Double life of Matt Monro Jr

Matt Monro Jr lives a double life. For 40 weeks of the year he's an Ordinary Joe who can walk down the street without being recognised or troubled for an autograph.

matt-monroe-jr

Matt Monro Jr lives a double life. For 40 weeks of the year he's an Ordinary Joe who can walk down the street without being recognised or troubled for an autograph.

But, for 12 weeks of the year, he's feted like a God. "I have this weird thing," says the singing son of legendary crooner Matt Monro.

"In the Philippines, I'm an absolute superstar but everywhere else in the world, I can walk down the street without being recognised. If somebody could tell me why that is, I'd be very happy. I don't know what happens, but when I get there there's Matt Mania.

"I'm not being egotistical or big-headed. Far from it. And I wouldn't want that kind of a life, where you're a superstar in a motor cavalcade with police outriders all the time. Look, when I get to the Philippines I'm invited to the Palace by Imelda Marcos, the First Lady. She's an incredible woman and I get along with her very well. She loves the arts."

Matt Monro Jr won't get the same reaction when he arrives in Shropshire to play a gig at Market Drayton Arts Centre on September 18. If he's lucky, a few locals might invite him for a shandy at the Gingerbread Man.

"I don't mind it being like that," he says. "I enjoy the intimate shows. In the Philippines it's 10,000 fans every night. In the UK, the shows are very different."

Monro Jr is finally stepping out of the shadows of his father, who played his last gig at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre two months before he died. He has also managed to fulfil a lifetime ambition to sing with his father, thanks to modern technology.

When Matt Jr was only 13 years old, in 1977, he was invited by his father to join him on stage and perform a duet with him.

Unfortunately the two Monroes never got a chance to repeat the performance as in February 1985, Matt Monro died at the age of 54. However, Matt's dream of sharing the stage with his father again was revived when he signed with the EMI label in 1995 and, thanks to modern technology, was able to sing with his dad.

Matt says: "Of course, I'm completely influenced by my father. My dad's music was Sinatra, Elvis and The Beatles, plus people like Sarah Vaughan. When I was a boy, he used to come into my room when I was listening to the hit parade and tell me to turn that rubbish off.

"I have my own aspirations and dreams of where I would like to go. I was never going to be a tribute to my dad. I'm asking to be slaughtered by everyone if I was doing that. I create my own music and I hope people enjoy that. He was a crooner and I'm more of a swinger, with a hint of latino."

Except, of course, when he plays the Philippines. Then, he's transformed into a king of kings.

  • Tickets are available from Market Drayton Arts Centre for Matt Monro Jr's gig on September 18.