The entertainment industry has been a magic carpet ride for singer-actor-writer Brad Kane.
Best known as the singing voice of “Aladdin,” Kane projects an energy and enthusiasm that, now in his 40s, has helped him branch out and continue to work in show business.
During a whirlwind media tour to promote the re-release of the 1992 Disney animated movie on Blu-Ray on Tuesday, the boyishly handsome Kane sat down for an interview at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis.
“The message of ‘Aladdin’ is timeless. The movie says ‘Live the life you want, and don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be who you are,’ and there’s something authentic and genuine about it that has stood the test of time,” he said.
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Kane considers his “Aladdin” experience comparable to the lyrics of “A Whole New World”: “shining, shimmering, splendid,” for vocalizing the “diamond in the rough” character opened new horizons.
Take for instance, the 1993 Academy Awards. He and Lea Salonga, the singing voice of Jasmine, performed in a massive production number, and “A Whole New World” won the Oscar for Best Song.
Kane was 19 when he sat in the backstage green room, listening to Al Pacino, Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman and Federico Fellini talk.
“It was exciting. I was at NYU Film School at the time, and a big film nerd, and here I was, in the same place as my film heroes,” he said. “A whole new world of possibilities was there for me.”
His advice: “Always say ‘yes’ for everything!” he said, smiling broadly. “You might think you are just doing a little animated movie, and then you are singing at the Oscars, and there are all these experiences you never anticipated.”
Kane has appeared in all the “Aladdin” sequels, including “The Return of Jafar” and “Aladdin and the King of Thieves,” as well as a TV movie, “Aladdin on Ice.”
He began singing professionally at age 8, after his mother discovered he needed an outlet. “I was standing on my desk in kindergarten, singing at the top of my lungs,” he said. “She decided to put me on stage. We started going to auditions.”
He was cast as one of four children in the chorus of “Evita” on Broadway, then left a few months later to be part of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sunday in the Park with George,” starring Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters, in 1984.
He recently reunited with Salonga and composer Alan Menken to perform on “Good Morning America.”
“He (Menken) wrote such beautiful music for ‘Aladdin.’ It still holds up today,” Kane said.
As for Salonga, who won a Tony Award as Kim in “Miss Saigon” in 1991, he admires her abilities.
“She is a wonderful talent. When she sings ‘A Whole New World,’ you feel her voice taking you on that journey.”
His career has moved away from singing, for he has been writing and producing a “Treasure Island” prequel for the Starz channel called “Black Sails” for the past few years.
But after dueting with Salonga at a Disney Theme Park, the urge was back.
“I’ve gotten the bug again to sing. I would love to do more shows,” he said.
The signature song evokes emotions, and that effect has given him a “blessed life.”
“It is a great privilege to share this with family and friends, and to make people happy. When I sing ‘A Whole New World,’ I see their faces light up. It’s like it’s my super power.”
"Aladdin" Diamond edition Blu-Ray
- What: Re-release of original 1992 film
- Available: Oct. 13
- Special features include Robin Williams outtakes as the Genie.
- Information: www.movies.disney.com
Brad Kane file
- Name: Bradley Caleb Kane
- Occupation: singer, actor, writer
- Birthdate: Sept. 29, 1973
- Hometown: New Rochelle, N.Y.
- Married: Sarah Thompson, an actress, since 2007.
- Best known for: Singing voice of “Aladdin,” in 1992 Disney film and its DVD sequels.
- Current Job: Writer-producer, “Black Sails,” Starz Channel.
- Broadway: “Evita,” “Sunday in the Park with George,” “She Loves Me,” “The Winter’s Tale.”
- TV: Actor, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Law and Order” “ABC FunFit”;
- Producer, “Crash”; and Writer-Producer, “Fringe” and “Black Sails.”
- Movies: “Six Weeks,” “The Flamingo Kid,” “Starship Troopers.”