Diane Warren knows a hit when she hears one. And she says Due Voci is a hit in the making.
The songwriter behind blockbusters including Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart,” Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Warren has created a group to sing her catalog and new songs. Due Voci, the popera duo that opens for the Canadian Tenors Wednesday at the Wilbur Theatre, is the romantic-in-the-extreme tag team of singers/beauties Kelly Levesque and Tyler Hamilton.
Decades and dozens of Top 40 tunes into her career, Warren recognized she needed to find singers that fit a very specific mold for this project. Their voices needed to complement each other like strawberries and champagne; their looks had to evoke the torrid passion a romance novel cover.
“Finding the guy was a nightmare,” Warren said from her Los Angeles studio. “It was about perfect casting, this being something that is more for women. We’d find the look without the voice, or the voice without the look. Then (producer/songwriter) David Foster told me about Tyler Hamilton.”
A hunky Canadian who dropped out of the Top 10 of “Canadian Idol” to be the resident carpenter on an HGTV show, Hamilton was looking for a way back into the music business.
“I don’t know if a guy can have a Cinderella story, but this is mine,” Hamilton said with a laugh from his home in Edmonton. “Diane’s songs are perfect love songs and she’s put together a perfect team of producers, arrangers and management for this project, not including myself of course, unless she needs her kitchen redone.”
Playing on the success of similar heartthrob-meets-classical artists such as Il Divo and Josh Groban, Hamilton and Levesque, spend a lot of time harmonizing on high notes and starring longingly into each others’ eyes. Hamilton said the illusion of love is easy to create.
“Selling the audience isn’t hard when I have a partner that looks and sounds amazing,” he said. “And the battle is half won once we start singing Diane’s songs.”
Some Aerosmith fans may think differently.
Warren is famous for big, blustery ballads that become Celine Dion or Cher standards, although she’s also written for and with Bon Jovi, Ace of Base, Chicago and LeAnn Rimes. But lovers of “Toys in the Attic” think she ruined Aerosmith with one of her trademark ballads. She doesn’t see it.
“I’m powerless over what people think of me, but ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ isn’t one of the biggest songs of Aerosmith’s career,” she said. “It’s one of the biggest songs of all time. And it introduced them to a whole new audience.”
Warren’s days writing for the band might not be done. Steven Tyler may be busy with “American Idol,” but Warren said the singer digs a new tune of her’s that she figures could be the next Aero-smash. But that’s for tomorrow – today is about generating buzz for Due Voci.
“We’re starting at the beginning and building that fan base with the right TV and appearances,” she said. “I hear Oprah loves them.”
Which means Due Voci is headed smack into Warren’s target demographic. A hit can’t be far behind.