Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Sing Date!

I was on TV (again) last month! Last November I took part in Sky Living’s cringe binge show, Sing Date.

I saw a tweet asking for people to take part. I don’t actually have Sky, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. But I figured, I’m young, single and one hellufan attention-seeker, so I had nothing to lose. I told the producers my singing style was like Brian in Family Guy, and my dating style was, well, disastrous frankly. I discussed the array of crazies I’ve dealt with throughout my adult life (see here, here and here) and the large periods of time when I had neither nutters nor normal women on the scene.

Suffice to say, they were fascinated, and after doing a bit of singing over the phone, I was narrowed to one of eight men to be chosen from by the mysterious picker, Bella, to sing a duet and possibly even go on a date with.

Next up was a spot of home webcam singing, using the SingSnap karaoke package. This was hard on numerous levels. Figuring out how to open and start Sing Snap required Bill Gates-level computer literacy, or at least over-the-phone tuition from the producers at Princess TV. Once we’d overcome this hurdle I sang alternate lyrics for a duet with Bella, to be edited together at a later date. Bella had picked You to Me are Everything, by the Real Thing, which was a HARD, high-pitched song. 

My voice cracked a few times, but I gave it my best shot. After this, I sang a song on my own. I chose You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling by The Righteous Brothers, largely because I think it’s an awesome song. I’m sure most Top Gun fans will agree. 

Having said that, a colleague of mine did point out that such a sad song is probably not the best one to pick if you’re trying to encourage someone to get "that loving feeling” for you.

Sending the recorded file also took a few attempts, but we got there in the end.

Despite Righteous Brothers not being the most ideal choice, Bella still picked me out of the eight guys to sing the duet with. I had a date... in London!

I asked if the lyrics for the London section could be put up in the studio somewhere as there was no way I could hold them all in my head.

Days later, the crew came up to Oldham to film an introductory segment- a little glimpse of the crazy world of Matt Tuckey. At their request, I’d written a love poem- a sort-of rap verse about Sing Date. We then darted across Oldham to various locations so I could recite this poem on camera. We found a few places near Scouthead in Saddleworth, known for its impressive views of the whole of Greater Manchester. So there’s a scene of me rapping sat on a field gate, whilst a horse looks nonchalantly on, rapping on some Victorian-era stone steps and rapping with Heartshead Pike in the background.

The fact that my writing has- in theory- made it onto TV is possibly what I’m most proud of out of the whole thing. I'll post the poem up here soon.

The next step in my foray into televisual entertainment: I got booked onto a £200 last-minute train and fired off on a 2-hour journey to London, courtesy of Princess TV.

Princess had arranged a taxi for me at Euston, but it hadn’t occurred to me that Euston would be HUGE and there would be four long streets that the taxi could be waiting on. I managed to get in touch with the driver eventually by phone, and he took me to the very swanky media area of the city, where Princess’ offices nestled alongside their competitor companies. They took awesome care of me, offering me LOADS of food and bottled water. I was kept away from Bella throughout the day whilst events took place, until the last minute. I was shown the new song I’d be singing as a duet in the studio: Everything I Do (I Do It for You) by Brian Adams. 

The staff set me up in the office with a computer, headphones and the Sing Snap application, so whilst they got on with their office work, I sat in the corner blasting my lungs out to early-nineties pop. Bizarre.

Next up: voice coaching. Female Voice Coach, a professional and knowledgeable woman, taught me how to hit notes by twisting my accent to a country-singer style. She had an array of unusual techniques to get me to hit high notes, including miming a game of basketball. Once crouched and moving around, my voice could perform things it couldn’t when I do rigid, upright. Pretty effective stuff!

When Female Voice Coach went to train with Bella, she swapped with Male Voice Coach, who taught me to access my abdominal muscles when hitting high notes. We used sit-up machines, practised the higher parts of the song and avoided going into “football supporter mode”, i.e. wailing the hard parts. Fascinating. People pay a fortune for this kind of thing, and I got it for free!

Eventually, the studio deadline landed and I changed my shirt (one of a number I brought which the production staff had ironed). All I had to do was step into the studio with the mic, sit on the stool next to Bella and read from the flat-screen TV behind her head. Female Voice Coach told me I’d do great. I was given the mic and got a tap on the back as Bryan Adams kicked in, and I walked into the studio… but the screen wasn’t on!

Bella’s first real sight of Matt Tuckey Esq. was a bemused-looking bloke with a microphone, looking out into the darkness of the control room saying, “I’ve got no lyrics. I can’t do it without lyrics.”

So we started again and the lyrics were supplied. I sat on the stool next to her, and we serenaded each other until the final bars. Then I was like, “So anyway, I’m Matt…” and we started talking. It’s a strange concept for a show, but life is strange sometimes.

So what do you do?” I asked.

I’m a police officer.”

I felt my eyeballs pop out of my skull slightly. Then I composed myself, and we carried on talking.

After this, we ran through the song-and-chat again as a “safety take”- another version of the segment for the editors to work with. And then that was a wrap! We agreed to go for a drink in the local area and, after checking in at the local Ibis hotel (courtesy Princess TV again), found a pub- a proper cockney boozer- ‘round the corner from Princess TV. We stayed there for a few scoops before heading back to the hotel. Princess had booked us a double room each.

Although Bella’s an awesome girl, I think we both felt the spark was missing this time. But the experience of being part of the show was brilliant. If you’re single and you like singing, get involved.

Although I’d advise not leaving your phone charger plugged into the wall when you check out, like dickhead here did. Ibis most graciously posted it to my work address. Legends.

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