Wednesday, 26 September 2018

TV reality show singer to perform at music festival

SOUL singer Jamie Bruce has joined the line-up for a music festival in Henley’s Mill Meadows next month.

SOUL singer Jamie Bruce has joined the line-up for a music festival in Henley’s Mill Meadows next month.

The 34-year-old contestant onBBC reality show The Voice will be among 12 bands and 14 musical acts performing at Music on the Meadows on Saturday, June 1 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.

Mr Bruce, of Reading Road, Henley, said: “It is wonderful that the young people of Henley have decided to give something back to the town and what greater gift can there be than music?

“I am very much looking forward to the event and I hope the sun shines.”

The free festival has been organised by the youth of Henley for the youth of Henley. Members of the youth club and the Be There Henley group have been among those involved in the planning.

Henley Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak, chairman of the organising committee, said: “The whole event is for families but we think the first part will be especially enjoyed by a younger audience. Later on, it will become like a proper pop festival for young people.

“I urge people to come along and bring a picnic and help make it a fantastic event for the community.”

Each performer will play a Beatles song in their own style in tribute to George Harrison after his widow Olivia wrote to the Henley Standard to say that she would prefer a community project rather than a statue as a memorial to her husband. Other attractions will include refreshments, face-painting and performances by the Acorn Music Theatre Company.

A bar will be run by Lawrence Wilson from Magoos, who has been hosting the battle of the bands competition at his Hart Street bar.

The final of the competition will take place at the festival and the winner will be signed up by Eight Ray Music, a music agency based in Henley.

Pots of paint will be sold to families to decorate a canvas which has been pledged by the Henley Decorative and Fine Arts Society.

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “There have been 22 young people and four old fogeys involved and it really is the young people who are driving this forward. They have designed the posters, devised the publicity strategy and chosen the acts and what sound equipment we will use.”

Programmes will be available on the day for £1 to help cover costs. Any profits will be put into a trust to develop music for young people in Henley.

More volunteers are needed to help out on the day. For more information, email the Mayor at stefan.gawry@gmail.com

Meanwhile, Mr Bruce says he is delighted to have reached the next stage of The Voice.

He was kept in the competition by his mentor Tom Jones after going head to head with LB, who is in his group, during the battle rounds on Saturday night.

The pair opened the show with a joint performance of When Love Comes To Town.

Mr Bruce said: “We had lots of time with Tom Jones and his management team, which includes his son Mark and is really good.

“Tom also had a lot of input with our song choices and we worked with some of the greatest vocal coaches in the country. The first time we found out who we would be paired with was around the piano as was shown on TV.”

He called LB “an absolute gentleman”, adding: “When you are put up against someone you know it is very strange but we wanted to put a piece of music together than was entertaining for a live audience.

“You want to make it good and stamp your authority by singing your bits well. In rehearsals we did discuss holding something back but we are both grown-ups. We tried to put something beautiful together rather than singing all over each other.”

Mr Bruce received some good comments from the other judges, Will.i.am, Jessie J and Danny O’Donoghue, but all three voted for him to leave the show rather than his rival LB.

Mr Bruce said: “The comments were very fair as each of the coaches said positive and negative things about both of us.

“The only issue was when they said they would choose LB. My heart sank. I honestly thought it was all over.

“I was also surprised as I thought I had delivered, but even on my sofa at home there was a big divide.”

However, Jones had the final decision and said: “I have made this difficult by choosing these two and choosing a great song. This was two great vocals but I have to go with Jamie.”

Mr Bruce said: “It was a massive emotional release for me and I cried like a baby because I had thought the journey was finished.”

Now he will take part in the knock-out stages of the competition, to be televised next month.

He said: “I want to get through to the finals as well as trying to prove that the other three judges’ opinions of me were wrong.

“The dream is for me to get a management contract or a development deal as a result of all this. It is not about being famous.”

Mr Bruce, who has lost five stone since auditioning for the show, said: “It has changed my outlook on everything. I am much happier now as I was in a real rut before.

“I was massively overweight and I had kind of given up really.”

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