Mica Paris: Hologram concerts are 'like visiting Madame Tussauds'

The British soul singer, who will return to the UAE with a tribute show to Aretha Franklin, has qualms with the high-tech alternative

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18:  Mica Paris performs at "An Evening With Mitch Winehouse" in aid of the Amy Winehouse Foundation at The Hippodrome on April 18, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
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Mica Paris has compared watching a hologram concert to a visit to the popular wax museum Madame Tussauds.

The British soul singer made the comments as she prepares her return to Dubai Opera on Thursday, November 14, with a homage concert for the late singer Aretha Franklin.

When asked whether the burgeoning high-tech concert genre – in which a digitised form of an artist sings pre-recorded songs with a live band – could threaten the traditional tribute concert experience, Paris is adamant that both genres can exist amicably.

At present there have been plenty of hologram tours by musical legends such as Roy Orbison (who died in 1988) and James Dio (who died in 2010), as well as opera great Maria Callas (who died in 1977), selling out across Europe, North and South America. Earlier this year, the first hologram performance by the late Egyptian diva Umm Kulthum was held in Saudi Arabia as part of the Winter at Tantora Festival.

"These shows are like paying a visit to Madame Tussauds. It's all right seeing them for a few hours over there, but you don't want to see them in concert. I am not worried about it. People said years ago that the ebook will kill the library and bookshops and that never happened," Paris tells The National.

“That’s because at the end of the day, people are just the real thing. That is just a fact.”

In addition to her own successful solo career, Paris is a renowned cover artist and recently concluded a sold-out international tour dedicated to the music of jazz great Ella Fitzgerald.

Paris was encouraged to bring her new show to Dubai Opera after her Mica Sings Ella show sold out the venue a year ago.

“That was a great surprise and the people really loved it,” she recalls. “We got a request to do a second show but I just couldn’t as I had plenty of other things on and I had to fly back.”

The upcoming Dubai show marks the first time Mica Paris Sings Aretha Franklin has been performed outside the UK. While she says it is too early to see if the show will become a major touring commitment, Paris says the public remains fascinated by Franklin's voice and career.

“She is called the Queen of Soul for a reason,” she says. “She was loved but she was also enigmatic. She had a troubled life but she still managed to touch many people with the beauty of her music. I want to show the people in my own way, why we all just adore her.”

Thursday, November 14, 8pm -11pm; Tickets from Dh150; Dubai Opera; Downtown Dubai; dubaiopera.com