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NI man nominated for Grammy as part of ‘dream’ West End show

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Raymond Walsh (front) with (from left) Matt Lucas, Ciaran Joyce, Rob Houchen and Bradley Jaden backstage

Raymond Walsh (front) with (from left) Matt Lucas, Ciaran Joyce, Rob Houchen and Bradley Jaden backstage

Raymond Walsh (front) with (from left) Matt Lucas, Ciaran Joyce, Rob Houchen and Bradley Jaden backstage

A Co Antrim man has said he was left “speechless” after being told by TV funnyman Matt Lucas that he had been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album.

Raymond Walsh (32) performed as a featured singer as Grantaire on the Les Miserables Staged Concert Album – alongside the likes of Alfie Boe, Michael Ball, Carrie Hope Fletcher and Matt Lucas – which was recorded back in 2019.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the Grammys because of the size of the cast, but I’ll definitely be watching from home,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

Raymond explained that he found out about the nomination as part of a group message sent by Matt Lucas on Wednesday morning.

“He sent a text saying, Well done, we’ve been nominated for a Grammy’,” he said.

“He’s usually taking the mickey, so I didn’t believe it at first, but someone took a screenshot of the confirmation, but it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

The Lisburn man described Lucas as a “very good friend” after performing alongside him for four months.

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“We also became great friends over lockdown with our fair share of zoom quizzes,” said the acclaimed actor and singer.

“He’s so lovely and down to earth.”

Raymond has been performing professionally on stage since he was 21 and joined the cast of the original Les Miserables show at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End back in 2018.

In the middle of 2019, the organisers decided to put on a concert version of the show, bringing back original alumni and some famous faces who had performed previously.

“It was during this four-month block of shows when the album was recorded live,” Raymond explained.

“We recorded 10 live versions of the show with audiences in the theatre, and Universal Pictures also filmed the concert.”

The Co Antrim man said that his sights were not always set on a career in the arts and originally studied communications, advertising and marketing at Ulster University.

“Acting has always been my dream so I decided to go to drama school when I was 20 and did my first live show when I was 21 and I guess I never looked back,” he said.

The talented performer said he discovered his love of acting when he was just 16.

“I was never really interested in musical theatre until I was asked to fill in to help with the lighting of a production of Les Mis my sister was in,” he said.

“I remember watching the show thinking ‘Oh my God’ this is brilliant. I didn’t know that you could make a career out of this and from then on I thought, if there is a job involved in singing and acting, sign me up!”

Raymond said that, while performing Les Miserables as part of the concert show, he “felt like a competition winner”.

“As someone who grew up listening to the Les Mis album on repeat it was a real ‘pinch me’ moment, being able to perform alongside these stars,” he said.

“I always said that if I got a chance to perform this show then I wouldn’t need to do anything else, especially now it is immortalised in this album and the film.

“It will always be my favourite show and it’ll always be the reason I got into acting and singing so this final nomination is a great way to round up that amazing time in my career.”

The cast of Alanis Morissette musical Jagged Little Pill won the Best Musical Theatre Album award at the Premiere Ceremony of the 63rd Grammy Awards last year.

The 2022 Awards will take place in Los Angeles on January 31.


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