– Hello Lee, thanks a bunch for agreeing to this interview. How’s everything going right now in the SHY’s camp? Just before releasing your first album with them!
Hi Tania, you are welcome,
Everyone is very excited this week, as the record finally gets released throughout Europe!, It has been a long journey to reach this point x
– As I said, this brand new effort is your first album as SHY’s vocalist. How have you felt about about it?
I am really pleased at the moment at how all the early reviews have been so positive, we have all worked so hard to get here, the change in the chemistry rubbed off on everyone & we all got so vibed for this album, you can hear it in every song on the record, & Steve Harris is Electrifying on the whole thing, he is just pure magical throughout …
– And how did everything started? How did you get involved in the band? I read you were already a fan of the band before joining them…
Yes, I used to watch them play when I could whenever they came to town, they used to blow me away especially Tony, they were all so good live & used to set the template for the rest of us budding rockers back then, How did I get involved with them?, well I used to be the vocalist with John Thomas in his version of Budgie & we used to rehearse in Birmingham back then at Roy’s rehearsal complex, so knew him from then, when I heard Tony had left I contacted them & Roy remembered me, I got asked to audition & was in really from that night back in 2006.
– Some people thought SHY without Tony Mills wouldn’t work; have you felt much pressure? Are you now feeling more liberated?
I have felt the pressure, I had big shoes to fill, I knew from the start that the only way this would work was to be myself, I can’t sing like Tony, I have my own style & he has his, it was all about adapting my own to find a voice that suits the band but most importantly was still 100% me.
In my early days I was more of a melodic vocalist so it was a case of re-visiting my past & blending it with the modern me, curbing some soul along the way but not losing the emotion, I think I found it in the end & it came quite quickly if I am honest, I struck an immediate relationship with Steve & we were off !
The only rule is to sing for the songs , not myself, stick by that & you cannot go wrong …
– You have a really different voice from Mill’s, was this something the band was looking for? And because of this, how has been the reaction from the audience? As changing vocalist tends to be a risky change for any band, specially for a such a long-running act.
Yes, it was their choice & theirs alone to decide which road they wanted to go down, but they knew right away they didn’t want to have a TM clone.
I spoke with them & knew they wanted a fresh direction so there would & could be no comparisons, I wasn’t sure how the die hards would take it but they have all been so very good to me & made me so welcome from day one …
– In general, how has been the feedback for this album like? And what are your expectations?
The feedback has been amazing so far, I am really knocked out at the lovely reviews, I think we all are …
Steve has penned some amazing songs here, We all knew how good they were from the day we all sat in his home studio back in January 2007 & he played them to us all, you live with them for so long you kinda forget how good they are! x
– This album is entitled just «Shy», and the cover artwork is black with just the band’s logo on it; what do you wanted to express with this? Is this album the actual SHY’s sound for this era? Or maybe is a new era itself?
As far as the artwork goes, I don’t really think it was a deliberate statement, although we did want it to look like a classic album, & it does sit hand in hand with this record, as it really has been a long journey for all involved, nearly everyone has had a life changing experience or has been put through the mill at one point or another while it was being made, so a no fuss cover unintentionally reflects that I guess, but really the music speaks for itself, that was the only statement if there was going to be one…
– «Shy» has the band’s essence still even improving the sound but; how could you describe this record?
Shy will always have aor roots, the band will always be based around melody, that is how Steve writes & plays.
I think the new record has all the traditional Shy trademarks but has evolved for 2011, we wanted to feature the wonderful Joe Basketts more on this record & doing so has give it more of an epic feel.
– It sounds similar to some might Melodic Rock bands at their best, such as FOREIGNER but, what could you say are the main musical influences behind this effort? Or maybe after such a long career your main influence is your own sound and background?
That is a lovely compliment & is a hard question for me to answer being the newest member, but I would say that Shy have been influenced mostly over the years by the mighty Journey, you will have to ask Roy Lol .
Since the mid 80’s Shy just do their own thing, have their own brand, it all comes naturally now …
– And what about your influences as singer? I could say your voice sounds different to some of your other projects, and this time around it has a certain Glenn Hughe’s vibe to it.
It is no secret that I am influenced by Glenn, Stevie Wonder & other great soul singers, I have always had the comparison with GH, a great compliment indeed, I also have been influenced by Steve Walsh from Kansas, Steve Perry, Dan Reed, Bradley Delp from Boston, who to me had the best voice of all!
– In this effort I noticed some nuances from Hard Rock, Metal or Blues so, how was the songwriting process like? Do all band members have it saying and bring their own trademark to the final output?
Steve had penned all the music, that is how it has always been since Shy first started, he then produces us with all his compositions & we all do our thing with the individual songs from that point, I worked very closely with Steve on melodies, as it was the first time we had worked together, but we clicked as mentioned earlier, so this was an easy process, his songs have so many hidden separate beautiful melodies within, you can take your pick!, they just jump out at you …
– And what about the lyrics? What are some of the lyrical ideas covered on «Shy»?
I tend to write from the heart or about things that interest me, there are a lot of love songs here, as they always go hand in hand with this style of music but also songs with completely different moods, like Pray, which is about WWII & the London Blitz after a conversation I had with a lovely lady who is 97 years old now & was a variety performer in the 30’s in all the A lister theatres of the day.
– You are now working with a new band, OMEGA, in fact your debut album has just been released. Would you mind elaborate a bit? As I guess some people won’t know about it yet
Omega is a project I did for Z Records, it is a concept story based on the Earth colliding with the Sun & set way into the future.
The album is called “Journey to the far side of the sun” & has some great players on it featuring members of Bob Catley’s band & Ten amongst others.
– In fact you are not a newcomer into this world, you have already been involved in bands as PRIDE or PHENOMENA among others. What’s left for you to get into the music world?
I love writing music & performing with great musicans, I am lucky to have worked with some of the best over the years in one format or another, I have just written & recorded a new solo album based on my early classic rock influences like Free, Trapeze & Led Zep, that is called Jamaica Inn & although not a concept album it has a highway man/ pirate/smuggler theme, I have also recorded a special album with Tor Talle (Overland/Joe Lyn Turner) & Dave Boyce (Airrace/Quireboys) called Skyscraper due for release & hopefully some live shows next year
– And what have been your best and worst moments into the scene so far?
I think this Shy album is to date my biggest achievement, because how long this record has taken to make & against all the odds, behind the scenes it has been really hard for everyone involved.
The lowest point was when Mel Galley my friend & band mate lost his battle with Cancer.
– Finally, what are your near-future plans? What can we expect from SHY from now on?
More of the same & some kicking live performances eventually
– That’s been everything from my side, if you want to add some final words, this is your chance.
Thank you for the interview, I wish you all well from all they guys in Shy, thank you all for your continued support for all these years, everyone really appreciates it, enjoy the record x