interview by JANA LETONJA

Numéro Netherlands Digital present international superstar cellist HAUSER,  known worldwide for the electrifying performances from the renowned duo 2CELLOS. This fall, he started his first world tour ‘Rebel with A Cello’, which will continue in the spring. HAUSER just released his new album, his first ever holiday album ‘Christmas’.

HAUSER celebrates the Christmas season with the release of his debut holiday album ‘Christmas’, available everywhere now. The exceptional album showcases HAUSER’s inimitable cello artistry as he breathes new life into 14 of the world’s most beloved Christmas melodies, thoughtfully arranged for orchestra and choir. Echoing the magic of the holidays, Christmas captures the intimate warmth and friendly spirit of the holiday season, bringing forth the romance and the joys of holidays.

You just released your first ever holiday album ‘Christmas’. How did you choose the perfect songs for this special album?
I chose my favorite songs and songs that sound the best on cello. Those are the romantic songs from good old days. The days of legends like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bill Crosby. Those songs are so well known and I always thought they would sound so beautiful on the cello. I love the orchestral arrangements from those days.

In those old times everything sounded so romantic, so melodic, so beautiful. I try to make it even more romantic. It sounds so magical and with the Symphony Orchestra, these songs have a completely new dimension. People can finally enjoy it on a completely universal global level because instrumental music is the most universal. No lyrics, no language barrier. Those are everyone’s favorite Christmas songs.

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shirt and trousers stylist’s own

In Croatia, where you are from, Christmas is a huge celebration and one of the biggest holidays. What does Christmas mean to you? Why is it such a special holiday for you?
As you said, in Croatia and especially in my family, it was always such a beautiful, warm family time. We were all together, singing songs and playing music. It was always so magical, especially when you’re a little kid. You believe in miracles and you believe in all those stories. It was so exciting. I want to bring back this magic, those values, those moments when I was a kid. I’m always going to be a kid. I always believe in magic and miracles. I see it everywhere, always. I’m a dreamer.

Can you share your favorite Christmas tradition with us?
When we were kids, we would sing almost all the songs in one night. There was a tradition to go to many midnight masses on Christmas Eve. And my mom is very involved. She did like 10 different churches, 10 different masses. And we went with her and played, so it was such a magical moment. When you’re a kid, you usually go to sleep early, but those are the moments when we could stay awake all night and sing songs and go to different churches. It was really fun for us and a huge deal. We were so excited about presents. For Christmas, many guests would come over and everyone was bringing something. Always someone came with more food.

Your career started with 2CELLOS, where Luka and you stole the audiences’ hearts with your electrifying performances. What did you find the most challenging when you embarked on your solo path after such success with 2CELLOS?
Actually, the success of 2CELLOS helped me enormously because I already developed so many skills during this period, touring all over the world, all those venues. First with Elton John, then with 2CELLOS. Now it all comes naturally because I have already been to all those arenas, all those venues, so I feel so comfortable on stage. I learned so much about recording, mixing and about so many things. The transition was just natural.

The only thing that is different is that now I play different kinds of music, different styles that I didn’t get to do as part of 2CELLOS. 2CELLOS was mostly rock. We were just rocking, head banging, crazy guys breaking the bows, and now I get to be Mr Romantic. I can do totally different things that I didn’t showcase really before, but I always had this different side of me, this romantic side, the classical side, and all the other sides. My show is even more intense now because the second part is this crazy Latin part that’s so full of energy, adrenaline, people dancing, jumping. And I have a lot of musicians on stage, a great band. And we all go crazy together.

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You have a huge fanbase across all your social platforms. What do you love the most about getting to connect with your fans?  In what way do they empower you?
They give me so much inspiration and motivation to keep creating because they show me so much love at my concerts. You get the energy from the audience. Their love and support keeps me going. I always want to give them something the most beautiful, both audio and visual. I just want to create as much beauty as possible and share it with the world because the world needs that, especially in these crazy times.

I’m this old soul, I like everything old, like old songs. All the architecture and everything was more beautiful back in the day. Everything was more romantic. You can’t compare it with today. We don’t have artists like Mozart anymore. My mission is to bring back these masterpieces and attract younger people to that and I’m proud I actually managed to do that. I see a lot of young people actually loving it and realizing that this is something so beautiful. I convinced them that this is better than what they’re listening to now, so I’m really proud of that.

You’ve performed in over 40 countries at countless venues, also in Vatican itself, and also at huge sport events. Which of all the performances you have done actually made you the most nervous and why?
I never really get nervous. I feel the most comfortable on stage because I was meant to be on stage. Even when I was a little boy, the stage was my home. I was more nervous in other situations in life than on stage. Like normal everyday situation was for me a bigger problem than going in front of a hundred thousand people.

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trousers PHILLIP LIM

Is there maybe one performance that stood out to you as the most memorable one?
It’s so hard to say that because I’m a spontaneous guy and every concert is different. It’s crazy. Even though I play the same songs, it’s always new. It feels new to me, it feels new to the audience. It’s always fresh. I never played a note the same way twice, so each concert is like a new experience. And I see the same fans keep coming to all the shows and they always feel different.

We would love to know how did your passion for classical music and cello begin. Tell us more about it.
I heard a song on the radio and I fell in love straight away with the sound. I said to my mom that I want to play cello, but I was so little and had to wait a few years.Then later, I started playing and that was it. It was destiny. I was lucky to realize early on what I want to do. And this is the best gift you can have because a lot of young people don’t get it. They don’t really know what they want until later in life and very often, it might be then too late. I dedicated my life from early age to this. I was going step by step and slowly realizing all my dreams. Dream after dream and one thing at a time.

The Christmas moments were also always great because every time there is a holiday, I take my cello, play around, play jam with my family, with my brother. As a little kid, I started jamming and improvising and this is how it just came naturally to me. All the other classical musicians were always focused on listening to the rules, they were listening to the teachers. And I was always a rebel, I never listened to anyone. I was always doing things my own way, so this improvisation thing also came very early in my life. And this is why I’m able now to just play. It’s important to develop all these skills earlier on because then later it’s in your blood, it’s like second nature. I was really lucky to be influenced by so many different kinds of music from an early age.

Also, my fans can choose any song and I can just do it in that very moment. I have this gift. I don’t need to study music, I just have it in me. I hear it and I can play it in the same second.

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What does a certain song need to make you feel that you decide to make it your own?
I just need to feel something, it needs to touch my heart. And of course, as soon as I hear a song, I can already imagine it and start playing it in my head. I know straight away if it’s working or not. Luckily, most of the songs with nice melody work on cello because cello is such a melodic instrument.

Music aside, you were also included in People Magazine’s annual ‘Sexiest Men Alive’ issue. What was your reaction when you found that out? How did it feel being included on this list?
Actually, you never see classical musicians or cellist or instrumentalist in this kind of lists, so I think it’s a new revolution as well. I keep making revolutions in every area, so it’s another proof that I managed to make cello really mainstream. Any kind of attention that goes to good music and cello is good. I cannot complain.

full look THEORY

shirt and trousers THEORY
jacket IRO

The first leg of ‘Rebel with a Cello’ tour just finished and the tour will continue next spring. What else are you planning for 2024?
This was my first solo tour ever and it was incredibly successful. Before the tour, I was a little bit nervous because I’ve been touring with 2CELLOS for so many years and was wondering if it is going to sell the tickets and if people are going to come. And everything was just amazing, sold out venues, people loving the show. It was a big milestone in my life and in my career.

In the first leg, I played all big arenas in Europe. And next year, the rest of the world, including US. I’m playing some iconic places like Carnegie Hall in New York. When you’re a kid, you always dream about Carnegie Hall. And now here it is.

Any new music in the works as well?
Yeah, I’m always working on something. I’m always full of ideas. I cannot sleep. It’s like I can do 10 projects at the same time. But that’s also a problem for me because I have too many ideas and I want to do it all at once. I can’t wait, I don’t have patience. I could make 10 albums a year because I have so much ideas. I need to sometimes take time and make fans wait a bit.

talent HAUSER
photography DAVID URBANKE
styling ZOE GOFMAN
styling assistant CAROLINE DEVINCENZO
editorial director and interview JANA LETONJA