Ever since The Texas Tenors made it big on the fourth season of America’s Got Talent a hundred years ago, the trio’s shooting star hasn’t stopped ascending. (Fun fact: TTT have become the most successful and biggest selling music group in the history of the well-known reality show.)

John Hagen, one of the pop-opera (popera?) stars of the group, hails from right here in the metro. If you’ve seen them perform, you know these good ol’ boys can rip the roof right off any amphitheater with their larger-than-life voices. (Their operatic version of Alabama’s “Mountain Music” is the country/classical crossover we didn’t know we needed.)

When Hagen et al. aren’t touring, they’re busy accepting awards. The group was named Billboard Magazine’s #10 Classical Artist in the World and, most recently, was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame 2022. In addition, Hagen’s solo CD of classical songs, My Passion: Favorite Operatic Arias—which he recorded during the pandemic—debuted at #1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Chart!

Hagen tells us he’s excited about an upcoming TTT performance at Ameristar Kansas City on Saturday, April 15. It’ll be a homecoming of sorts for both him and JC Fisher, another Kansas City-based member of the group.

We caught up with Hagen as he was headed to ArlingtonLouisvilleBranson (he wasn’t quite sure) to ask him our query of four inane questions. And we did it with a hint of a Southern drawl—you know, so he felt our kindred spirit.

The Pitch: You’re an opera singer, but what rap song could you absolutely crush in, say, karaoke?

John Hagen: I’ve been around so long that old-school rap wasn’t even around when I started singing! Can’t say what song it would be, but I’d definitely “crush” it! Maybe I should add a song from Hamilton to our show?

What’s one of your most embarrassing onstage antics/mishaps/stories?

One event in the Carolinas made me have at least the tiniest shred of empathy for politicians who are campaigning in numerous states in the same day. We were in North Carolina one night and South Carolina the next.

On that second night I said, “It’s so great to be here in North Carolina!” Needless to say, it took a song or two to win back the crowd! (In my defense, we were barely over the border.)

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen on another celeb’s rider?

A person—who shall not be named—requires a 15 – 20-foot-tall fake tree on wheels in their dressing room. The few times I have encountered a fake tree in a dressing room, I have had it removed. My requirements center around food!

How many pairs of cowboy boots do you own—and what’s your fave?

Hmmm—I have boots scattered around in several different locations. Maybe 12 – 15? I guess my favorite pair are my Lucchese caiman crocodile boots, which are my go-to for most shows. They’re comfortable and look fantastic!

I also have a very comfortable pair of lizard boots that I like to kick around in! (Both roadkill, I was told.)

Bonus 5th Question: ‘Fess up, what’s the highest note you can safely hit?

I can’t believe you would ask me such a thing! I have never hit anything except a golf ball or baseball. If you’re asking me how high I can sing—well, as high as the music requires. How good it may sound is another matter.

April 3, 2023 Michael Mackie thepitchkc.com