Award-winning crooner and ‘King of Swing’, Matt Ford (BBC Proms) is bringing his Big City Swing Orchestra to Wonderville in Haymarket for a very special one off four night event from 25th Jan to 28th Jan. He will be joined by the fabulous Katie Birtill (Tell Me On A Sunday, Sweet Charity).
We spoke to Matt about the show, his love for performing, collaborating with Katie Birtill, and much more.
You are bringing the Big City Swing Orchestra to Wonderville in Haymarket. What excites you about playing this venue?
It’s such a cool venue. It’s intimate, with a warm, friendly, welcoming feel. Any opportunity to sing with a Big Band is exciting, but the BCSO is going to sound great in there!
What can audiences expect from the show?
The highest quality musicians, playing some of the best music ever written. Katie Birtill and I will be performing cabaret style sets during dinner, and afterwards a set for dancing/listening/toe-tapping. We’ll be performing some Sinatra favourites, alongside the hits of Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Buble, Doris Day, and loads more!
You’ll be joined by guest vocalist Katie Birtill. What will Katie bring to the show?
Katie is at the forefront of the younger generation of really great Big Band singers. Katie is a regular at the UK’s major concert venues, recently joining me at The Barbican Centre for a concert celebrating Frank Sinatra. Katie brings class, style, sophistication and of course, top quality vocals.
Can you tell us about the fantastic big band musicians you picked to be part of this show?
I’ve been working with the UK’s top Big Bands for the last 20+ years, and in that time have become friends with the very finest musicians. The formation of the Big City Swing Orchestra has given me the opportunity to bring together these tremendous talents. The quality of player on-stage will astound the audience. They really are the best of the best.
What do you love most about performing live?
The career hiatus brought about by the pandemic really got me thinking about what I do, and why I do it. I’ve been singing for over 30 years, and it’s the sort of occupation that seemed to just keep rolling on without too much thought. However, when I wasn’t able to get up on-stage and sing, it left a massive void in my life. I then began to realise that singing and performing isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am. It’s difficult to describe to anyone who hasn’t done it. It’s an intrinsic need I suppose. Performing live is both terrifying and thrilling in equal measure. There’s so much pressure to not make mistakes, it’s utterly exhausting. But when you get it right, and the audience stand and applaud, it’s like nothing else.
Do you have any other projects or ambitions to share with us?
I’ve developed a Swing Era vocal project call SingSwingSing!, working with people aged over 65, to build self-confidence and self esteem. We’re hoping to bring it to London in the not-too-distant future. Currently, discussions are underway with an incredible prestigious venue, so watch this space! It’s proven extremely worthwhile and successful in other arts of the country.
Aside from that, I’d love another appearance at the BBC Proms. It’s such a special thing to be a part of.
Box Office – Tickets can be purchased on the Fever website – https://feverup.com/m/122390
Location – Wonderville, 57-60 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QX – 2 minutes walk from Piccadilly
Dates – Wednesday 25th January – Saturday 28th January 2023 from 7pm onwards till late
Website – https://www.wondervilleuk.com/
Twitter – @WondervilleLive
Facebook – @Wonderville
Instagram – @WondermentLive