Thursday, July 21, 2011

Interview with Allan Scott-Douglas & Outlander the Musical CD giveaway

Millions of fans worldwide know and love Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. The life journey of Jamie and Claire Fraser is captured in these beloved books which are highly ranked by readers everywhere. Youtube video after Youtube video, fans have flocked to create their own imagined version of the Outlander cast or ideal for a movie or stage production. But only one man has the full endorsement of Diana Gabaldon herself. That man is Scotland’s own ginger-haired multi-talented, Allan Scott-Douglas.


Fresh from his recent gig on the Beatles Musical Tour that played to standing ovations all across Italy, I am ecstatic to have him as a guest on my blog today.
Allan, I know that you are very busy so I thank you so much for making time to answer some questions and allowing us to get to know you better. 

First, let me congratulate on the huge success of “Outlander the Musical” CD. Back in September 2010, I received my fresh copy all the way from Scotland. I played it until I knew all the words and I immediately downloaded to my iPod. To this day, it is my most listened to playlist. I’ve seen “Outlander the Musical” on Amazon’s Top Seller list fluctuate as high as #4. How does it feel knowing your beautiful voice is being played all over the world? 
Thank you very much! To be honest, I still find the whole thing a bit surreal... The fan base that Diana’s books have is absolutely phenomenal so I sort of knew there was always a slight chance that the CD could really fly, but I honestly couldn’t ever have envisioned just how well it’s been doing, and how far it seems to have reached. To date, I’ve had messages of support and congratulations from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Australia, South Africa, Turkey, Germany, France, Russia, the U.K. and Ireland...and probably a few more besides, so apologies if I’ve forgotten anyone!


In terms of the CD’s place on the Amazon Best Seller’s list, I think the most amazingly humbling moment was when Les Miserables was having it’s huge worldwide 25th Anniversary celebrations, which included a star-studded performance at the O2 Arena in London which was screened live to over 100 cinemas worldwide and a brand new 25th Anniversary Edition CD – in their anniversary week, when their celebrations were in full flow and #LesMis25 was a worldwide Twitter trending topic...Outlander The Musical outsold Les Mis - comfortaby! (if memory serves, we were some 5 or 6 places above them for the entire week) Being a huge Les Mis fan myself, that was the moment that really made me go ‘wow, this thing could be absolutely huge!’ 


Can you tell us how you came about earning the lead role as Jamie for “Outlander the Musical” CD and how long did it take to record those beautiful songs?
Pure dumb luck really... A wonderful actress named ‘Anne Kane Howie’, with whom I had recently performed in a critically acclaimed new imagining of the legend of King Arthur, contacted me and said that a writer/director friend of hers (Mike Gibb) was looking for someone to record a few songs for a CD and that the character was tall and red-haired. When she mentioned me to Mike she basically said ‘I worked with Allan on ‘King Arthur’, he’s tall and ginger, but I’ve got no idea if he can sing or not...’. 

Fortunately Mike contacted me and asked me to have a look at one of the songs from the CD (‘I Am Ready’) and come up to Dundee to audition for him and his fellow writer Kevin Walsh – I was suffering with a very bad throat infection at the time so I feared the worst but, fortunately (depending on whether you believe in fate or not) my voice held up and they offered me the job there and then!


For my part, I think I was Kevin’s recording studio for about 4 days in total to get all of the songs the way we all wanted them...and I was delighted with the results when the CD was edited and ready to go!


Have you read any of the Outlander series?


I have! I’ve read ‘Outlander’ itself (‘Cross Stitch’ in the UK) twice now and absolutely love it! I’ve also read the wonderful graphic novel ‘The Exile’ too, which gave me a fantastic insight into Jamie’s side of the story... I have started reading book two, ‘Dragonfly in Amber’, (it’s actually sitting next to me as I’m writing this) but people keep giving me jobs and auditions that rather inconveniently pull my attention away from the plight of the Frasers, sporadically! But I’ll get there – I’m really taken by the whole Outlander world and desperately want to learn more...




At several book signings and conventions, Diana Gabaldon has passed around your picture announcing that you are her choice for Jamie. Other than the obvious height, hair, and (swoon-worthy) Scottish accent, how do you feel you measure up?
First off – I am beyond humbled that Dr. Gabaldon has taken such a positive view of me as an actor, and a person, to such an extent that she has willingly stated publically that I would be “her choice”. That in itself, regardless of what may or may not happen in the future, is a massive personal and professional highlight in my life thus far! Thanks again Dr. G!!!!

In terms of how I ‘measure up’...wow, I don’t honestly know how anyone could answer that. Jamie Fraser is a hero. A true romantic warrior if ever there was one. I’m just me – a jobbing actor from Edinburgh, trying to make a living doing what I love. But I guess if there are any traits in Jamie that I could see in myself it would be his sense of humour (Diana has always said that is one of the main reasons she “sees” Jamie in me) and his absolute devotion to his family and friends. My family and friends are the most important thing in my life and always will be – I think if I was ever to do anything truly ‘heroic’, it would be for them and they would give me the strength to do it.


In my introduction I said “millions of fans worldwide”. For me, if Diana Gabaldon, the genius behind these masterfully written books picks you, then you’re my Jamie. I trust her. How hard is it to deal with such passionate fans who disagree? It must be tough to read negative reviews.
The wonderful thing about the Outlander series is exactly what you mentioned; the ‘passionate fans’. Without those fans, the books wouldn’t have been the success they are and ‘Outlander the Musical’ and any future movie or television series would never exist. For that reason, I have huge respect for the opinions of the Outlander fan base – both good and bad. It would be absolutely impossible for any actor to be ‘Jamie’ (or Claire, or Black Jack, or Dougal etc etc) in the eyes of every single fan – or perhaps even in the eyes of the majority. Everyone who reads these amazing books, or listens to the wonderful audio versions, will have ‘their’ idea of these characters formed in their heads very firmly – especially afer 20 years!

I have always said from the very beginning of my involvement with ‘Outlander the Musical’ that I fully respect every fan’s right to voice their opinion whether it be glowingly positive (of which there have been a truly over-awing number) or deeply negative. All I can say is that everything I’ve done in relation to Outlander, and anything I may do in the future, comes from a place of true love, respect and passion for the story and characters as I have come to know them – I am honoured to be a part of this unique community and will always be deeply grateful for any support, advice and feedback that I receive. It just shows how much people genuinely care about this series, and that is THE most important thing...



Okay, so let’s learn a bit more about you! I understand you recently visited the USA. First you were in Vegas, and then New York. What can you tell us about your experiences in those two cities? Any plans for future visits?

I LOVE THE U.S.!! America was the first country, outwith the U.K., that I ever visited. When I was 18, I had the wonderful opportunity to work at a summer camp in Derby, Vermont. I had the time of my life that summer; teaching drama, music, sports and even archery and riflery believe it or not. (it was a 4-H camp...)


Being invited to perform in Las Vegas at the 6th Annual Gerard Butler Fan Convention (in aid of ‘The Shade Tree’ abuse shelter) was an absolutely wonderful experience! I was made to feel like a king all weekend and met some of the loveliest (and craziest) people I’d ever encountered!  They made me feel so welcome and like a proper ‘celebrity’ despite me being totally bemused that any of them even know who on earth I was in the first place. They have been kind enough to ask me to return next year so, schedule permitting, I am hugely looking forward to another wonderful weekend with the GALS in Sin City!


New York was somewhere I had always wanted to see – especially coming from a musical theatre background – and I was fortunate enough to have a gap in my schedule which allowed me to spend a week in the city just being a proper tourist! In Madeira, Italy and Vegas (to a lesser extent) I had been working so hard that I didn’t get much of a chance to just see the place I was in so I made the most of my time in New York, to say the least! I saw FOUR Broadway shows, did the Empire State Building, a sunset cruise to the Statue of Liberty and had some of the most amazing food ever! (even giving Italy a run for it’s money) I even had the chance to create my very own ‘Muppet’ at the Whatnot Workshop in FAO Schwartz – his name is ‘Frank Monster’ and he’s an aspiring Vegas lounge singer...watch out Donny!!)

My time in New York also happened to coincide with ‘ThrillerFest 2011’ so I was ‘thrilled’ to be able to catch up with Diana and even had the honour of being interviewed with her for a very popular web-based literary television channel. That was a very exciting and unexpected bonus!

 


If you had to move to Canada or USA for a production of some kind, besides family, what would you miss most about Scotland? And what wouldn’t you miss?
I’ll answer the second part first because it’s much  easier – the weather!! I remember a conversation I had with one of the Italian technicians while I was in Italy – it was a particularly horrible rainy day in Florence and he said to me “we have a word for days like this in Italian” (I won’t repeat exactly what he said it as it is a little less than polite – but basically ‘a lot of excrement’), “really?” I replied, “we have a word for days like this in Scotland too. Tuesday!”  I’m not sure he got it exactly, what with the language barrier and all, but my point was that weather like that was so common in Scotland that is wasn’t even worthy of special mention any more...


As for what I’d miss most, besides friends and family as you say, I think it would have to be the food – where else in the world would you take something as unhealthy as pizza and think “that’s not quite bad enough for me yet...I think I’ll deep fry it!”. We will deep fry absolutely anything! Mars Bars are particularly popular, though I’m more partial to a Curly-Wurly personally!


I am dying to travel to Scotland. I’ve read so many books where Scotland is the main setting. What is one misconception you think a traveller would have about Scotland? (Men really do walk around in kilts all day, right?!?!)
Yep, we all walk around in Kilts, chasing Haggis and tossing cabers until the cows come home...


I’m not sure it qualifies as a misconception but my favourite incorrect assumption about Scotland actually happened while I was in New York recently. We were taking a ride on a Rickshaw (which you really shouldn’t do if you have more than 100 yards to travel – unless you want to sign over your life savings) and the driver/cyclist was from Mexico. “Where you from?” he asked. “Scotland” I replied. “Wow,” he immediately retorted “your English is really good for someone from Scotland! They don’t speak English there do they?” “No,” I said, somewhat humouring him, “we speak Scottish!”





What’s on the horizon for you right now? Any more tours?
Right now, I’m frantically learning lines and songs for my next project, ‘Red Harlaw’. It was written by Mike Gibb (one half of the Outlander team) and is set during the Battle of Harlaw in the North East of Scotland in 1411. This was a particularly bloody battle involving an army from the Highlands & Islands who wanted to march south to destroy and claim as many Scottish towns as possible. I play a character who volunteers to fight to protect Aberdeen from this marauding horde despite knowing that the Aberdonian army would be massively outnumbered by the invaders from the north. The script is very cleverly written and genuinely touching and the songs add something very special at the right moments too. We will be performing in St. Nicholas’ Church in Aberdeen on ‘Tartan Day’ (July 30th) – the very same place where we launched ‘Outlander the Musical’ exactly one year before...and what a year it has been! Diana Gabaldon is a guest of the Lord Provost of Aberdeen for the Tartan Day celebrations so will be in attendance for one of our performances of ‘Red Harlaw’ too.


Five interesting things about Allan Scott-Douglas you want us to know?

1.       I started out training to become a Primary (Elementary) School teacher.
2.       I once spent a week living in a Buddhist monastery.
3.       I love reptiles and would really like to have a Komodo Dragon as a pet.
4.       My favourite band are actually Canadian!! The Barenaked Ladies!
5.       I make the best paella anywhere outside of Spain!






Flash round Q&A

Favourite song to sing for auditions
Ballad – ‘Why God, Why?’ from Miss Saigon.
Upbeat – ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ by Queen (though sometimes the Michael Buble version...)

Favourite actor & actress (any country)
Actress –  Audrey Tautou, Kate Winslet
Actor – Kevin Spacy, Paul Giamatti, David Wynham

Favourite Scottish dish
Haggis, Neeps & Tatties.

Most played song on your iPod or MP3/electronic device
Right now, the entire cast recording of ‘The Book of Mormon’.

First thing you do when you get up in the morning
Shamefully, check my Twitter/Facebook/emails...

Favourite beverage
White Russian. (or Irn Bru for a soft drink)

Favourite season
I actually really like winter! I love the snow...

How many languages do you speak?
Fluently, just English.


I do speak Italian quite well now though and I’m ok with German and Spanish.


In your opinion, one place a tourist in Scotland must see and why?

Edinburgh, of course! We have one of the most colourful histories of any city and are home to THE largest arts festival in the world!

What’s one question that I didn’t ask you today that you hoped I had?
Where is the one place in the world that you haven’t visited yet, for work or pleasure, that you’d most like to see?
I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture so that’s top of my list – followed by Australia as I have family there I would really love to visit! (in case they’re reading this; Dougie, Jackie, Jordan & Shannon - I promise I’ll do my best to come and visit soon!)

Thank you so much for taking the time once again to answer some questions for a group of book lovers. I really do wish you all the best, and if I ever do get overseas and you’re in a production somewhere in Scotland, I’ll aim for front row seats!

You can follow Allan on Twitter (it’s like being a fly on the wall watching Allan and Diana chat) at:
@Actor_Allan

Or please join him on Facebook here:



Or his website here:


One lucky commenter will win a copy of “Outlander the Musical” from Amazon. If I happen to get 25 comments or more, I'll draw for a total of 2 CDs. (I love this CD and want you to as well) 



Update - Aug 14/11 Although the CD giveaway is over, please feel free to continue to post comments. I will ensure Allan receives them. 


48 comments:

Karen Henry said...

Great interview! I've recently begun listening to "OUTLANDER: The Musical" again, for the first time in 8 months or so, and it holds up really well to repeated listening. Allan Scott-Douglas has a wonderful voice, and a tremendous range of emotional expression. I would really encourage anyone who hasn't yet heard the CD to give it a try.

Karen

Jennifer said...

I had no idea there was "Outlander: The Musical"! I can't imagine what that would be like, but I'm dying to find out!
So, good wishes, Allan, and where's the picture of you in a kilt?

jenemard(at)yahoo(dot)ca

Alicia said...

I just got my 20th Anniversary Edition of Outlander and listened to the the Sampler that came with the book. I LOVE IT! I would really like to have the full cd.
Allan Scott-Douglas, I wish you the best in all you do! You have a beautiful voice!

Julia said...

Allan, I've been cheering you on ever since I got my hands on the Outlander back in January. You really do bring Jamie to life! I hope you do more recordings in the future because I would love to be able to listen to more of your beautiful voice.

Julie said...

What a fascinating interview! It was so wonderful getting to know you, Allan! I'm a huge fan of the Barenaked Ladies too! I love that you sing ‘Why God, Why?’ from Miss Saigon for your auditions. That's one of my most favourite musicals, for the music alone. I just adore it. Best of luck to you! :)m

Darlene said...

I am huge Outlander fan and would love to win. Thanks for sharing this great interview.

Donna said...

Good luck!! I loved the Outlander Series. Donna

dkmtheriot@yahoo.com

Christine said...

Great interview. I think Allan would make a great Jamie (with longer hair of course)!
Allan, good luck with all your future projects, and thanks for a great CD.

Deniz Bevan said...

What a great interview! Barenaked Ladies and loving snow? You should definitely come to Canada for a while - Montreal specifically :-)
Funny that, your use of the word "outwith" - the only other person I know who uses that is a Scottish colleague!

StarbossaW13 said...

All the best wishes to you, Allan, in everything that life throws your way. Hopefully one day I'll get the chance to go to Scotland and experience everything mentioned! I actually didn't know anything about the Outlander series until I watched the Vegas Live Feed for the convention mentioned. The songs performed there really piqued my interest, and I finally read the book. LOVED it!

starbossa_1341@yahoo.com

Mercedes said...

Hi Allen,

I really enjoyed your interview. I have listened to the sample CD of Outlander and really enjoy the music.
if Diana says" Your Jamie" then you are Jamie. Enjoy the ride!

Sincerely,

Mercedes

P.S. Don't stop reading Outlander. It is the Greatest story EVER write, besides the Bible.
email address:Princess1965@live.com

Margaret said...

Wonderful interview! Thanks for chatting with us, Allan!

mkethridge1 (at) gmail (dot) com

Audiobooklover said...

Thanks for the fabulous interview! And, best of luck to Allan in all of his current and future endeavors. :-)

Jennifer Baker said...

Diana had sung this man's praises for months. Jamie had been my dream man for 20 years.

Thank you, Allan for bringing this man to life. Good luck to you and in everything you do.

Deb Wood said...

Great interview with an actor who's on the way up! I look forward to the inevitable Outlander movie, and know Allan will be our Jamie. It's such a great series, and will capture everyone's attention.

Best of luck, Allan. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of you, soon!

Deborah Wood
Kansas City Metro Area, USA
skylark at kc dot rr dot com

MonaSanDiego said...

Allan, I hope the Outlander work will be the role of a lifetime for you. Being new to the Outlander series myself, I have throughly enjoyed hearing you sing the songs highlighting the book.

And if its weather you are looking for, well come to San Diego, CA. We have a Shakespeare festival over the summer too.
No haggis that I know of though. We'll make you feel welcome. Mona

JM said...

What a fantastic interview! I'm in the middle of book 1 and I already love it. Im glad you liked the states, too.
You have my vote for the potential movie.
Authorjmmadden at g mail dot com.

Stephanie Fuller said...

I've not actually heard any of the "Outlander: The Musical"stuff before, but I absolutely love the books and recommend them to anyone that hasn't read them. I do have to say that I started following Allan on Twitter/Facebook because of his association w/Outlander and I love reading his tweets. He seems like a very nice and down to earth guy who loves what he does.

Christy said...

Great interview. Allan Scott-Douglas has a great voice. I also trust Diana so he is my pick for Jamie too.

mbknyy said...

Enjoyed the interview. Allan seems a great guy; I also enjoy following him on Twitter (via Diana Gabaldon's recommendation) and rooting for him as he auditions, or just reading about his travels. I haven't heard "Outlander: The Musical" but am enjoying the books (I'm on #5) and would love to hear Allan's take on Jamie. Best wishes in all your future endeavors, Allan!
mbknyy@gmail.com

Mrs Cookie said...

Great interview! I mentioned ages ago on twitter that you were well on your way to being famous and this interview is one step closer!

Keep up the good work and with your talent and looks you'll be a household name in no time.


Louise (aka @jamiefraserfan)

P.S. I can't enter the comp as I'm in the UK! Boo Hoo!

Cait said...

I discovered the Outlander series only last year and have devoured all the books! I had no idea it had been made into a musical, and I'm so excited there's another way to enjoy the story! Thanks so much for sharing the interview!

Dayna Linton said...

Great interview, Allan! For those who haven't had the privilege of hearing Allan's voice, he's WONDERFUL! Not only is he talented, he is FUNNY, personable, and just an all around good guy.

Allan gave of his time and talents (and a personal heirloom) for our Vegas con (and auction) and he stole our hearts.

Thanks also to Diana who donated several items for our auction to raise funds for The Shade Tree Shelter, a shelter for women, children, teens and their pets.

Best of luck to all involved with this 20th anniversary event, I know it's going to be FANTASTIC!

irish said...

Great interview. I was lucky enough to be one of those crazy GALS Allan was talking about in Vegas. His voice as Jamie is amazing (and he is also quite good at Phantom of the Opera).

Wishing you great success in Aberdeen next weekend Allan.

Thanks for the great interview!

Sue (irish)

kayspringsteen said...

I have followed Jamie and Claire from the beginning...so many years ago now. Great interview and giveaway.

Melissa said...

I was another lucky GAL to meet Allan in Vegas. I was running sound for the convention so I was able to do the sound checks plus watch him perform! Great times, and I also became a big fan over that weekend. Thanks for this interview, it was a lot of fun to read!

amber polo said...

Great interview. I think the musical will be fabulous, like the graphic novel, another look at the most romantic couple.

Jennifer St. Giles said...

Great Interview A Scot with heart who can sing, make you feel it, and make you laugh too. Much well deserved success !!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great interview. Allan you are also a great Phantom. I was one of the viewers of the Gerard Butler Virtual Convention. Allan you really wowed us with your singing as Jamie Fraser and the Phantom.

Best wishes,

Shamrocked

shamrockmomdg@aol.com

ElizaKo said...

What I liked most about the interview is Allan's ability to speak beyond the question. The depth he shows here tells so much about him as an actor, and I think no matter what happens he is going to be very successful. And I do see the humor side here that Diana speaks of- and several times on Twitter and Facebook he has made me laugh out loud. Allan's journey is definitely one to follow, and he seems like a real Mensch- something to be said in this day and age. He has been an inspiration to me in many ways, and I appreciate him fully for that.
Allan, I wish you the best in all you do, but of course, I wish you most of all, Jamie. I have heard the bits and pieces of the CD online, and I have intended for so long to buy it, but it never seems to work out. The music is hauntingly beautiful, and just one more layer added to the Fraser saga. I am sure you are quickly winning hearts across the world.
Again, all my best,
Eliza in DC

KsTwiMom said...

Allan, I am loving following your career. What a terrific interview.
Jan Humphreys

Sara said...

Absolutely love Allan's voice on Outlander the Musical and was fortunate to hear him perform live in Vegas as well. Much much luck in the future and would love to see you come back to Vegas with us next year too!

Anonymous said...

Great interview Michelle, thanks!

Allan, I've worn out my OUTLANDER,THE MUSICAL CD listening to your beautiful voice; but it's the emotion you put behind the voice that makes me listen to you over and over.

Hey, anyone who can make a tone-deaf Jamie sing is magical in my book!

Connie

Moira said...

Thanks for all you did at Gerard Butler Fanvention you made alot of new fans that weekend. Good luck

Ana said...

Allan - I had no idea that there was a musical, but what a treat for us that you became Jamie. Thank you for all you do and best of luck always!
Ana
edwardsjarje@gmail.com

Laurie (lulu) said...

I'll confess I've never read the books. But, I enjoyed the interview. Allan Scott-Douglas gave very thoughtful answers to the questions and you can really tell he cares about the fans of the books. I wish him success in all of his future projects.

Thank you,
Laurie (lulu)

Anonymous said...

Oh Laurie! You need to pick up a copy of OUTLANDER. You'll never look back. Lol!

Connie

kimcatus said...

Good luck Allan; I truly think you make THE perfect Jamie, and what a great interview! :)

I have listened to excepts of Outlander The Musical and would love to win a copy of the CD!

Thanks for the opportunity...and what a great blog

kimcatus said...

Since my e-mail doesn't seem to be working through my profile....

kimcatus at gmail dot com

Thanks again and good luck to everyone! :)

Marcie said...

Great interview! You do speak great English-for a Scotsman :D

Madison said...

Michelle, this was the best interview I've read in a while. Great job. You had an easy rapport with Allan, and it showed.
I now must check out this CD, and keep tabs on this young man, he sounds like the type of person you'd like to meet, have a beer with, and ask. "How's your day going?"

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed.

Janie

oorjanie at yahoo dot com

beatrice said...

I had seen The Beatles Musical (Yes, I'm italian!) and it was fantastic! In fact Isaw it 2 times! (SOrry but I don't speak very well English)

Anonymous said...

That was fascinating! Follow you and Writer DG on twitter, Allan, and still learned more about you here. Thanks, anotherlookbookreviews

Celine said...

Great interview Allan! You're such a nice guy with a wonderful voice. I hope it takes you far. Fingers crossed you can make Vegas next year, best of luck!

Michelle McCleod said...

Very cool interview! I didn't know there was a CD out! I have some catching up to do on the Outlander series!

M

MichelleKCanada said...

Thank you all for participating and commenting. There is such a kinship with Outlander fans!

I am pleased to share that Jennifer (comment 2) & Mercedes (comment 11) were the lucky randomly drawn winners of the Outlander the Musical CDs.

Diana Gabaldon said...

Great interview! And lovely comments as well. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful response to OUTLANDER, and thanks to Allan for his wit and humor!

Look forward to seeing you in "Red Harlaw" nextweekend!

--Diana