Pre-match entertainment lined-up tomorrow

Tuesday 25th August 2009

Kent has a new pre-match crooner for tomorrow’s NatWest Pro40 match with Surrey Brown Caps. Rat Pack tribute singer Charlie Francis joins us. Find out more about the manbehind the voicein this interview, takenfromthe latest edition of our Clubmagazine, Kent Cricket.

How long have you been a Rat Pack tribute singer?
I started when I was 18 – I“m 26 now.

When did you first realise you could become a professional singer?
When I was 15 I started doing shows at school. I got the part of Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls – Frank Sinatra“s role. So it led on from there, really.

How did you get into swing-era music?
My Nan used to listen to Frank Sinatra. She“d play ‘New York, New York“ to me when I was two or three and I“d sort of dance about to it. I grew up down the Old Kent Road and when I“d go to the pub with my dad or my grandad on a Sunday afternoon, there“d always be live singers doing that type of music.

Is Sinatra the don as far as you“re concerned?
Definitely. He“s the biggest influence on me. There“s more to it than the voice: it“s his whole persona and attitude. If he walked into the room, the whole room would stop. To have that sort of power, it“s fascinating.

Do you do any more contemporary songs in your set?
I do a lot of Michael Bublé and Jamie Cullum. Michael Bublé“s really good; he“s got a really genuine swing/big band voice. Jamie Cullum“s a good musician but he“s nowhere near as good a singer as Michael Bublé.

What“s the biggest gig you“ve done so far?
I sung at the Café de Paris in Leicester Square for the Bank of New York as part of a big charity fundraiser.

Have you ever shared the stage with anyone famous?
I did a champagne reception with Sophie Ellis Bextor.

Have you ever done any big outdoor gigs before?
I was abroad for a year singing in Cyprus and there are a lot of massive open-air restaurants… but never anything on the scale of a cricket ground. I“m really looking forward to singing at Kent.

Do you watch much cricket?
Yeah, I“ve been watching the Twenty20 and The Ashes. I don“t really have a county but my dad follows Surrey.

Play a bit?
When I was at school I did. I used to like being a wicket-keeper because you“ve always got something to do. I was Sport Billy: I could play anything: football, cricket, rugby. I used to play semi-pro football for Sittingbourne, Whitstable, Hastings and Dartford at Ryman League level. But since the singing“s got quite serious for me I don“t have the time anymore.

The new edition (issue five) of Kent Cricket is now available. You can buy yours in person at the St Lawrence Ground or by calling a member of the Business Development Team on 01227 456886.