My singing career started off at the young age of fourteen in Keighley, West Yorkshire. I was swinging my satchel to The Beatles when I met a musician who introduced me to all the great singing artistes of past and present, including Eydie Gormé, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland and Billie Holiday to name but a few. All of them ‘greats’ that were well before my time.
Subsequently I was introduced to Tamla Motown, which eventually resulted in my two singles “Bill” and “Summer Heartbreak”. The latter directly emulating the Motown sound. The arrangement for “Bill” was intended to be a direct rip-off of the Phil Spector ‘Wall of Sound’ which, even though Spector was Los Angeles based, and over 2000 miles from the Detroit-based Motown, was nevertheless a very ‘current’ sound.
When I was working the Mecca circuit, I had to do cover copies of new singles that hit the charts, which meant impersonating the records as closely as possible to the original artiste. This put me in good stead to record commercial songs!
My Mecca experience gave me a background in all areas of music, enabling me to perform songs in different styles, which widened my scope enormously and made me versatile and well informed about my peers in the music industry. Amy Winehouse, God bless her, had very strong overtones of Billie Holiday for instance. If you listen to young female singers currently you will hear more smatterings of Billie Holiday; they sing with a lot of emotion and musical ability; Adele, Paloma Faith, and the previously mentioned Amy Winehouse all spring immediately to mind.