An Interview with Giles Taylor

Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic is one of the world’s premier Queen tribute bands. They have  been recreating the Queen 1986 World Tour concert for audiences worldwide for 16 years. The reviews have been nothing but raves. Peter Freestone, who was an assistant and best friend to Freddie Mercury for the final 12 years of his life, said “I’ve not seen another act in the world do it better…”. Respected English performer and multi-instrumentalist Giles Taylor took on the coveted and complex role of Freddie Mercury in the group in 2014. Amidst the 2017 Australian tour, Taylor spoke to Togatus about what it’s like to be part of such a highly esteemed, energetic and dynamic act.


What is your earliest memory of Queen? Were you a fan of Freddie Mercury growing up?

I have always been a Classic rock fan thanks to my father and clearly remember listening to ‘Fat Bottom Girl’s whilst being driven to school as a child.


Can you tell me about how you came to play the role of Freddie Mercury in It’s a Kinda Magic?

Showtime Australia held worldwide auditions for all four characters in this show about five years ago. I was working in London at the time and my agent said there was an Australian production who needed someone with vocal and stage experience but who was also a competent piano player. Having been a session musician for many years and now having moved on to west end shows I was the ideal candidate for the audition process.


How often and for how long do you rehearse?

Rehearsal for a show like this is constant. The music and arrangements are complex, not to mention the harmonies, so we have to be on top of our game. There’s a lot of good Queen tributes out there so we have to work hard to retain our slot at the top.


How do you balance rehearsals and touring with other obligations?

You don’t! That’s like asking a spaceman the same question: there are no other obligations. Once the tour starts your mindset and focus is on the tour and the character. Friends and family get left behind for the duration. That’s just the way it is.


Do you get nervous before a performance?

There a fine line between nerves and adrenaline. I’d like to think the emotions I get before I go onstage are the latter…maybe.


How do you get ready for a show and what’s the hardest part of playing Freddie Mercury?

It takes me about an hour to do my makeup and I stretch for about twenty minutes whilst doing vocal warm-up exercises. The hardest part about replicating Freddie is not the vocals, as most people assume, but the level of fitness that he had. When I’m not at the piano I’m running about constantly.


How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Keep going, always keep going!


What is your favourite Queen song? And which one took you the longest to master?

Fat Bottom Girls is my favourite as it was the first Queen song I remember hearing. Bohemian Rhapsody is the hardest. There are only two tributes in the world that perform the middle section live, we’re one of them.


Do you feel a large amount of responsibility, portraying someone that is so loved by so many?

Most definitely. It’s an honour but also a huge responsibility. It’s like being entrusted with the holy grail of classic rock.


What are your plans for the future?

I have a lot of offers for roles but I am still challenged by this one. Until that challenge goes away then I’m staying put.


Queen: It’s a Kinda Magic’s Australian tour includes a performance in Hobart at the Derwent Entertainment Centre on August 12 at 8pm.


The entire line-up is listed below.

8th May Mandurah Mandurah Performing Arts Centre
11th May Perth Astor Theatre
12th May Albany Entertainment Centre
21st July Newcastle Wests New Lambton
22nd July Port Macquarie Glasshouse
23rd July Tamworth Regional Entertainment Conference Centre
28th July Wollongong Anita’s Theatre
29th July Sydney State Theatre
30th July Canberra National Convention Centre
3rd and 4th August Melbourne The Athenaeum
12th August Hobart Derwent Entertainment Centre
14th August Launceston Princess Theatre
18th August Adelaide Thebarton Theatre
21st August Brisbane QPAC
25th August Toowoomba Empire Theatre


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