Si Cranstoun, musician
Don't give up believing in yourself, march on regardless and don't ever get a big ego ...
Cooly Rocks On 2015 is officially in full swing with this weekend shaping up to be one of the biggest and best yet. One of the most anticipated acts from the final weekend’s festivities is undoubtedly UK-based crowd favourite, Si Cranstoun. The charismatic crooner set hearts aflutter on his previous two trips in 2012 and 2013 with this year to be no exception. The Weekend Edition Gold Coast had a chat with Si to get to know a little bit more about the man with the velvet voice.
You’re coming out to Australia for Cooly Rocks On 2015, what can audiences expect from your shows
Cooly Rocks On 2015 audiences can expect energetic pulsating rhythms from fabulous Aussie drummer Scotty and my signature powerhouse vocals to a high-octane collection of new and classic songs. This will reinforced by a blazing horn section, booming bass and groovy guitar chops. So people are in for a real treat!
Of course, this won’t be your first time performing at the festival. What do you remember from your time here in 2012 and 2013?
Very happy memories from the two previous shows here! I remember the stunning golden coastline, the warmth and joviality of the Cooly Rocks On fans who all made me feel like a member of the family, the way Coolangatta village embraces the festival with live music stands roaring out in the street. It was one long giant party for all the family. Did I mention the classic cars? I recall one of the finest collections of classic cars on display I’ve ever seen. And don’t start me on the rockabilly girls!
What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re back in Australia?
Performing with the band is at the top, then catching up with all the friends I made on my last visit.
How would you describe your style of music?
I’d say it’s a soulful, bluesy blend of rock ‘n’ roll with a dash of swing and doo wop.
What do you love most about the 1950s?
All of it! I love the music – not only was there straight rock ‘n’ roll but also the fact that music stars of the 1950s would go on to inspire the soul and rock revolution that followed decades later. I love the fashion, the guys dressed tough, or super sharp and the girls were dolled up to the nines. Then there’s the movies!
Who are your musical idols?
I love Jackie Wilson, he’s the man for the high end of my range, Sam Cooke is the man for my middle range and then Nat King Cole for the bass end.
What inspires you creatively and musically?
Well, I’m primarily a songwriter and the way I see it, a singer’s identity is based upon a song or collection of songs that become associated with his or her voice. So I’ve always strived to create my sound and style not only with my voice but by the music that I write. I enjoy writing alone and mornings are when I feel the most inspired. My inspiration comes from a blend of observation of our modern day lifestyles along with the writing styles that came out of songs in the 1950s and 1960s.
You began your career as a busker. How do you think that experience has affected you as an artist?
Yes busking was a wonderful, gradual and healthy learning experience for me to grow as an artist. When I first started out in my teens, I didn’t have what you might call instant talent. Instead, what I had was enthusiasm and a passion to create and perform music. I’d say I was actually pretty average in the beginning but when you are a street entertainer the worst that can happen is people just pass on by. Over time I gradually improved, in fact, I improved a lot! As a result of that experience, I now feel I have vibe with the crowd and an understanding of how to read an audience, that’s helped me win them over.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
I think the biggest challenge has been to keep it together through the hard times and continuing to believe in myself when all seemed lost. Hopefully those days are gone now – Cooly Rocks On is going to be a huge celebration for me as it’s my third visit.
Congratulations on your major-label debut album Modern Life! Can fans expect any new music from you any time soon?
Thanks very much! Yes we will be playing new tracks from the Modern Life album in the set along with a newly reissued rockin’ vintage CD that will on sale exclusively at Cooly Rocks On entitled Jukebox Jump.
Have you always been musically inclined?
Yes! From a very young age I loved to jump around to tunes and buy 45s. I also quickly picked up a guitar and joined the school band.
What do you consider to be your career highlight so far?
Here in the UK we have a couple of legendary TV/Radio personalities and through my success at Warner, I was championed by and got to meet Sir Michael Terence ‘Terry’ Wogan and Chris Evans.
Can you remember what was running through your mind the first time you performed in public?
I was busking and it was just a feeling of complete panic! I was hoping for rain on the walk into town.
How did you feel at the end of that performance?
Elated! I was 18, the set was just four songs repeated over for 45-minutes and at the end there was £70 in the guitar case!
What’s your personal definition of ‘success’?
Performance followed by crowd gratitude.
Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring musicians?
Don’t give up believing in yourself, march on regardless and don’t ever get a big ego. Absorb criticism like a sponge and remember the more constructive criticism you can take the stronger you’ll become. Your voice will change everyday depending on whether you had a good or bad sleep, as you grow older your vocal tones in 20s will differ to your 30s so if you have a bad day don’t worry, better days will eventually follow.