We meet up with new singing tutor, Elliot Clay. Elliot fills us in about his career as a performer, of which highlights include appearing onstage alongside Elaine Paige; his time at Drama School; and what to expect on his singing courses. Elliot teaches a range of singing courses at City Academy, from Beginners to Advanced.
How would you describe your classes?
I try to make sure my classes are the right combination of hard work and fun. I always think the best results come from a relaxed and friendly atmosphere and I make sure that my classes are a completely safe space to work in and try new things.
What do you like about teaching?
What I love about teaching is seeing student's abilities develop over a length of time. I enjoy meeting new people and it's also surprising just how much you learn yourself as a teacher: it's always a two-way process!
Do you think anyone can sing?
Yes, I think we all have the ability to sing and possess completely individual and unique voices, which is one of the things that makes singing so exciting. With hard work and determination anything is possible.
When did you start singing? Was there a "magic moment" when you thought I really want to do this professionally?
I always sung from an early age and was involved in professional and amateur shows right up until I left for Drama school. I wouldn't say there was a "magic moment" as such, but hearing Stephen Sondheim's 'Sweeney Todd' for the first time and being lucky enough to play the lead role twice, was certainly a confirmation of what I wanted to do!
Singing with Elaine Paige and the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall was fantastic
You trained at Mountview. How did you find Drama School? And how did professional training help you?
Professional training is incredibly hard work and requires a lot of commitment to learning and practice, but it's also great fun. Mountview is a fantastic school because the first-class level of teaching across all departments really helps prepare you for whatever the industry may throw at you - versatility is key!
What was the first professional work you got?
Straight after graduating I directed the 40th Anniversary Production of Side by Side by Sondheim in London. The show was really well received and we were lucky enough to transfer to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane as part of Sondheim's 85th birthday celebrations.
What’s the favourite show that you’ve been part of?
It's hard to pick a favourite as each experience is so different, but I had great fun as Clyde in 'Bonnie & Clyde' and singing with Elaine Paige and the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall was fantastic too!
get stuck in and you'll find that you're enjoying yourself so much that you soon forget about any nerves
If you could sing with any artist, who would you pick and why?
I would love to sing with Lady Gaga. I think she is a true artist and musician with an incredible voice.
What you say to someone who was nervous about trying a singing course for the first time?
I used to be incredibly nervous about singing not too long ago, so I completely understand what it feels like. However, come along to a Beginners class and get stuck in and hopefully you'll find that you're enjoying yourself so much that you soon forget about any nerves.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm currently writing the music and lyrics for an original musical and recording a studio album with a full orchestra in early 2016: watch this space!
Find out more about Elliot's singing courses here.