It seems strange to say it now, but to be the “frontman” for a band was something I never thought would happen. Having been there now for twenty years it’s funny to look back on all the rejections and dismissive attitudes I had to go through first. I’m not the greatest singer or showman but having fronted a couple of bands I think I might be getting the hang of it.
I was never the first choice for anything in singing or shows, I was the kid that played the violin and that was my place I was pigeon-holed into and was there through primary and secondary by both adults and my peers. Any chance of a solo or shining moment usually went to someone else because I was terrible at remembering or delivering lines well.
At secondary there were several moments when I was ignored or ruled out of my shot in the spotlight. Even then I was still the guy that played the fiddle. Never considered for main parts in school shows and even in my standard grade and higher music exams, my singing was rejected by my music teacher in favour of the keyboard as my second instrument. In the band that a group of friends put together I was not considered as a possibility for the singer there either.
I remember there was one moment that caught a lot of people by surprise. We were at a post show party for a school show and we all took a turn singing “karaoke” along to records and eventually I had a shot and people had a double take – he can sing!?!? Several people spoke to me afterwards to say how taken aback they were that I could hold a tune – both a compliment and negative in one.
Towards the end of my time in school I was starting to sing in Referendum and because we were just getting going I sang until someone else came along. Now twenty years later I’m now singing and playing with The Limit and enjoying the singing. With the band and working in a duo with the keyboard player Paul I’m singing a real variety of songs from standards to rock, soul to pop and all that lies in-between. It’s strange to think that this is the same person no-one took a chance on who now sings songs for Bride and Groom’s first dances.
I’m under no illusion that I’m a great vocalist – I can hold a tune, and for a function band that’s the most important thing for the listening/dancing public. The important thing to me is the enjoyment I get from performing. It’s not about the ego, because no-one would recognise you – even the day after you played for their wedding, but about the joy you get from belting out some great tunes. There are songs that you have to do because they are expected, but in there are diamonds that brighten up an evening for the band. Currently “Uptown Funk” and “These Days” are great additions to the set and you get a real buzz from an audience when you play current or recent chart hits.
I’ll never have the X-Factor, be The Voice or trouble The Brits or Grammys, but for me there’s nothing better than a full floor of dancers enjoying themselves while you sing and play. Here’s to the next twenty years.