BWW Interview: Tom Parker Talks The Wanted and GREASE Tour
Tom Parker rose to fame as a member of band The Wanted. He's now taking on his first theatrical role, starring as Danny Zuko in the UK tour of musical Grease, along with Danielle Hope, Louisa Lytton and Darren Day. The tour kicks off in Manchester in March 2017.
What first sparked your passion for performing?
It was a song by a group called Feeder. I was about 12 when I first heard "Just The Way I'm Feeling" and every time I sang in my bedroom, it took me to a place where I was performing to thousands in a stadium. Little did I know that vision was to come true later in life!
What was your first performance?
I sang many times as a very young child on karaoke but when I attended high school, I lost all confidence in singing in public and it wasn't until 16 that I performed for the first time again in front of the whole school. The reception I received was incredible and that definitely spurred me on.
Which actors or musicians inspired you growing up?
Has to be the Gallagher brothers. I was a massive rock 'n' roll fan growing up, but Mum played a lot of Sixties music - Motown, the Eagles, the Beatles. So a variety of influences.
What's your favourite memory from your time with The Wanted?
Possibly performing at the White House. That was a pretty special moment!
Was it easier or harder being part of a band and sharing that experience with others?
I loved being part of a band. Not only do you go on an amazing individual journey that one could only dream of, I got to meet four guys that I can call brothers for life.
What made you decide to take on your first theatrical role?
I think when you're in the music industry, you become very engrossed in it and I genuinely hadn't even thought about other avenues of performing until we decided to take a hiatus. At the start of 2016, I called management and said "This year I want to broaden my horizons and try things I've never considered before". This audition come up and I went in not really knowing what to expect, but to just enjoy the auditioning again and not put too much pressure on myself.
Did you know Grease well?
Haha! Who doesn't? It's been interesting to dig a little deeper into the script and see the slight adaptations that are different to the film.
Are you adding a bit of Travolta to your portrayal, or trying to do something different?
Travolta was such an iconic part of that film, but I met with David Gilmore the other day and he was so cool and really helped me put the character into perspective and make the character my own.
Were you the cool guy at school, like Danny?
Unfortunately not. I always thought I was quite cool, but then by Year 10-11 I realised that being a geek was cool!
What's most challenging - singing, dancing or acting?
Dancing has been the most challenging. It's something we didn't do that much of in the band. We were quite unorthodox in that sense. A more "jump around like idiots for an hour and a half" kind of band! But I'm really putting my all in, getting it up to speed for the part, and it's a skill set I know I'll be proud of once the show comes around.
Which number are you most looking forward to performing?
Tough one! I was practicing "Summer Lovin'" the other day. When that piano riff comes in at the start, it makes me so excited to start the tour!
How do you think touring with the show will vary from touring with the band?
It'll most certainly be more professional. As The Wanted, we were loose cannons at times so it'll be nice to get a bit of discipline and structure in my life.
Are you still cooking post-Masterchef?
I cook every night in our household. Lucky fiancée, haha!
And finally, why do you think Grease is still such a beloved show?
It's got something for everyone. It's got the romance, the heartache, laughter, cheekiness. It's one of them shows that you might not see for a few years, but whenever you see it again, it always makes you feel great. Really looking forward to getting out on tour next year and hope to bring some smiles to a lot of faces around the UK.