It’s like this: Tommy Blaize is the most popular singer on British television. No one else entertains the 12 million people that Tommy entertains, week in, week out. He’s a man alone in a band apart, front and centre with the UK’s most-loved musical troupe. And he’s been there for 14 years. Simple as that.
As lead singer of the BBC Strictly Come Dancing band, Tommy’s powerful yet sensitive performances have helped create some of the most memorable TV moments of recent times. Singing live to a live audience every week, Tommy is the man with the golden pipes whose unique, soulful sound is etched in the public consciousness.
Tommy began his singing career at the tender age of nine with ‘The Blaize Brothers’ alongside siblings Tony and Darrin, where he first learnt to sing in front of a live audience, playing in clubs across the North-West of England for 6 years in the 1970s.
In a career spanning a remarkable 45 years, Tommy has gone on to work with some of the world’s most legendary and renowned artists, from Diana Ross to Queen; The Beach Boys to Amy Winehouse; Joe Cocker to Stevie Wonder. The list is as long as it is impressive.
With talent like his, and exposure like that, an artist album was an obvious next step. Universal offered Tommy the chance to make his debut solo record. He already had a band, a core of musicians who play with him both on Strictly and at his own regular jazz club shows around the country. And he already had a musical sweet spot: the soul and R&B classics that Tommy heard at his parents’ knees and which had him performing live from the age of nine.
‘Life & Soul’ is the next stage in Tommy Blaize’s blazing career. Working with producer Haydn Bendall (formerly chief engineer at Abbey Road), he and his band powered through a selection of personal soul favourites.
So, we have killer new takes on ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, a duet with Strictly singer Hayley Sanderson, and ‘Let’s Stay Together’, which Tommy describes as “in between the Al Green and Tina Turner versions”.
There’s his reimagining of ‘My Girl’, “which has always been personal to me – it’s an acoustic piano version that I’ve slowed right down to a ballad. Then I do ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay’ for me dad, and Carole King’s ‘You’ve Got A Friend’, but more the Donny Hathaway version.”
“With this album, you get to hear all of me”, Tommy concludes, “and not just the little 90-second edits you hear on a Saturday night. Life & Soul is full of magical moments. It’s songs you already know, sprinkled with sincerity and something special – just us in a room singing and playing our hearts out. You might say it’s 15 seasons of Strictly boiled down into the essence of something soulfully brilliant – just without the dancing. But if we do a video”, he laughs, “I’ll have a go!”
Tommy released his debut solo album ‘Life & Soul’ in December 2017 through Universal Music, topping both the Amazon and iTunes pre-order chart and spending two weeks in the UK top 40 in the lead-up to Christmas.