The Silk voice By Chris Betros

The Silk voice By Chris Betros

It’s a long way from Ireland, to the jazz clubs, lounges and hotels of Japan, but William Silk has found his niche in life and is loving every minute of it. “I get to collaborate with all shapes and sizes from jazz trio to big band, full orchestra and strings,” he says. “I seem to have developed a special connection with Japanese audiences, who are familiar with the songs in my repertoire, particularly those who have an appreciation for live music.”

Born in Dublin, Silk was brought up in the UK, “mostly in boarding school (much like Harry Potter) in Yorkshire and home in Devon,” he says. Always drawn to the theater and music—both his mother and grandmother were choir leaders in their parish in Galway—Silk started on the stage in school productions, selected at the age of 12 to play the leading role in “The Mikado.”

After that, Silk performed in many more school productions and music competitions. He later graduated from Birmingham University with degrees in English and music. He traveled to Africa, Asia, Europe and the U.S. Silk recalls his year in Africa, when he was a child. “The experience was very memorable for me for its contrast to life in Ireland. The people had an energy that came through in their vibrant rhythms, which have stayed with me since.”

Silk’s first visit to Japan was in 1996. “I guess it was an interest in people and what makes them tick that brought me. I was lucky to get a great introduction to life here via the JET Program.” He began to emerge on the live music scene in Japan around 2003 as an accomplished big-band singer at large corporate black-tie balls, or as a lounge entertainer and crooner in high-class hotels. “I am lucky that I have some of the most talented musicians and stage people here on my roster. Right now I am self-managed, but I am looking for music-industry representation to help me take things to a bigger scale with further reach.”

Although he is fluent in Japanese, Silk sings mainly in English. “I really love the big stage: it is always thrilling to be the channel for all that energy. But I also like the intimacy of lounges and clubs, where you can look into the eyes of your audience, and really engage them on a one-to-one level.”

Silk’s next big project is the release of his first CD “SMILE” in January. “We have breathed new life into timeless songs that resonate today, with the energy and spark of a live performance, in whole takes. They’re uncut natural gems, mate! The recording is all done now, but there is still a lot of work to do in preparation for the release.”

Silk’s day starts at 7 a.m. Each day is varied, with different plans to be made and executed according to the needs of different musical engagements. “Mornings are usually for planning, afternoons for musical activities and evenings for performance and social engagements,” he says. “I’m a workaholic, living my passion, at the critical make-or-break stage in my career, so everything is geared towards that.”

However, if he were stuck on the Yamanote line forever, and could have any three CDs with him, which ones would they be? “Anything by Frank Sinatra, or his peers, including Michael Buble,” he says.

Find out more about Silk’s schedule and the release of his CD “SMILE” at www.williamsilk.com.

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