Next big thing is taking climb to fame in stride

Fernando Varela’s introduction to the world of opera singing started because he was chasing a girl.

Singer Fernando Varela will perform a concert April 19 at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

Fernando Varela’s introduction to the world of opera singing started because he was chasing a girl.

Varela was a teenager then, but today at the age of 30, he has transformed that introduction to the world of opera into a musical career.

The marketing machine now behind Varela labels him as “the next big thing” in music, following in the path of other singers such as Josh Groban and Michael Buble.

But Varela prefers to ignore the marketing hype and focus on the music, which he calls a fusion of classical opera meeting classic rock.

“I was classically trained  and had a traditional opera career going, but I’ve always liked doing other types of music as well,” said Varela, in a recent interview with the Capital News from his home in Orlando, Fla.

“What I want to do is take some of those classic rock standards and infuse them with some classical music touches.”

Varela has been able to make a living as a singer for the past decade.

“It’s a little scary and exciting at the same time where I am at right now, but I’m fortunate to not have had a real job for the past 10 years,” he laughs.

“I’ve been able to make a living as a singer.”

A native of Puerto Rico, Varela immigrated with his family to Florida at the age of 8.

So what was the deal with the girl? “She was 17 and studying opera, and I was looking for a way to meet her, spend more time with her. The back-up chorus was looking for male singers which were hard to find for opera productions,” Varela recalled.

“I had no experience singing but they needed a body so accepted me into the chorus right off. The rest I learned as I went along.”

His natural vocal ability started to attract the attention of opera singing teachers and coaches, who suggested he pursue an opera singing career.

“Everything just seemed to fall into place, which I guess says it was meant to be,” he said.

“At first I was in the chorus just for fun, and after a few notable teachers suggested I should pursue this, that I had something in me, I felt good about that and I had the support of those coaches and teachers along the way.”

As for the girl, she and Varela dated for four years before they broke up, but he credits her today with opening a musical door that he never knew existed for him.

Okanagan fans of Varella will get a chance to see him perform in concert Tuesday, April 19, at the Kelowna Community Theatre, 8 p.m.

For tickets go to or call the ticket box office at 250-762-5050.