Strictly Come Dancing dream comes true for Belfast singer
FROM drumming in a Catholic Church folk group to singing for the stars on Strictly Come Dancing, one north Belfast man has revealed how "dreams do come true".
Patrick Smyth (31) from the Cavehill Road last night described how the stage door to the hit BBC One show opened just last month and he has already appeared twice on the programme.
He made his debut on the show on November 28 as one of the four main singers performing the songs for the dancing celebrities and their professional partners.
And speaking from Amsterdam last night, Mr Smyth told The Irish News that when the opportunity came along, he knew he "couldn't turn it down".
As a young boy growing up in Belfast, he said he always had an interest in singing and performing.
The Aquinas Grammar School pupil was a member of St Agnes Choral Society and also played the drums for the Down and Connor Folk Group, which provides music throughout the parish.
After studying French and Spanish at Queen's University, Belfast, he trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London and has since performed in several West End musicals and shows.
Currently singing with the vocal group The 4 Tunes, he was working alongside one of the permanent singers on Strictly Come Dancing when the dream opportunity came along.
"In March, I worked with Hayley Sanderson, who is one of the lead vocalists on Strictly. I did a show with her in Drury Lane in London and we got on so well," he said.
"Along with my group, the 4 Tunes we had been recording an album with her partner so Hayley was hearing me sing.
"I dropped a not-so subtle hint that I loved Strictly and it actually came at a time when they were opening the door for new male vocalists for the show.
"Hayley arranged for me to meet Dave Arch and Tommy Blaize (from the show) and they invited me to sing at the end of Strictly rehearsals about a month and a half ago.
"So basically I got the thumbs up and the seal approval then."
As a big fan of the show, the singer said he was delighted that within weeks, he received the call he had been hoping for.
"At that stage there were only about four or five Saturday's left of the show, so they said hopefully I would get on," he said.
"I didn't hear for a couple of weeks and then I had just arrived in the Caribbean for a gig with the 4 Tunes when I got the call.
"So I had a few sleepless nights trying to arrange cover for me to be flown out to the Caribbean, I knew I couldn't turn it down.
"The first week I got to do a solo of The Final Countdown for the dance of Georgia and Giovanni, it was a bit a of mad day especially after travelling 18 hours to get there,
"On Saturday past, I was asked to do it again.
"I had two solo pieces, singing Too Darn Out for Katie and Anton's Charleston and then New York, New York for Anita's dance, which I was so proud to sing on what would have been Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday."
While the singer will not be performing on the Strictly Come Dancing final on Saturday, he said he hopes there will be other opportunities in the future.
"Let's hope the door remains open, it's a fantastic show to be involved with," he said.
"All the musicians were absolutely lovely, they are all the best of the best. It's always been a dream job for me to be able to sing on Strictly and it shows dreams do come true."