BEING from Liverpool, it’s no big surprise that Graham Oxford loves The Beatles.
But when he decided to take up a career in singing it wasn’t the Fab Four he turned to, but the music of his childhood.
“My mum’s favourite singer was Dean Martin and I grew up listening to big bands and swing, so that’s what I decided to do.”
Graham used singing as a form of therapy after his younger daughter died six years ago at the age of four.
She had special needs and died in her sleep.
“I had been working in the scientific industry and I decided to take a break from work and then I realised I didn’t want to go back,” said Graham, of Gainsborough.
“There wasn’t much bringing me happiness at the time and to do singing took me back to my childhood and it was a bit therapeutic at the time.”
“I got a good reaction from people and it was genuine because I didn’t tell anyone what had happened, so it wasn’t just out if sympathy.”
Graham, who has a 12-year-old daughter, spent a long time rehearsing before taking to the stage for the first time.
He had sung years ago as a 17-year-old when he was in a band working the Liverpool clubs but gave it up when he moved away to university.
He now performs either on his own or with a live big band.
“I went into swing because when I was growing up my mum was always listening to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. The musicianship of the big bands was fantastic, they made it look so easy as well.”
“I don’t try to impersonate anyone, I just put it across in my own voice as I like to do it.”
“Swing is still as popular as ever. I do a lot of weddings and it’s great to see three generations of people enjoying the music and dancing.”
“The older ones remember Dean Martin and the younger ones have heard it from Michael Buble and Robbie Williams, so they like it as well.”
“I like doing the really big numbers, the standards that people can dance and sing along to.”
Graham, whose wife Beverley sometimes accompanies him to gigs, said standing alone on stage was very different to being in a band with your mates around you.
“It all falls on your shoulders. I get nervous going on but that’s because I don’t want to let the audience down.”
As well as weddings, Graham has performed at private and corporate parties, at hotels and even at Everton football ground where he sang at a charity event for the RNLI.
He has also been booked several times at The Charnwood Hotel, Blyth. Sales and marketing manager Maudie Gray was so impressed she booked Graham for her husband John’s 60th birthday as well.
She said: “He’s got a good good voice but also has a good rapport with the audience.”
His favourite swing singer is Dean Martin and his favourite song to perform is Mack The Knife
“I’m very flexible in my performances and will work round what people want and the times they want me to sing.”
“Singing has definitely been therapeutic for me.”
*Graham’s website is www.grahamsingsswing.com and he can be contacted on 07986 004515.