The Tenors are a group of talented, creative and strong-willed personalities that are achieving fast-rising success. After an acclaimed debut album, the artists formerly know as The Canadian Tenors are preparing for the release of their second album this fall. They’ve recently performed for the Queen at her Jubilee celebrations in London, as well as for Oprah, David Foster and other celebrities.
What’s not obvious to people watching their live performances is that The Tenors are not just a musical group; they’re also a business venture. Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters, Remigio Pereira and Victor Micallef are, in some ways, business partners even more than stage partners. Yes, they’re committed to creating great art. But they’re also committed to creating great profit as co-owners of the business that produces that art. The quality of their stage performance begins with the quality of their business relationship.
As in any business partnership, the creative sparks fly and tensions sometimes mount. Misunderstandings are almost always about roles and responsibilities in the process of writing, producing and delivering a great product. The group’s members came together almost a decade ago with a common vision and passion for a certain kind of music, but all came from very different places. The members have diverse family histories and upbringings, hail from all over Canada and have learned to communicate in very different ways. They each bring something very powerful and very different to the table. Yet, even as they complement each other, their differences can also be a source of friction.
As The Tenors have learned to communicate better with each other, they have gone from a group of individuals to a more integrated single entity. The harmony they express on stage stems, in large part, from the harmony they have created off-stage through better communication in their business roles. They have learned to respect where each partner is coming from, listen more fully and less defensively to what each partner is saying and speak in a language that each partner understands. As individuals in a group, they were good; but as a team, they experience more frequent moments of greatness.
In a great partnership, explicit roles define the boundaries between each person and the scope of their contributions. Each partner specializes in an area of business development, which makes it much easier for the others to respect and leverage it. Each is the go-to guy in a particular area, and there is much less drama where there is clarity. There are fewer gaps between the members and fewer overlaps. The partners have clear and carefully choreographed business functions that mirror how they share the stage. We negotiated these roles and responsibilities with them based on a critical assessment of each man’s strengths and weaknesses, passions and stresses.