera companies and ensembles all over Europe, Japan and the USA.

Jem Sharples, born in Hastings, trained privately and at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. His background is in the theatre appearing in ‘Aspects of Love’ (national tour), creating the role of Jesus/The Man in ‘Whistle Down The Wind’ (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham) and Young Scrooge in ‘Scrooge’ opposite the late Anthony Newley (national tour).