An Interview with The Lead Singer in This Weekend's "Endless Love Show" at the Spa Pavilion

We were delighted to interview the lovely Ryan, lead singer performing as Lionel Richie in this weekend's Endless Love Show at the Spa Pavilion...

Ryan, great to meet you! In just a few days to go before you come to Felixstowe to perform as Lionel Richie. Have you been here before?
I've been the Spa before with other shows that I've worked with in the past.  It's one of the places I normally go to and get ice cream. Whenever I go to a seaside town. I like to go and get either fish and chips, or or or ice cream, because you've got to, really. I've been to a nice Italian restaurant in Felixstowe where I once left some of my my rings I often wear, and I had to get them shipped back to me I took them off to eat. 

How funny! So, this Saturday, you’ll be singing with the lovely Diana Ross performed by Leanne, in the Endless Love Show. Tell us about it all.
“Endless Love” it was actually a movie in 1981. It didn't do too well. But the song obviously became the world's most loved duet. So putting together of the show was 40 years in the making because that’s when Diana and Lionel did Endless Love together. The show itself has been going for around 4-5 years and it’s been going from strength to strength. I’m still relatively new in the show - 12 months in. But Leanne’s who performs as Diana Ross, has been doing the show for a good few years now. She's incredible, and she’s got fantastic vocals, but her costumes, that’s what elevates the show to another level. She looks incredible.

Have you got some great costume changes too?
My changes are a little easier than hers; instead of, you know, changing into these full length gowns, I just put a different bomber jacket on, or a shiny sequin jacket on. Not quite as impressive but I think it looks great.

There’s so many classic songs spanning since the late sixties. We have people come who are in their eighties who love the show because of the old Supremes stuff, you know - going back to the old Motown stuff. And then we’ve got younger generations who love the Lionel, “Dancing on the Ceiling”. So it's just it's just great fun for everybody, really.

How do you feel personifying Lionel Richie?
Well, it's always hard to take on the role of somebody else on stage and I do my best emulating him. I don't do his accent, I must say, but I do my best to emulate his stage presence and how he sings. But he's such an iconic artist, isn't he? He's a household name. So it's hard because you want to do him justice, and you want to do the fans justice as well. I enjoy it. It's really good fun.

Do you do you perform your own music as well?
Performing in the Endless Love Show is my main focus at the moment, but there’s a couple of other theatre shows - doing backing vocals and playing guitar, and then I also work in a function band as well - weddings and stuff. In this game, you know, it's a game spinning many plates. I write music as well. I had a song which was released last year on BBC Sounds and BBC Music. It was a drum and bass track. You gotta try and keep your finger in as many pies as possible doing this.

Absolutely. Is it quite difficult for independent artists?
Yeah, I think variety is key. I think, as you probably know, you've got to have variety. Variety is the spice of life. I think it’s important to challenge yourself with different gig, different songs and different types of music. We have this creative flow that we need to keep going. And if we don't do creative things from time to time, we sort of have a bit of a meltdown. It's just spinning plates and just trying to constantly think, “Oh, well, what could I do? Could I put my hands to this, could I…?” So it's like, “Oh, I can write this today.” Or, “I can go out and gig with this band on guitar.” And it's just keeping all that going, basically. But it's fun! It's a fun life! It keeps you on your toes.

Were you raised with a musical background?
My mum's a singer and I was raised in the world of of live performance. So it's sort of in my blood. I like to think. I have my sister who is a radio presenter she presents for BBC West Midlands. She's also part of the management for my mum, and she also somewhat manages me when it comes to my own personal stuff like the track that came out a few years ago. That was sort of her doing.

Well, my mum and dad have been in music since the late seventies.  They're in their mid sixties now, and whenever I musically or creatively hit a wall, or you know, whatever happens, I can always go to them and go, “I don't know what to do about this situation.” They're like, “It’ll be fine.”

They've got so much insight - from growing up, seeing how the trials and tribulations of what they've been through; seeing the ups and the downs, and then also speaking to them and being like, “I think this is something I want to do, and I'm going go for it.” So it's great to have such a great team behind you in your family that you can go to and talk to about everything like that.  They really help me and push me. 

Where are you originally from?
I'm Midlands born and raised up from Wolverhampton now. I live in Stoke now. My mum's of Jamaican descent, and my dad's Irish. So two cultures who love Guinness! I actually had my stag do in Ireland about 2 months ago. I love it. I'd live out there, I mean I love Ireland. I love Jamaica. I think there's a lot of similarities and comparisons between the countries and the people, and you know, without getting too deep between the the history of the colonisation of both - you know, Jamaica, and how the Irish were treated. There's a lot of camaraderie between the two races and cultures, even down to how Jamaican Patois is spoken - a lot of people theorise that that comes from the Irish. People who were sent out to Jamaica to work farms as well, they reckon that's where the language comes from. And so they're two cultures that are massively in sync. Where my parents are from in Birmingham, in Handsworth or Ladywood, you quite often find older Jamaican blokes in the park playing chess against the older Irish blokes. They're just very similar people. I feel very lucky that I've grown up with two beautiful cultures around me who have people who are worldwide renowned for being so happy-go-lucky, with a everything-will-be-alright mentality. And their great musical cultures as well; Irish folk music, and Jamaican Reggae Ska is great music.

Do you sing Reggae and Irish folk too?
If I've had a few Guinnesses I might start singing Paddy Mcginty’s Goat, but I mean, that's about as far as it goes! I quite often sing a bit of Bob Marley, and if I have a solo acoustic set somewhere, I'll chuck a bit of Bob Marley in there. 

You said you had a stag do in Ireland. Are you getting married?
I’m getting married in August. We’ll get married in Liverpool, which is a a city which means a lot to me and my partner again, a lot of Irish influence there as well. 

Aw, congratulations! Does your fiancé sing too?
My partner is also a singer. She does a specific tribute. She works in a Motown group which travels around the country. She does the backing vocals in the Lutheran Ross tribute as well.

So lovely! Back to the show... what is it like working with your team?
The team are amazing. The sound guys are real professionals. It's not always easy for for the sound guys as every venue is different and has different limitations and requirements. But they're the ones who are making the performers sound and look good. It's 20%, us and 80% them. The producers; Mark and Maggie who put together a great show. They're lovely people, and I think for me it's important to work with people who are nice, because I mean, everyone says that, but there's a lot of people in the music industry who aren't. The team are great and there’s a real community aspect. So it's really nice working with everyone.​

What can the crowd expect this Saturday?
I promise, anybody who who comes down will will be singing and dancing the whole time. So the the show speaks for itself. It's it's W. It's world class talent on the stage. Obviously talk about myself I'm talking about like Lean and the bandwidth of her absolutely incredible. They they work with people up and down the country, you know, artists of all names. And it's just a good show. It's just a good feel. Good show. So yeah, it's just great fun.

I'm looking forward to it be it'll be a good night. It's good family-friendly fun. There's so many songs throughout so many decades that everybody's gonna know. We encourage people to get up dancing from the first track, literally from the get go. The show is a spectacle - with the costumes, especially Leanne's (Diana Ross’s) costumes, they’re beautiful. So it’s a feel good night. And we’ll do a meet and great afterwards as well. So I think it'll be a really good night.

Brilliant! So folks, there you have it - we're in for a treat this Saturday! Be sure to get your tickets to see Diana and Lionel at the Spa. x