📷 : Gary Lake
Multi-talented entertainer Sandy Grigelis has appeared in many UK theatre productions including James Bourne’s musical Loserville at the Union Theatre and a UK tour of Sister Act playing the role of TJ. Recently, Sandy hosted and performed on AJ’s Pritchard’s Get On The Floor! tour and is currently part of the 100 judges on popular BBC music show, All Together Now. Sandy, alongside acting, is also a singer-songwriter and last year he released his debut single titled Sex Note and is busy working on new music. Ahead of the All Together Now final this weekend, Sandy chats about his experience as a judge on the show, touring with Get On The Floor! and his upcoming music plans.
How are you finding your time on All Together Now?
Absolutely love it! I’ve been in both series now. It’s an incredible experience to be on the other side… I’m used to auditioning for people and being judged by them, so now it’s the other way around, babay. I think it’s such a positive show, it gives someone the chance to win £50,000 and receive some constructive criticism – something you don’t often receive after an audition.
What makes a stand-out performance for you on the show?
For me, it’s not just about having a great voice or having a great song, you need to have the whole package: voice, charisma, feeling and emotion! Basically, stage presence!
You’re in a panel of 100 judges alongside Geri Horner, what’s it like working with her and host Rob Beckett?
Well, I’m lucky enough that the legendary Spice Girl asked me to sit next to her for this series. She’s a beauty; it’s an awful lot of pressure on Geri and she handles everything incredibly well, she’s a natural, down to earth and really knows what she’s talking about. Rob is just ridiculously funny (lucky he’s a comedian), he’s so quick and sometimes I feel it’s such a shame that the show is only an hour as so much of his material has to be cut.
📷 : All Together Now Photography
How close are you to launching your podcast with Adam Kelbie?
Extremely!!! We’re hoping the launch will be just after the show finishes.
What was it like performing on the AJ Pritchard ‘Get On The Floor!’ tour?
It was a great experience. I was originally cast as the lead vocalist however I ended up singing, dancing, playing guitar and actually hosted the show – which has turned out to be something that I loved and made me think I’d like to pursue this further!
Had you done anything like this previously?
Never hosted really before apart from my own gigs, however I love talking, probably too much, so I think it comes quite naturally. Although singing, playing guitar etc. I do very regularly.
Did you have a favourite song to perform whilst on this tour?
It was actually the opening number. There was a Bruno Mars medley and I led the song Runaway Baby which I loved rocking out with.
📷 : Gary Lake
How did you find your time as TJ in Sister Act UK tour and being directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood?
TJ, for me, is a slightly camp, vein idiot, so I really didn’t have to act in this. It was a brilliant show and a great interpretation by Craig. Craig is a fantastic person to have in the rehearsal room; he’s not how he appears on Strictly. He’s fun, calming and has some incredible ideas, “fabulous darling”.
It’s the first time I’ve ever worked with him, however whilst my mum was pregnant with me, both Mum and Craig were working with each other on Crazy for You in the West End, so it was crazy him directing me.
How was it being part of the revival of Loserville?
Ooooh that takes me back. Loserville needs to happen again. I was always a fan of Son of Dork and am still a big fan of Busted, so to sing James’ songs in a musical was absolutely awesome. It was also a huge plus embracing my inner geekyness for this role.
What was the response like to your single Sex Note?
All super positive. Music and songwriting is my main passion, so it was really a test to see if it was doable for me to release my first single. Now that is done, I’m back in the studio, getting ready to release an album and do a revamp of Sex Note… #perfectionist.
Do you have any upcoming music plans?
So yeah, currently working on my album. I will be releasing another single prior to that called Live, a complete contrast to Sex Note – a much more emotional approach… so keep an eye out for that. There will also be some gigs later this year; both of my original music and within my function bands.
The next gig that I am very excited to announce is for the Formula One in Monaco – performing at Red Bull’s energy station and for Prince Albert’s (the monarch of Monaco) Birthday – this band is Sandy and Headline.
📷 : Matt Spracklen
What music do you enjoy listening to?
Oooooooooh absolutely ALL SORTS! I was brought up with The Beatles, blues music and rock ‘n’ roll. If I had to pick three artists/bands I’d say:
I realise this is eight but that’s too hard.
What came first for you, singing or theatre, and how did you get into both?
I’d say singing first. Basically, my dad is a musician and my mum is a dancer, so I was never going to be a doctor. I was lucky that both my parents were performers so it was a household filled with music therefore I never wanted to do anything else put perform.
What was your first experience of watching musical theatre?
I can’t remember my first experience, however what made me want to train in theatre was a show I saw at my old college, Stratford-upon-Avon College.
I applied for both the music and the theatre course but was completely torn. Before the auditions, I saw a variety show that the second year theatre students put on. It was so good and I wanted to be in it so bad that I was like yep! That’s it for me! Then I was lucky enough to get on this course. After two years I moved down to London to train at the London School of Musical Theatre. Sorry, rambled a bit there.
Do you have any theatre work booked for the next few months that you can talk about?
I do, yes… however nothing I can talk about now. Sorry, that’s a boring end to the interview but stay tuned!!
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