The charm of the classics never fades

Last week Vicky met up with Swing & Rat Pack Singer, Riley Clark.

What do you love about Swing & Rat Pack?

I sing everything from musical theatre to pop and everything in between, but Swing & Rat Pack is one of my favourite sets. Classic songs that everyone knows and loves, their charm never fades.

You are also an actor. How did you get into performing?

I always wanted to perform. As a child I joined local amateur theatre companies and took part in many shows around Portsmouth. Aged 16 I entered the Portsmouth News ‘Instant Star’ talent competition. I won and got to perform at the Kings Theatre’s 100th birthday gala, which was fantastic! I then trained at East 15 Drama School and have been working as a professional actor and singer ever since.

I gather you will perform your Swing & Rat Pack set locally next month. Where?

I’ll be part of the ‘Live at the Regis’ variety show in Bognor. As well as singing you may also see me fronting some dance numbers. The line-up is brilliant; really class acts, including legendary comedian Bobby Davro. I don’t want to give too much away so you’ll just have to come see it!

Is variety still popular?

Yes – just look at shows like BGT. But you don’t get many really traditional live variety shows now. That is what makes the Bognor show so special. And people love that ‘something for everyone’ ethos. We are also lucky to have a fantastic live band on stage. These talented musicians create a really brilliant atmosphere.

What’s this about you infiltrating the audience to eavesdrop?

I was lucky enough to perform in last year’s variety show and one of my favourite things was going out into the foyer after the show and hearing people’s reactions. Everybody loved it! They couldn’t stop talking about what they had seen and were beaming from ear to ear.

You have also done panto in Bognor. Do you enjoy performing here?

I love performing in Bognor Regis [Riley has appeared in pantomime on several occasions]. Not only does the Alexandra Theatre have a great sense of community, but the theatre’s volunteers there make it an absolute joy. Everyone has time and a smile for you.

How do you take care of your voice when you are singing?

I stay hydrated, drink honey and lemon and I have invested in a good voice steamer. I always warm my voice up before singing and I have had lessons to develop good technique.

Do you sing every day?

Yes! If I don’t have a gig then I sing around the house. I especially love songs that I can really belt out. In the future I am looking to do more acting. I love the challenge of creating a character and bringing it to life and I can’t wait to see what comes my way. But I’ll always keep singing.

Tickets for Live at the Regis: www. alexandratheatre.co.uk