Q&A: Jeff Anderson
The 23-year-old Newtownards man shot to fame last year on ITV talent show Superstar, and will be a special guest in festive show The Music Box at the Waterfront Hall next weekend
This isn't your first time performing in The Music Box, is it?
No, I'm delighted that Peter Corry has asked me back as a guest this year. It's a great show to get the whole family into the mood for Christmas. One song I'll be performing is from the musical I've been associated with recently ...
Speaking of which, you made it to the finals of finding the new Superstar for Andrew Lloyd Webber. What did you make of the man himself?
He seemed a very passionate and humble person. Obviously, a complete genius when it comes to writing music.
How has the Superstar experience helped your career? Or has it been a hindrance?
The training I gained vocally and performance-wise, and as a musician, has directed me down the right path into different career choices – as a singer, songwriter and actor, to do what I'm passionate about, which is music. So whether it's on the stage or in the studio, the experience has been life-changing.
Did the celebrity judges and your colleagues on the stage tour, in which you were an
understudy, give you any lasting advice?
Well, Mel C told me not to be afraid to use the rock tone in my voice, which she saw as a strength. Getting to perform alongside her, Tim Minchin and Chris Moyles was incredible.
Is singing and performing what you always wanted to do?
I always sang through school and at home since I was very young, as I come from quite a musical family – I got my first guitar for Christmas when I was 11. At the time I loved sport, but I constantly played the guitar and sang my favourite songs – Guns 'n' Roses, Aerosmith or AC/DC, the rock classics. Slash was a big influence for playing, and Steven Tyler's vocals just made me want to sing as much as I could!
Is there a particular musical you'd like to star in?
I would love to land a role in the likes of Les Miserables in the West End, or even Phantom of the Opera – two musicals that are just incredible.
You were also an extra in Game of Thrones, just before your appearance on Superstar.
That must have been interesting ...
I was in the second series and it was really the first on-screen work I had. It showed me how different it was to the stage. I loved seeing how scenes were put together and also how the main actors would approach their work.
Besides music, you also have a passion for rugby and performed on the charity single for the Ulster rugby team in memory of your late friend, Nevin Spence.
Yes, rugby has been a very big part of my life. At one stage I felt it was all I wanted to do. I trained in the Ulster development squads through school. When I couldn't continue playing due to injuries, I tried to give something back by recording the vocals for SUFTUM (Stand Up For The Ulster Men) at the start of the year.
Are you looking forward to spending Christmas at home?
Of course, I love Christmas! You get away from the busy world and try to focus on things that matter.
And, what does your partner make of your increasingly busy schedule?
Sadly, my guitar is the only thing around my neck at the minute!
INTERVIEW: Claire Savage