There is no other raw form of art then watching an artist busking, being able to evoke emotions and uplift someone’s day just by making music in public is such a magical experience. Si Cranstoun knows much about this way of life, as he had been doing it for 20 years. And it seems the years have paid off as Si has just signed with major record label Warner and is due to release his latest album “Modern Life” in October. Promising an infusion of R&B, Soul, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and well, anything Si can mix his magic on.
We chat to Si about what we can expect from his debut album, what busking for 20 years was like, and why a gentleman who saw him busking thought he was miming. Margaret Tra writes.
Tell us about your upcoming album ‘Modern Life.’
Well you could say it's taking 20 years in the making - it's everything I've learnt about singing and song-writing, an album especially designed to raise your spirits and it's an album I very proud of!
You infuse vintage Rock ‘n’ Roll with R&B and Soul, a tad Motown like if you don’t mind me saying, how did you find your sound?
I discovered my sound through an open field discovery of other people’s music and more importantly I used my ears to enjoy that music for what I felt it was rather than the category i.e. soul, rock 'n' roll that is was labelled as.
You headlined CarFest and Twinwood festival tell us what that was like?
I went to Carfest with my family so that was a fabulous day out to start with, and then the show was in the evening and it was tremendously exciting especially having Chris Evans on stage to introduce and 'big' me up to the massive crowd.
Twinwood is a very special vintage festival that always touches my heart whenever I play it. It's just a very magical feeling I get from it, as on the hand it’s a real deal concert with an raucous keen crowd and on the other the it's a dance festival with massive wooden sprung dance floor that is packed with vintage dancers, and it was playing in the smaller vintage dance clubs that my solo career began back in 2009.
You’ve been dubbed ‘Britain’s Buble,’ how does that make you feel?
I feel very honoured to be compared Michael Buble - he's a really great talent and I love his Sinatra renditions! I think it's great that he's bringing the old classics back, Britain’s Buble, thanks, that will do nicely.
You’ve spent 20 years busking? Tell us about it, and do you think it helped you through your career now being signed with Warner?
I had some the most wonderful times while performing on the streets. I had all sorts of people joining in from pensioners to toddler kids. The British public are the warmest friendliest people in the world and without doubt it was there encouragement through the years that made me a better singer which inevitably lead to a Warner record deal.
For me, performing is about reading people and working the crowd and when you are a street performer you get a very clear vision of whether or not you show is being well received or not. I think the fact that I've had that busking experience has definitely given me an advantage as I enter the pop field and look to compete with my pop rivals.
It would be quite memorable busking, what would be the most interesting person someone has said to you?
The most interesting thing anyone has said while busking was just after I'd performed Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite, and this friendly guy comes up and goes “That was the most amazing mime I've ever seen! " to which I of course defended myself and he replies ' But that's impossible - I just heard Jackie Wilson! I know what Jackie Wilson sounds like! - I have his records and I've seen him in concert!” So I sang it for him again and changed the lyrics.
What stimulates your soul?
The magic of music and that it can transform your blues into the best fun you've ever had.
Pre-order the album on itunes.