Si Cranstoun dances his way over to The Wedgewood Rooms

Si Cranstoun
Si Cranstoun

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After more than 20 years busking on the street, the man hailed as the ‘king of vintage’ will embark on his first ever solo UK tour, making a stop off at the Wedgewood Rooms.

However, Si Cranstoun is under no delusions that this means he has hit the big time.

Si knows that he still needs to put in a lot of hard work to get regular airplay on TV and radio, but this is something that the soulful singer is all too familiar with.

Having started his career playing on the streets, it wasn’t easy for Si to make the transition into small venues and pubs.

Even when he managed to get a band together playing paid shows more regularly, he was uncertain if he would be accepted into this new vintage scene he had stumbled upon.

He says: ‘It was a very slow burn from busking to where I am now. To me it was a job, I was performing to people and I was enjoying what I was doing.

It is sad that The Cellars has gone, but we have now made the step up to the Wedgewood Rooms and we are looking forward to the next step of our journey

Si Cranstoun

‘I just wanted to be the best artist I could possibly be, it just so happened to be my stage was the street.

‘It was difficult when I first started playing at these blues and jazz clubs as they just saw me as a reggae artist doing bebop and were a bit like: “What is he doing here?”

‘But over time I think people have appreciated that I have this underlying ska quality to my voice and this is what some see as the appeal of my music.’

Si is not a stranger to the city of Portsmouth, after playing three sold-out shows at The Cellars at Eastney, a venue the singer holds dear to his heart.

Now stepping up to a bigger stage, Cranstoun hopes those friends he made at the iconic city venue will make the short trip across town to Albert Road.

‘It is sad that The Cellars has gone, but we have now made the step up to the Wedgewood Rooms and we are looking forward to the next step of our journey,’ he adds.

‘I hope the Wedge will offer something new to us and I hope to see some of those regulars from The Cellars.

‘We will have to step up our game and play a more upbeat dance-style set for people to hopefully dance around to and get involved in.’

With his style heavily influenced by the sounds of the 1950s and ’60s, Si admits he still can’t quite get his head around the plaudits he is receiving.

He says: ‘I think the strangest moment was having Chris Evans grab me on the stage at Carfest shouting: “How good is he?”

‘With the internet a lot of youngsters now have more choice in music and are open to listening to something they may not otherwise hear.

‘And we have certainly benefited from that. You know what they say: “Old is the new new”.’

Si plays at The Wedgewood Rooms on Thursday, September 17. Tickets £14, doors open 8pm. Go to wedgewood-rooms.co.uk
TIM BIRKBECK