The award-winning singer-pianist and musical director ROSS LEADBEATER releases his debut EP and begins a solo UK tour this week, to celebrate his musical favourites from the Great British Songbook.
Here he tells his story so far…
After graduating from the University of Warwick, you studied at Trinity College of Music. Did you have plans to specialise in any particular part of a musical career?
No, not really. I guess I’ve always been interested in lots of different things, from singing to playing piano to conducting, arranging and producing.
Do you have a favourite type of music?
I love and enjoy a wide variety of musical styles. Anything from classical to musical theatre, jazz to pop/rock.
So you were in the male vocal group Only Men Aloud?
Yes, I was in Only Men Aloud from 2007 until 2010 and it was a fantastic experience. It was my ‘big break’’ into the music business. After we won the BBC TV show Last Choir Standing we had some amazing opportunities, including a recording contract with Decca Records, international touring and numerous TV appearances.
And, you won a Classical Brit Award?
Yes, it was for our second album, and we got to perform at the Classical Brit Awards with Rhydian Roberts which was amazing. I still remember the after show party!
So, your new EP. Is it an extended play and what will it feature?
Yes – it contains five tracks. From classical crossover covers of ‘Pure Imagination’ to a new arrangement of Ivor Novello’s ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ and an original song called ‘Piano for Sale’.
So tell us about the Great British Songbook…
The Great British Songbook is a personal collection and celebration of the great British songs over the last 100 years and includes a wide cross section of styles and genres. There are lots of musical theatre songs obviously, especially the music of Ivor Novello and the music of the ‘golden age of songwriting’, but it also includes earlier music from Gilbert and Sullivan and popular music from the 1960s, right through to today’s great British songwriters including Ed Sheeran.
You have worked with many of the Welsh musical stars such as Shirley Bassey, Katherine Jenkins, Bonnie Tyler, John Owen-Jones and Bryn Terfel. Might you one day get to work with Tom Jones?
It’s funny actually. I was thinking the other day that Tom Jones is one of the only big Welsh stars that I’ve not worked with…yet! My mum was a huge fan of his – she had all his records!
Do you have any particular ambitions for the future?
Just to keep working! I’m quite lucky really to work on a wide variety of projects and across the music and theatre industry. I’ve always wanted to do the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will be going there this year with my own live show for two weeks in August. After that, who knows? A holiday perhaps.
* Ross Leadbeater’s debut EP Great British Songbook is available now for pre-order on iTunes and Amazon and will be released digitally and in physical form on 4 June.
You can preorder HERE.
Compiled by Michael Darrell