Caught up with Wet Wet Wet’s new­est mem­ber be­fore the band’s Gran­ite City gig

Philippa Ger­rard

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - YOUR WEEKEND -

Join­ing an al­ready es­tab­lished band like Wet Wet Wet is no easy task – but singer Kevin Simm has taken it all in his stride.

The for­mer Lib­erty X mem­ber and win­ner of The Voice was an­nounced as Marti Pel­low’s re­place­ment in late 2018, and the new front­man is de­ter­mined to im­press fans.

The band is cur­rently on a Scot­land-wide tour, which is stop­ping off in Aberdeen at P&J Live this Satur­day Novem­ber 2.

Philippa Ger­rard spoke with Kevin to find out how things are go­ing and what life on the road with the Wets is like.

WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE JOIN­ING SUCH AN ES­TAB­LISHED BAND?

It was a bit of a case of go­ing into the un­known to be hon­est! With Marti be­ing the band’s singer for 30 years, we weren’t sure how the change would go down with fans. And for that rea­son, any­one tak­ing on the role had to be a lit­tle bit brave. But luck­ily I like a chal­lenge.

WERE YOU A FAN OF THE BAND AL­READY?

Yes, I’ve al­ways been a fan of Wet Wet Wet’s mu­sic, but it was ex­cit­ing lis­ten­ing to their mu­sic again with the in­ten­tion of ac­tu­ally singing it on stage. I’ve never met Marti, but I have watched him per­form and think we are quite dif­fer­ent. I’m not try­ing to em­u­late him – for me it’s about do­ing it my way and adding some fresh air to the songs. It’s a real bal­ance to do that with­out tak­ing away from the nostal­gia or the orig­i­nal melody.

DO YOU GET ON WELL WITH YOUR NEW BAND­MATES?

I’ve been in a group be­fore, al­beit Lib­erty X was a very dif­fer­ent kind of group. Re­gard­less, it’s very im­por­tant to click with your band­mates as you do spend so much time in each other’s com­pany. When I started play­ing songs at the au­di­tion, I was quite ner­vous but we started kind of jam­ming with each other and it sounded nat­u­ral. It sounds cliché but we did click and it felt com­fort­able right from the start.

I know it was a big deal for the other guys to have some­one new join, so they wanted to be sure they picked the right per­son.

AF­TER LIB­ERTY X SPLIT IN 2007, WE DIDN’T HEAR MUCH FROM YOU UN­TIL YOU WON THE VOICE IN 2016. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE TO BE BACK IN THE SPOT­LIGHT?

My nerves were so bad on The Voice! I’d been toy­ing with the idea of go­ing on it for a while be­fore I ac­tu­ally did it. Mu­sic is a funny old world, you see, there are lots of ups and downs and I’ve had my fair share of both. When I was young, I started off singing in pubs and clubs, then the op­por­tu­nity to be in Lib­erty X came round re­ally quickly and sud­denly we had num­ber one sin­gles and were win­ning BRIT Awards. Af­ter the band split, I tried to

Wet Wet Wet fans have taken Kevin to their hearts

do some solo stuff but got messed about so de­cided to stop for a while. I’d gone back to singing in pubs and clubs when I took a gamble on The Voice. I’d seen pre­vi­ously fa­mous singers on it be­fore and most left with egg on their face. I knew that could be me so it was a huge shock to win.

IT’S NOW BEEN A YEAR SINCE YOU JOINED WET WET WET. HOW HAS IT BEEN SO FAR?

It’s been ab­so­lutely bril­liant. I was re­ally ner­vous be­fore the first cou­ple of shows we did, par­tic­u­larly as the very first one we did hap­pened to be in Glas­gow – Wet Wet Wet’s home crowd. I knew all eyes were on me, com­par­ing me to Marti, but I went out there and proved my worth, and the re­cep­tion we’ve got­ten has been fan­tas­tic. Over the sum­mer, we did a few fes­ti­vals and even flew over to Mu­nich to sup­port Phil Collins in Ger­many.

ARE THERE ANY PLANS TO RE­LEASE NEW MU­SIC?

Graeme [Clark, the band’s bassist] and I have had some jam­ming ses­sions un­til

2am so we are def­i­nitely look­ing to put some new mu­sic to­gether. But we’ve been so busy with tour­ing and the sum­mer fes­ti­vals that we’ve not had the time to nail down any­thing con­crete yet. Once this and the tour dies down, we will def­i­nitely get into writ­ing. I wrote a lot for Lib­erty X and wrote two al­bums for my­self.

I also wrote a song for a K-pop band in Korea called Su­per Ju­nior, which went to num­ber one.

WHAT CAN AU­DI­ENCES EX­PECT FROM THE SHOW?

Judg­ing by what we’ve done so far, lots of en­ergy and fun. Feed­back so far has been great and our in­ter­ac­tions on stage have been good. There is a nice vibe on stage and the fans have loved it. From my point of view, the big sell­ing point is the set list – the cat­a­logue of songs is in­cred­i­ble. There are to­tal bangers and bal­lads through­out. It’s a great night out.

● Wet Wet Wet are play­ing at P&J Live on Novem­ber 2. For tick­ets, visit www.wetwetwet.co.uk

Kevin, far left, has joined Graeme Clark, Neil Mitchell and Tommy Cun­ning­ham

When does your week­end start? I don’t work on Fri­days as I have my three-year-old, and we go to mu­sic class and pot­ter around. So Thurs­day evening, al­though look­ing af­ter a three­year-old is much harder than writ­ing… Per­fect night in? Chicken Kiev from M&S, a box of cho­co­lates and a new sea­son of Game of Thrones that isn’t rub­bish. Per­fect night out? Karaoke. My Mid­night Train to Ge­or­gia is as good as Gla­dys Knight’s. (In my head. Af­ter sev­eral glasses of wine.) Ideal week­end part­ner? My dad. He is in a nurs­ing home. I see him at the week­ends and we chat. Favourite week­end shop­ping des­ti­na­tion? I have small chil­dren, so shop­ping at the week­ends isn’t that much fun. Un­less it’s a trol­ley in a su­per­mar­ket. Favourite place to walk? Along the cliffs in Dorset around Swan­age. It is ev­ery­thing – dra­matic, beau­ti­ful, awe-in­spir­ing and peace­ful. Week­end you’d love to live again? Last May Bank Hol­i­day at our car­a­van near Kirkcud­bright. The weather was amaz­ing, we swam, had bar­be­cues on the deck and the chil­dren ran wild. Week­end you’d hate to live again? Prob­a­bly the one I spent in labour, from Fri­day morn­ing to Sun­day. Per­fect Sun­day break­fast? Scram­bled eggs, black pud­ding, ba­con, mush­rooms, sour­dough, loads of Mar­mite and cof­fee (not to­gether). Your cure for the Sun­day blues? Be­come a full-time writer. You have ex­is­ten­tial dread be­cause of work­ing by your­self for the en­tire week in­stead. Your dream week­end (if money was no ob­ject)? Be by the sea some­where sunny. With my part­ner and kids and some­one else do­ing all the wash­ing and clear­ing up. Har­riet Evans is a Sun­day Times best­selling au­thor. She is vis­it­ing Aberdeen for the Big Sky Big Hori­zon au­thor talks, and is at the Mu­sic Hall’s Big Sky Stu­dio on Novem­ber 4.

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