It’s been a year since Craig Ball hit our screens on Britain’s Got Talent with his impressions act, but a lot has changed since then. He has now performed at shows, worked with brands and uploaded cover videos to YouTube. We sit down with him at his show for Help for Heroes, where he is supporting Collabro, to talk about life after the show, his love of gaming and who he wants to perform for.
What made you decide to audition for Britain’s Got Talent?
This one got twisted a lot. The truth is, I used to be in a band, and I used to do a lot of singing, and a lot of people back then used to say ‘why don’t you go on shows’. So, some of it was not believing in myself and because I got the call, obviously I thought well if they’re saying it then maybe I should. I wasn’t really doing much at the time, it was a pretty rubbish point in life so I was like ‘what can I lose? I can’t lose anything’. I went on originally just to get exposure but as much as the papers were saying they told me to go, they didn’t, I had all the choice in the world. It was my decision.
Do you keep in contact with any of the contestants?
I have up until recently. I am meant to be doing something with Richard at some point on YouTube. I was quite close with Wayne but he’s obviously having his kid so he’s a bit busy. I’ve got stuff going on with me anyway so I’m really bad at contacting.
What was it like getting a standing ovation from the audience and the judges?
Unbelievable, I would say, ridiculous. I had zero confidence when I went on and I was quite scared actually.
Who is the most difficult character to impersonate?
I’d say it’s a toss up between Marty from Madagascar and I’d say when I was learning it, Peter Griffin was probably the hardest to get. But the reason Marty from Madagascar was difficult was purely because it takes a lot of throat because it’s Chris Rock and he’s very like *imitates the sound*, really hoarse, and at the start it was ripping my throat. Then I found a technique to not do that, which is nice.
Are there any characters you’ve tried to do, but can’t quite get there?
Cleveland Brown, I’m having some trouble with that. Staying in Quagmire from Family Guy is difficult. There was one recently but I can’t actually remember which one it was. But those two are definitely ones I’ve been trying over time and still haven’t quite got them to the level I’d like them to be.
Do you find characters more difficult to impersonate than people?
No, it’s actually the opposite for me. I think it’s down to the fact that I’ve always been interested in doing voiceover so I’ve always liked manipulating my voice. Cartoons are just people putting on silly voices and it’s actually really easy to figure out how they’re doing them. Seth McFarlane voices a lot of the characters in Family Guy, so if you can do one voice, you can do another one. I mean, if I sat there I could probably learn the majority of the voices he does.
So would you like to do voiceovers?
Yes, I would love to. I would love to be a full-time character on an animation. I’m actually quite happy to be followed by a few people from the industry and they have actually given me a nudge to get on with it. But yeah, voiceover adverts, why not. I did a BT thing a while back, it was for their social media. We were doing an Oscar themed impressions, I did some new ones actually, I did Frozone from The Incredibles and Doug from Up.
You are doing tonight’s show for Help For Heroes. How did you get involved with them?
Last year, Andrew contacted me for a charity show in Eastbourne for St Wilfred’s Hospice. I did that show last year and I guess he must have liked me enough to bring me back.
If you were to go on tour, would you perform any songs without impersonations?
I would love to, I have actually done it at Wayne’s show. They gave me a 20 minute slot and I realised I couldn’t do 20 minutes so I said ‘is it okay if I sing normally’ and they were like ‘oh yeah go for it’. It did shock a few people. I have a little history in it as mentioned earlier.
What would be your dream venue to perform at?
I like any venue, they’re all fun. I had a good time at CarFest last year, that was a great venue. If I could perform in front of anyone, it would be Seth McFarlane, because he inspires me to always improve my voices, so if I could, I would perform to him, anywhere, it wouldn’t matter what venue it was. I guess these ones are really nice because of the beach. I actually really enjoy the ones down here because after the show I actually go to sit on the beach for a couple of hours and just lie-down. I was there earlier.
Do you still do gaming, and what games do you like to play at the moment?
I do. I haven’t picked up my controller since last week but I was racing through the Uncharted series, really enjoy that. I do like online games but sometimes I just get bored of the repetitiveness so I go back to the story games like Uncharted and The Last of Us. The Last of Us, if you haven’t played it, amazing. It’s like watching a film, I cried twice I think whilst playing it. Runescape was the major online game in my life.
Do you have any plans to release music, either as yourself or an impersonator?
Again, something I would love to do. I have never been great at writing songs, we don’t need any more sad songs. I had an idea just before Christmas to release a Christmas album but it would cost a lot to actually put it together, because of what I do, getting the copyright to be able to release it. Probably would make less money selling it than I actually would buying the rights. It’s a tricky one.
What are your plans for the rest of 2017?
Sort myself out. I’ve had a pretty terrible year, not in terms of this stuff but just in my personal life. Really bad. I’ve suffered with depression for the past year and half to two years, which I did finally announce on YouTube a couple of months ago. Any kind of mental illness like anxiety, depression, anything, you need more publicity because they just don’t have enough. My other half suffers with anxiety and not a lot of people understand what that is. But with depression it’s really difficult to find motivation, so it’s just been a really tricky year.
So just see what it brings?
Yeah. Recently, it’s been turning up, things have been going up again, which is nice for anyone who suffers with that. With the show today, I’m actually doing a new song that I’ve done on YouTube but I’ve never done on stage. One I wanted to do on Britain’s Got Talent, but I wasn’t allowed because it wasn’t current enough and due to not having enough time. I’m actually trying something new and got some backing vocals and I’m putting them on the screen as well so you get four elements of me. It’s just something I wanted to try out on the show but was never able to do it, so I thought, why not do it? It’s the first time ever doing it so no judgements, it’s a preview.