This is Richard and if you don’t know anything about my hobbies and interests, let me tell you that I am a HUGE F1 fan!
It feels so strange that a year has passed since the last time we were blogging (buzzing?) about going to Formula 1 yet here we are. This year is different though, it seems as if we’re missing the main show. Funnily enough that’s because that is exactly what we’re doing.
When our agent contacted us to tell us that The Paddock Club wanted us back again we were surprised, not because we don’t believe in our product – we’ve honed it for ten years so we should be confident with what our clients get, as much of our feedbacks shows. However, the Paddock Club like to have a variety year on year. This is our third year at one of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after sporting spectacles and this is the sixth band we’ll be working with. The line-up is us, a walking band and a fixed stage-band so for us to be invited back again is a great compliment and most humbling.
Over the two years we’ve done F1 we’ve seen different TestostaTone line-ups and different requirements from Silverstone. In the first year we sang Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Free Practice, Qualifiers and Race Day respectively), last year we were singing for only the Saturday and Sunday and this year we are doing all three days again. We hope that this is due to a very special event last year, truly the pinnacle of our time there. When walking back to our green room we noticed a very impressive set of doors which nonchalantly had no words written on them, just two burly security guards whose sincere smiles and immense presence said it all: don’t even try to get in! We asked our agent what that area was, to which he replied ‘That’s the President’s Club – I’ve been hoping for one of my acts to get in there for years’. No prizes for guessing what happened next. Yep, they asked us to go and sing in there as our style of music was more suited to the folk in the President’s Club, replete with its own bar, serving staff, private balcony and grand piano. As he came up to shake our hands and thank us for performing to his friends and acquaintances, I recognised this one man due to his legendary status and influence in F1 (if you didn’t know, I’m a massive Formula 1 fan!) but couldn’t put a name to the face. It was no other than Paddy Hopkirk, Chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Association, owners of the Silverstone racetrack.
Last year was hot – ridiculously hot! Staying hydrated was key not just for health of the body but also for health of the voice. Thankfully the Paddock Club has well-circulated air but sadly not the most effective air-conditioning due to the massive expanse of space that it is. However, if that’s the worst thing that we can say about being paid to do something that we see as a total privilege, then turn the air con off, give us a tub of cooking oil and leave us to slather! In total we probably sing for about two hours which may not sound like much but when you’re an acapella group and there are only three of you, that’s a lot of voice usage. Getting the right treatment for your voice is crucial. There’s nothing better for the voice than water, sleep and resisting the urge to rehearse everything a few times on the way down. A tired voice is a quiet voice and when you have no PA that’s not good. We avoid vocal zones due to their anaesthetic qualities – great for one isolated performance but not much use when you’re due to sing the following day and you’ve unwittingly damaged your voice. Lots of Olbas Oil, Fishermen’s Friends and Olbas Oil pastilles are crucial to have up your proverbial sleeve. If things are on the edge of causing slight tears in the vocal fold (you get to know the warning signs after a while, starting with a fuzzier sounding voice, a less reactive voice etc), out comes the Pholcadeine Linctus followed by water. There’s can be no miming in acapella so there is no hiding place.
So, 9 days to go and numerous gigs between now and then. Every single gig that we do is important, whether it be a free charity event or Wembley Stadium, Somerleyton Village Fete or Royal Ascot. However Silverstone is special, unique and has a living energy about it. Let’s hope that Lewis can bring it home again this year and that the Mercedes team can get that overheating problem sorted, the problem that seemingly held their race pace back in Austria. And let’s hope that we can find a radio station covering the race at 14:15 on Sunday. We’re singing at Ely Folk Festival at 18:30 Sunday night so we’ve got no choice but to leave Silverstone when the race starts. It’s most upsetting especially given that we get to watch the whole race from wherever we want to watch it from, however a contract and a gentleman’s agreement are of equal importance in the music world. Honouring your word is absolutely crucial and, indeed, wholly honourable. Ely will be truly great too, such fun and something different – we are thankful for being able to go from one great gig to another. What a privilege we have. We get to spend time together as a family, get to do what we love (singing!) and we get paid for it. Wow!
One other thing before we go. Our agent also manages the F1 entertainment in Abu Dhabi and performs there himself with his group. With the current Silverstone contract in question, let’s hope that the Abu Dhabi circuit wants an acapella group next year!
Our mobiles are ready on standby…………!