He’s a well known face in Australia thanks to his part in hit 10-piece singing group The Ten Tenors, but music star Daniel Belle has also been battling his own demons off stage.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60, the 34-year-old singer has now bravely spoken out about his ongoing battle with mental illness in an effort to persuade others to seek help.
Daniel recently joined his former Les Miserables co-stars for a mental illness charity concert, Epiphanies, performing a series of well-known musical songs to raise money and awareness of mental illness.
“Epiphanies came about because of the diabolical rates of mental illness within the performing arts,” Daniel explained. “I feel like it is a difficult issue that we often overlook in day to day life.
“The awareness is one thing but the understanding of the impact it has not only on performers’ lives but on everyone in society is going to be at the core of doing anything about it.”
He admitted the cause is very close to his heart, as he has previously been treated for anxiety and depression – and still is.
“I have been treated and continue to be for anxiety and depressive disorders and it took a lot of soul searching to realise that seeking help was not a weakness,” he added. “So I encourage others to at least talk about it. So they can have perspective on it and treat it like any other health issue.”
Daniel’s moving comments came as part of a tell-all chat with the whole band, and asked if all 10 of the singers get on well backstage, star James Watkinson said: “Yeah of course, we couldn’t do what we do as often as we do if we weren’t good friends. Half of the charm of our show is the great fun we have on stage, that can’t be faked.”
Of course, performing live always comes with its risks and asked if they’ve ever been forced to cover up any embarrassing errors on stage, Keane Fletcher said it’s happened a lot – but they always take it in their stride.
“When we’re on tour we’re usually dealing with a new space and a new stage for each performance, so every now and then something might go a little awry,” he admitted. “But its usually pretty imperceptible to the audience. A lyric mishap or a wrong move maybe.
“There have only been a handful of times I’ve almost laughed onstage because of someone’s mistake, usually we’re very professional… There was one time in New Zealand when one of the boys forgot his words in a song and turned around to scream for help, but we were all laughing by then so we weren’t much use anyway.”
For each of the group members, juggling their busy tour schedule with quality family time is hugely important – and it turns out their mums and grandmothers are their top supporters.
Paul Gelsumini said: “Family are always good fun when it comes to being proud of their son, grandson etc. My mum is my biggest fan so she is always wanting front row seats and photos for friends. It’s the least I can give my parents considering how much they have done for me.”
Of course, just like their fans, the stars have to face the same questions and wishes from their parents. While two of the singers in the group are currently engaged, and another married, Adrian admitted his mum is desperate for him to settle down now.
“No plans for me to tie the knot anytime soon,” he insisted, adding: “Although I get the question a lot from my mother. I love her, but the pressure is real….”
As well as touring some of the biggest stages in the world, the group have also had the chance to perform alongside some of the world’s biggest musicians – and one stands out in particular to Paul.
“It’s always a massive thrill to meet another performer that you have always admired and even more so when you get to talk with them back stage,” he explained.
“We got that experience again in September last year when we did a TV show in Berlin chatting backstage with Andrea Bocelli and his wife. It was an experience of a lifetime to even be able to thank a world famous tenor for being such a crucial part of so many young tenors’ lives.”
The Ten Tenors will be touring Australia again next year. For more information or to buy tickets, visit their official website here.