My chat with Milos Karadagelic

He’s one of the world’s leading classical guitarists with two nominations in the 2012 Classic BRIT Awards, but hails from a homeland with a population of just 600,000.Milos Karadagelic

Next week Milos Karadagelic will perform for the first time at The Royal Albert Hall – a dream come true for the (rather gorgeous) 29-year-old.

But how did his musical journey begin?

‘Well I grew up in Montenegro [a small country on the Adriatic which once formed part of Yugoslavia] and I had a very good voice; I was always running around the house singing for friends and family,’ explains Milos.

‘Now, how did I come to play the guitar? It was a very curious accident. We had an old guitar at home that nobody played, and because I had the good voice I thought that it would be a perfect match, and that I would be very cool if I played the guitar. I was thinking I would be popular with the girls.

‘I just started to strum a couple of chords, sing a few songs, and thought maybe I’d be a rock star…’

Clearly a musically-gifted boy, Milos attended music school in Podgorica from the age of eight, as horrors unfolded in the Balkans.

‘My memories from childhood in Montenegro are really happy ones, even though at the time it was quite tough for Montenegro,’ he recalls.

‘But I grew up in an amazing family and I discovered music just around the time of the troubles and it made me be able to live in a very different world.

‘I lived in a world of music, not in a world of hardship and war that was all around.

‘And I had a family who just always tried to make me and my brother feel fantastic and feel that nothing was missing even though only they know how hard it was.’

At 17 he won a place at London’s Royal Academy of Music. How did he find London?

‘It was a big shock because Montenegro had six hundred thousand people, and suddenly you come to London which is just huge and very metropolitan,’ Milos chuckles.

‘Also coming to the Royal Academy of Music and for the first time in my life being in the middle of classical music and surrounded by the best teachers, the best music, the best libraries was incredible.

‘Actually I think that focus on my studies really, really saved me from the temptations that London as a city has to a teenage boy…

‘I really felt very lucky to be at the Royal Academy of Music which really kept me on the right course.’

His most memorable performances have been his debut at Wigmore Hall here in London, and also his debut at the Carnegie Hall.

‘These are the venues that you as a classical artist always dream of playing,’ he explains.

‘I also very fondly remember my gig at the Roundhouse in Camden though, because that was very rock and roll. I really like variety, and every performance brings something else to it.’

As his performance as the Royal Albert Hall approaches how is he feeling? ‘I never feel any sort of anxiety,’ he stresses.

‘I just cannot wait for that moment to come and for me to come out in front of so many people, for me to pick up the energy from all those people and then give them the best music that I possibly can.

‘It’s been a dream of mine for so many years to play there, to have a solo recital in the round ‘I’m counting the hours.’

And, finally, what does he think is the appeal of his music I ask?

‘The classical guitar is the most pure and most beautiful sound you can imagine, the most intimate instrument of them all, an instrument which comes almost out of your own body,’ Milos enthuses.

‘We live in such a crazy world that something like this is very important and I think that’s why many more people are turning to the world of classical guitar.’

Milos plays at The Royal Albert Hall on September 25. His album Latino is out now.

Interview first published in the Lady magazine

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