Piano shop owner's search for woman who photographed will.i.am in his store

David Courtney (right) and superstar singer will.i.amDavid Courtney (right) and superstar singer will.i.am
David Courtney (right) and superstar singer will.i.am
The owner of a piano shop wants to track down a woman who photographed superstar singer will.i.am in his store.

David Courtney, who runs Arundel Pianos in The Passageway in High Street, Arundel, was taking a well-deserved break when The Black Eyed Peas frontman dropped into his shop for an impromptu performance on July 1 last year.

A starstruck customer in her thirties or forties took his picture – but unfortunately, staff member Richard Fairbrass did not recognise the seven-time Grammy winner, even when the lady told him who he was.

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Shop owner David has been trying to track down the elusive photographer ever since, asking each female customer if she holds the key to the mystery.

The 53-year-old, from Rustington, said: ‘When I heard, I was pretty gobsmacked and a bit gutted I wasn’t there – I would have recognised him.

‘I’m a songwriter as well so I would have liked to play him one of my songs.’

Richard, 74, from Aldwick Bay in Bognor Regis, said he was serving a customer when a ‘chap walked in with three very attractive young ladies’ who then went shopping.

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The well-dressed man made a beeline for the piano and started playing – which Richard initially took offence to.

He said: ‘I nearly told him off when he walked in because he didn’t ask and I didn’t like that.

‘But when he started playing, I heard the chords and I thought “wow”.

‘He was what I call “noodling” – there was no song I could recognise.’

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The pair then hit it off, and Richard tried to sell him a piano.

He also offered a job to the singer, who is reportedly worth at least $75million.

He said: ‘We got chatting, and he told me he had been in Brighton. Jokingly, I said to him if you are there and ever want a job and I can’t make it in, David will employ you.

‘He smiled at me – he was a very charming, nice man. I know of The Black Eyed Peas and his name, but I don’t watch a lot of TV so I did not recognise his face.’

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After The Voice UK judge left, the woman – who came in the shop during the encounter and took the star’s picture – told Richard he was ‘the coolest man I have ever seen’ for how he handled the situation, before realising he had not recognised the star.

Richard said: ‘She told me and I said, “oh, okay”. I didn’t fall over myself even then.’

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