Warning: this interview may make you reach for the nearest plate of carbs. Like millions of others, Tony Hadley, ex-Spandau Ballet, has a weakness for Italian cuisine, and would elect to eat pasta as his only meal for the rest of time if he had to. Ahead of his March 7 concert at Taste of Dubai — an annual three-day food festival taking place at Media City Amphitheatre, which features all sorts of global delicacies from top chefs — the singer dishes about his new album, hard lessons learnt, and the recipe for a perfect meal.
Q: What has changed since the last time you performed in the UAE in 2017?
A: I have released a new album ‘Talking To The Moon’, which has been really well received. We had album of the week on BBC Radio 2, and single of the week with ‘Tonight Belongs To Us’ in the UK.
Q: Which country or city have you most enjoyed performing in and why?
A: Some of the craziest audiences are in Italy. They are very emotional and passionate so it is always fun to play across the country… I always enjoy the amazing food.
Q: If you could sit across from yourself when you were first starting out as a musician, what would be your advice to yourself?
A: This business is full of sharks. It shouldn’t be, but unfortunately it is. I would advise any new young band to get good, independent legal advice before signing anything.
Q: Last time we spoke, you mentioned your daughter Zara has a great voice. Is she still liking singing?
A: Zara loves singing. She’s about to take her exams at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where she has to perform two songs in front of an adjudicator. Without being biased, she has come a really long way and is doing incredibly well for a 12-year-old. However, I wouldn’t advise her to go in to the music business anytime soon.
Q: What projects are you most focused on this year?
A: I will be continuing to promote the album in different parts of the world… I’m also working on new songs and ideas for the next album. Although artists are not making albums in the way they used to and sales can be poor, I still think it is important to have the music out there. As much as I like singing True and Gold, I really enjoy singing my new material and seeing the great response it is receiving. I’m very happy about that.
Q: What foods are you most looking forward to sampling at Taste of Dubai?
All of them — especially oriental and spicy. Whilst I love Italian food, when I think of Dubai I think spices, tangy and zing. Looking forward to it.
Q: Is there a food you’ve tried before and immediately regretted?
A: No, never. I’m a real foodie. Can’t say I have ever had anything that vile.
Q: What’s a food that everyone seems to love, but you can’t get behind?
A: Beetroot — I don’t get that at all. Rice pudding — I have too many memories of eating it as a child.
Q: If you could pick one dish as your speciality to cook, what would it be?
A: It would have to be a traditional English Sunday Roast — roast beef, roast potatoes, loads of vegetables and Yorkshire pudding. I’m a big fan of Sunday family lunches.
Q: Finally, if you can only eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
A: Probably spaghetti alla vongole with bruschetta and a salad.
Don’t miss it!
Taste of Dubai runs from March 7 to 9 at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. The first day kicks off at 4pm, with the event starting at noon on the second and third days. Standard tickets are priced at Dh95, while VIP tickets start at Dh285. More details and the full schedule on Tasteofdubaifestival.com