The Silk voice

By Chris Betros

It’s a long way from Ireland, to the jazz clubs, lounges and hotels of Japan, but William Silk has found his niche in life and is loving every minute of it. “I get to collaborate with all shapes and sizes from jazz trio to big band, full orchestra and strings,” he says. “I seem to have developed a special connection with Japanese audiences, who are familiar with the songs in my repertoire, particularly those who have an appreciation for live music.”

Born in Dublin, Silk was brought up in the UK, “mostly in boarding school (much like Harry Potter) in Yorkshire and home in Devon,” he says. Always drawn to the theater and music -- both his mother and grandmother were choir leaders in their parish in Galway -- Silk started on the stage in school productions, selected at the age of 12 to play the leading role in “The Mikado.”

After that, Silk performed in many more school productions and music competitions. He later graduated from Birmingham University with degrees in English and music. He traveled to Africa, Asia, Europe and the U.S. Silk recalls his year in Africa, when he was a child. “The experience was very memorable for me for its contrast to life in Ireland. The people had an energy that came through in their vibrant rhythms, which have stayed with me since.”

Silk’s first visit to Japan was in 1996. “I guess it was an interest in people and what makes them tick that brought me. I was lucky to get a great introduction to life here via the JET Program.” He began to emerge on the live music scene in Japan around 2003 as an accomplished big-band singer at large corporate black-tie balls, or as a lounge entertainer and crooner in high-class hotels. “I am lucky that I have some of the most talented musicians and stage people here on my roster. Right now I am self-managed, but I am looking for music-industry representation to help me take things to a bigger scale with further reach.”

Although he is fluent in Japanese, Silk sings mainly in English. “I really love the big stage: it is always thrilling to be the channel for all that energy. But I also like the intimacy of lounges and clubs, where you can look into the eyes of your audience, and really engage them on a one-to-one level.”

Silk’s next big project is the release of his first CD “SMILE” in January. “We have breathed new life into timeless songs that resonate today, with the energy and spark of a live performance, in whole takes. They’re uncut natural gems, mate! The recording is all done now, but there is still a lot of work to do in preparation for the release.”

Silk’s day starts at 7 a.m. Each day is varied, with different plans to be made and executed according to the needs of different musical engagements. “Mornings are usually for planning, afternoons for musical activities and evenings for performance and social engagements,” he says. “I’m a workaholic, living my passion, at the critical make-or-break stage in my career, so everything is geared towards that.”

However, if he were stuck on the Yamanote line forever, and could have any three CDs with him, which ones would they be? “Anything by Frank Sinatra, or his peers, including Michael Buble,” he says.

Find out more about Silk’s schedule and the release of his CD “SMILE” at www.williamsilk.com.

© Japan Today

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I have seen William Silk at Satin Doll. It isnt just his singing, which is fabulous, but the way he engages with the audience. His modern take on some of the old classics is a real treat. My wife doesnt allow me to dance in public, but I almost got up and boogied anyway! He's a real entertainer.

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I had the pleasure of hearing Mr Silk at a friend's wedding. Nothing had been planned, but on request, he gave an impromptu performance that captivated all the guests. Their was an audible silence as he ended, before multiple calls for an encore. Great memories of some old classics we all know!

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I got to hear Silk at a rare performance in London as well as several times in Tokyo. He's amazing.

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I have heard William perform several times in different sized venues and he is a consumate performer where ever he takes the stage. He handles both his audience and his music with equal care - a classic artist.

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I have seen William several times over the years and he keeps getting better and better. He doesn't just sing, he puts on a show. Looking forward to hearing the CD.

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Sounds like all six of the above posts might have been written by Mr William Silk himself. There is no posting history for any of the posters. Naughty, naughty, Mr Silk.

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I have seen William several times. on each occasion i left early and headed to the bar due to the poor singing and interaction with the audienece. I also rather found of blowing his own trumpet, would you believe it?

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I saw Silk in Lopndon. The buffooon was useless, could hardly hold a note.

Strewth, geezer was worser than George Formby , and that's saying somethink innit!

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William Silk is a young man destined to become a household name in Japan. Although born in Ireland and educated in Britain, he has embraced life in Japan, becoming a fluent speaker of one of the most difficult languages on this planet. He has also become well known as a singer, appearing on national television and with top bands at venues across the country. Word has it that he is involved in producing a DVD album, to be launched next year. He is someone the popular music world should take note of.

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He has also become well known as a singer

Well I've never heard of him. (Never heard of all these first-time posters who write in exactly the same style, either....)

I'd say it was poor form if it wasn't so transparent. Rather sad, actually.

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Mr Silk would appear to be rather adept with a keyboard too

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William Silk is a young man who is destined to become a legend on the internets for his rampant and flagrant sock-puppetry. Word is that he is already hard at work inventing new JT user names.

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Blimey he was like some second rate warm up geezer i used to see when i took Elsie out before the war whilst we was courting. Blimey, he does have a big fan club.

Maybe there is a multiple personality problem going on or summink.

Bet anyone he'll never be a household name, too vain old boy, too vain!

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Blimey indeed. I remember myself and another poster pointing out a week or so ago that a lot of first-time posters had been singing the man's praises in a rather coordinated fashion. It appears our comments were removed, but the ones that look suspiciously as if they were planted have remained. Now, from working in the media I am fully aware that articles like this are often paid for by the subject (I have no problem if that is the case here), but it is a bit rum of JT to not even let us criticise the blatant and rather sad misuse of the forum. At least they haven't removed the most recent posts...yet.

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Don't know if it's true or not, but anyone who pads his own site with positive comments under aliases is begging to be pirated.

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Some funny comments! OK.. I'm going to stick my neck out here... I have actually seen William Silk perform at a medium sized Jazz venue in Roppongi Tokyo a couple of years ago, then met him afterwards. Pleasant guy but more importantly.. great voice.

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I wonder if William Silk is the same person as a William Morley who once worked as an English teacher for Kagamino Town in Okayama around 1996 or so.

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