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Karaoke Song Lands Big Deal 2007-09-23

Posted by clype in Discovery, Humanities, Scotland.
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After years of belting out the hits in karaoke bars, a Scot who will soon be picking up his pension has been signed by a US American record label.

Ray Conn, the former manager of ‘The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’, was on holiday in the USA when a chance meeting sparked his big break.

A music journalist was so impressed by his rendition of the ‘Oasis’ hit ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ in a Seattle pub that she tipped off the President of ‘Artistry Records’.

Now Mr.Conn, 62, from Callander, Perthshire, says he is to return to USA in November 2007 to start recording four albums.

He is also scheduled to go on the road again by touring North America with a band put together by the company. Mr Conn said:

‘It’s all happened out of the blue. I was on a night out in Seattle and said that I fancied going to a karaoke bar so we went along.

‘I got called up and the audience were all standing up and cheering during the song.

‘Then this woman came up to me, said that she was a music journalist and told me that I had a great voice.’

Mr Conn was introduced to Jerry Kennedy, who runs the record label and has previously worked with artists like Kenny Rogers and Boyz II Men. He recalled:

‘Jerry never said much but he took my number. Two weeks after that I got a call from him and he asked when I was coming back to America.

‘I told him November and he asked, “How are you fixed for doing four albums?”

‘I did ask, “Why me?” because I haven’t sung properly for 40-odd years. He just told me that he liked my voice and could hear what I was singing.

‘Jerry Kennedy is quite a hard guy and told me he wasn’t taking me on because he liked me but said it was because “you’ve got a really distinctive voice”. ‘

But despite his relatively sedate existence in a Perthshire farmhouse, Mr Conn is no stranger to the world of rock ‘n’ roll. He wrote songs for and later managed Alex Harvey, the late Scots rocker who had hits including Delilah in the 1970s.

He once rubbed shoulders with the Beatles and Rolling Stones, went drinking with Billy Fury and Roger Daltrey, and partied with Jimi Hendrix.

He is now preparing to record the four albums – one of 1960s hits aimed at Vietnam War veterans; another focusing on Scottish songs; a Christmas album; and one ‘Daniel O’Donnell-style’ compilation.

He was ‘absolutely shocked, amazed, astounded’ by Mr Kennedy’s offer.

‘The amazing thing is I only got back to singing two years ago after giving it up when I broke my neck in a car crash in France in 1972.

‘I’ve learned that no-one is going to give you anything for nothing, so I have to grab this opportunity.’

Pauline Thomson, who runs ‘The Albion Bar’ in Stirling, where Mr Conn is a regular performer, said last night:

‘Ray’s got a really good voice and people stand up and cheer him when he sings in the bar.

‘I was surprised about the record deal, with him almost being a senior citizen.

‘But his time has obviously come and I’m proud it sort of started in my bar.’

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