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Interview: Charlie Landsborough

PUBLISHED: 17:27 11 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:39 29 October 2010

Abigail Saltmarsh

Country, folk and rock'n'roll singer Charlie Landsborough returns to Norwich next week. He tells ABIGAIL SALTMARSH about his rise to success and his love of music.

Further listening: Charlie Landsborough

Country, folk and rock'n'roll singer Charlie Landsborough returns to Norwich next week. He tells ABIGAIL SALTMARSH about his rise to success and his love of music.

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Charlie Landsborough has been singing and playing music since he was a tiny boy but it wasn't until he was 53 that he really hit the big time.

Until then the country, folk and rock 'n' roll singer had held down a number of jobs, including working as a primary school teacher for many years, and he says he still has to pinch himself occasionally to make sure it isn't all a dream.

“I used to walk past these large houses and think 'how can anyone ever earn enough to afford one of those?'

“But now my life has changed - and I live in one of them!

“Sometimes I do still find it hard to believe, but I never cease to be grateful for everything that has happened, and that I can now look after my family and do the thing that I enjoy best of all - to play music.”

Born in 1941, as one of 11 children, Landsborough grew up in Birkenhead.

As an adult, he joined the army, was a grocery store manager, driver, navvy, quality control engineer and then finally a teacher.

But all the time, his dreams were of music.

Landsborough never stopped writing and performing and finally, just 14 years ago, his big break came.

“Foster and Allen asked me to support them on a tour but then at the last minute it was decided that there wouldn't be a support band.

“I was disappointed so I phoned an Irish TV station, they said they would be keen to have me on and the next week I was top of the Irish charts,” said Landsborough.

Before long, he was doing his own sell-out tour of the country - and he hasn't looked back since.

So what is it about his music that makes people pack into venues like the Theatre Royal to hear it?

“I'm not one of these clever people who goes through 'a blue period' or has another deep reason for their success - I just write what I feel,” he said.

“I think people relate to that. They also like the anecdotes in the show, and I play with a very good five piece band.”

Songs come back to him - and are developed - from all periods of his life. Some of the tunes that he even wrote for youngsters when he was a teacher are now among his most loved numbers.

“Some started life as songs for school assemblies!” he said.

“There's one I write for a special little girl, who was having difficulties. Its called Special and I recently found it, recorded it and sang it at the Special Paraplegic Olympics in Dublin.”

But, he admitted, he doesn't regret leaving his teaching job and immersing himself in his music, at all.

“I always wanted to be a musician and although I enjoyed the first few years of teaching, the pressures and the paperwork do get you down.

“I'm overjoyed to be performing now, and doing what I love so much.”

And he added: “The first time I heard people singing along to one of my songs it was just amazing.

“Now, as long as I'm able to, and people want to see me, I'll keep writing my music and playing in places like Norwich.”

t Charlie Landsborough performs at the Theatre Royal on October 13, £5-£17.50, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Further listening: Charlie Landsborough

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