From busking at markets six months ago to survive, South Africa’s Dominic Warren is now living his dream, having been cast as Freddie Mercury to headline the We Are The Champions - The Queen Tribute world tour which opened last night.
“It’s an amazing honour and reward to have received this role. I’m unbelievably delighted to be playing Freddie, a role that is challenging and allows me to grow as a musician. It’s a huge role - I have to admit
“I’m nervous,” he said.
Warren has always been a massive Queen fan. “I’m grateful that I can live part of my dream, travelling the world and now supporting a comfortable and exciting life through music”.
It’s a long way from the small town of Winterton, situated on the banks of the Tugela River in the foothills of the Drakensberg, to the spotlight and international stages of Canada, America, New Zealand and Russia.
He first attended the Drakensberg Boys Choir School, before moving to Kearsney College for Grades 10 to 12.
Brett Alborough, Kearsney’s head of music, said Warren always had the complete Freddie package.
“There are other singers with Freddie’s incredible range, but Dominic captures his stage persona too. It’s uncanny.”
Alborough said as a young schoolboy, Warren had something special. The iconic Somebody to Love was just one of the numbers which he mastered whilst at school.
Warren was able to showcase his talent on the world stage whilst at Kearsney, where he performed with and ultimately led the internationally-acclaimed Kearsney College Choir, winning gold medals at the World Choir Games in China and in Cincinnati, US.
His talent and presence were recognised when he was awarded the music trophy at Kearsney for outstanding solo performance.
The quietly spoken, modest 26-year-old will perform lead vocals and piano in Freddie Mercury’s original key, in a show promising all the wit, charm and bravado of the legend himself, with big sound, big screens, crazy lighting and outlandish costumes.
This Showtime Australia production recreates Queen’s 1986 world tour concert, featuring more than 20 of the band’s greatest hits, including We Will Rock You, We Are the Champions, Radio GaGa, Want to Break Free, Somebody to Love, Don’t Stop Me Now, Another One Bites the Dust, A Kind of Magic and Bohemian Rhapsody.
Bringing back the spectacle, grandeur and energy of the great rock band Queen, the international show will have a six-performance run at Sun International’s Carnival City before continuing its world tour.
After finishing school, Warren was offered a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Sadly, the month before he was due to leave for the US, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which resulted in him having to relinquish the scholarship.
While contemplating his future, Dominic headed to Cape Town to re-join Mobbing Bali, the band he had started at school, playing at some of the country’s big music festivals, including Rocking the Daisies, River Republic and Up the Creek.
“In 2014, I decided to study further and enrolled at the University of Cape Town to study classical music, focusing on baroque.
“Music is a tough industry, and after varsity, I freelanced as a classical singer around the Western Cape and basically gigged at hotels and markets in Cape Town in order to survive.”
Earlier this year, Warren auditioned for the Queen production when Showtime Australia was in Cape Town with its Michael Jackson show.
And the rest, as they say, is history; as the enormously talented Freddie Mercury fan takes to the global stage to perform his idol’s iconic music.