Jason Manford has been performing stand-up comedy for the last twenty years and he has enjoyed an enormously successful career. He is one of the most popular comedians in the UK, so it might come as a surprise that he is about to release an album of some of his favourite songs, which he has called A Different Stage, on Decca Records. He admitted that when he heard that he had been approached by Decca Records, to do an album, that he thought it was a wind up. Jason explained that growing up, he was always surrounded by musicians and singers – including his grandparents and had always sung. It might be a surprise to his comedy fans, but this singing comes naturally to Jason.
During his set, he said: “Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. But, even Adelle doesn’t sing like she talks – does she? And even Frank Spencer played the Phantom (of the Opera)”. This was a fair comment, and it perfectly summed up the mood of the audience, who were all pleasantly surprised, and it was a comment that made everybody laugh. “I know, it’s weird, isn’t it,” he joked. Hushabye Mountain proved how much control he has in his voice, and his delivery of the song is very powerful. He doesn’t look like a newcomer to the stage, it genuinely looks like he has been singing for years and his performance is slick and very composed.
What I sometimes feel lets artists down at gigs, is their lack of interaction with the crowd. Having performed in front of tough audiences, Jason is of course a master at interacting with the crowd and he is completely at ease on stage. The level of attention to his vocal tones, combined with his comedy in between songs, is a double winning formula. He had everyone in the room howling and laughing uncontrollably between songs. And when he was singing, there was a deadly silence and huge grins all around. From the musical My Fair Lady, he performed On The Street Where You Live, which was followed by Anthem, from Chess. Both songs were just absolutely wonderful to listen to. Jason has got a great voice and I was so impressed by his talent.
The showcase came to an end very quickly, and the applause after every song had everyone feeling rather wowed by his performance. He ended with a Shirley Bassey cover – This Is My Life, and again he has complete control and such power in his voice. I thoroughly enjoyed his showcase, and loved how relaxed and in control he was, and very, very humble. At times, you could hear a touch of Alfie Boe’s influence, which is a massive compliment to him. We wish Jason every success with the album and we have no doubt that if you listen to his songs with an open mind (and not pigeon-hole him), you will absolutely love his singing voice and thoroughly enjoy what he has to offer.