THE Manhattan Transfer’s Alan Paul was bitten by the singing bug at a young age while growing up in New Jersey and knew he wanted to make a career out of it by the time he was seven years old.
“My mother was a singer, not professionally, but there was always music in the house and she made opportunities for me to study in New York,” Paul said.
“I was in my first professional job when I was 12 in the original Broadway cast of Oliver as one of Fagan’s gang. It was quite an amazing experience for a 12 year old kid.”
It was while in another original Broadway production of Grease that Paul’s fate would take him from music theatre in to four-piece vocal harmony group The Manhattan Transfer where he met the other members through the production’s drummer in 1972 – Tim Hauser, Laurel Masse and Janis Siegel.
“It was very serendipitous in a way,” Paul said.
“They were looking for a fourth singer and the drummer suggested me, so we talked about the concept and it sounded like a lot of fun. I don’t think any of us ever thought it would become what it did.”
Speaking from his home in LA, Paul said the group’s success began at the end of the Vietnam War where there was a major shift from folk clubs, with songwriters singing about the war, turning in to cabarets.
They had hits with Birdland, Route 66, Chanson D’Amour and The Boy From New York while becoming a “family who loved singing together”.
“We never stopped, there was never a break for The Manhattan Transfer but there have been changes when Laurel Masse left the group in 1979 and Cheryl Bentyne came in,” Paul said.
“And four years ago we lost our partner Tim (cardiac arrest) who was the founder and that was really hard.
“Through all the changes it’s always been healing to have our bond together.”
The group has since recorded new album The Junction with newest member Trist Curless and will perform their hits and new material when at Regal Theatre on March 2.
What: The Manhattan Transfer
Where: Regal Theatre
When: March 2