Kiwi singer Tim Beveridge looks to the future with a sound of yesteryear

Tim Beveridge is a singer looking into the past while propelling an old style into the future with a fresh new attitude and individual panache. Come Rain, Come Shine, his second album, is flying out the doors and aiming to set dance floors swinging.

After abandoning life as a lawyer 12 years ago, the Rotorua-born singing sensation worked extensively in musical theatre before deciding to concentrate solely on concert performances. He has sung with Dame Malvina Major and Hayley Westenra, but it's the sound of big bands that really get him going.

Last year he approached Sony Music's head honcho Michael Glading. Tim's talent and enthusiasm impressed Glading and he signed the singing star on Christmas Eve.

Come Rain, Come Shine was destined to be a hit, and the Sony Music boss saw that immediately.

'The fact that the music is an old style sound can be a barrier when trying to gain a new audience,' he says, 'but once they've heard it they're usually sold.'

'It's just beautiful music,' says Tim of the songs chosen for his album. Most of them come from the 1950s and 1960s and are associated with musical legends like Sammy Davis Jnr, Bobby Darin, Burt Bacharach, and of course, Frank Sinatra.

'It's a completely new take on a lot of the songs too. They aren't just covers, we added our own style every time.'

He was blessed to have Hollywood legend Russ Garcia as his musical mentor on the project. The veteran arranger and conductor retired to New Zealand twenty years ago, but the 88-year-old is still in hot demand. Tim is now added to a list of esteemed artists Russ has worked with that includes Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson.

'He is such an amazing guy,' says

Tim, 'and I'd definitely call him 88-years-young!'

Russ also introduced Tim to the band that would accompany him on the. album tour in LA; many of whom were in their seventies and had names like Sinatra on their CVs.

'It was incredibly nerve-wracking,' Tim says of the experience, 'would they really give a toss about me?'

'We got respect from being there with Russ Garcia, but I think we walked out with respect we'd earned.'

He feels so thankful can he can support himself doing what he really loves, and especially singing the music that he loves.

'I'm like a pig in the mud with this stuff - I love the melodies, the lyrics, everything.'

He says working with people who had worked with his idols was exciting.

'It was surreal for me - I never would have believed it years ago if you'd told me I would meet a musical guru who would take me to LA to work with some of the best in the business.'

Though Tim is in the midst of planning a major tour to support the album, he is adamant the bright lights of Hollywood will not replace New Zealand as his home

His partner, Anne Maree, is a primary school teacher who lives in Christchurch. The pair met at one of Tim's concerts. Though they have been together three years, they have no plans to live together.

'We're going to sit down and have a long talk about that soon,' laughs Tim.

Tim also works in the classical realm and directs major musical events like the annual concert at Rotorua's Lakeside.

Following his album tour Tim says he'd like to do an album of slightly quirkier covers, 'just to challenge myself and the listener', he says.

He sings a very different version of the Crowded House hit Something So Strong, which is an audience favourite. He says he'd like to do a lot more of that, and other unplugged tracks, in the future.

'I'd love to find a bunch of very different, iconic Kiwi songs and try and do something different with them,' he says.

And if the ultimate test of a good song is whether it still works outside of its environment, the music here is world class.

By Helene Ravlich





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