Pop-classical vocal quartet Il Divo have come a long way since music mogul Simon Cowell plucked them from obscurity more than a decade ago.
In a telephone interview ahead of their performance at The Star Theatre on Monday, Swiss tenor Urs Buhler admits that the early years were "difficult".
The other members of the group are American tenor David Miller, 40, Spanish baritone Carlos Marin, 45, and French singer Sebastien Izambard, 41.
"We were complete strangers. I remember an early interview where I said that we were not best friends and we will never be best friends," says Buhler, 42.
"Think about it, we were from completely different social, cultural and national backgrounds. We were four very different people."
He is happy to say that the past 10 years have moulded them into a tighter unit - musically and otherwise.
"Today, we are like family, like brothers. We have been through so much together. There is a very strong and solid union among the four of us. We love one another and we love working with one another. We are like family, that's the best way I can describe it," he says.
Dubbed the world's most successful classical crossover group, the four have achieved much in their time together - more than 50 No. 1 recordings, 160 gold and platinum sales awards in more than 33 countries as well as more than 26 million in album sales.
In 2011, the quartet were presented with the honorary Artist Of The Decade award at the Classic Brit Awards ceremony.
The well-groomed and good-looking group, who have performed twice at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, in 2007 and 2009, will be singing tunes from their sixth and latest studio album, A Musical Affair, says Buhler.
Released late last year, the album features the group taking on Broadway tunes including Tonight from West Side Story, Bring Him Home from Les Miserables and Music Of The Night from The Phantom Of The Opera.
"I think we've put a really beautiful show together. We're going to single songs out of each musical, so it's not going to be like a musical with a single storyline, but we are going to try for each song to create a tableaux as such that will get the audience in the mood for the song and for the story of what the song is about.
"People are going to enjoy it," he says confidently.
Buhler, who is now based in London, says that he is used to "living out of the suitcase", due to the group's extensive world tours.
While he enjoys travelling and singing in different countries all over the world, his big lament is that he does not get to spend much time with his American girlfriend, with whom he shares a house in Los Angeles.
"I don't spend a lot of time with her there because I'm always travelling," he says.
"I would be lying if I said it's easy. Sometimes, I have all these great experiences and she's half a world away, and all we can do is
Skype, text or make a phone call. But it's just not the same as hanging out at our home together."
IL DIVO: A MUSICAL AFFAIR - LIVE IN SINGAPORE
Where: The Star Theatre
When: Monday, 8.30pm
Admission: $138, $168, $198 and $238 from Sistic (go to www.sistic.com.sg or call 6348-5555). $98 and $278 tickets are sold out
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