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Matt Croke chats THE VOICE UK

Aladdin star shares his experience of TV fame

Matt Croke chats THE VOICE UKWell, 2020 brought so many changes to my life that, like so many performers, it was either let it get the better of me or push myself out of my comfort zone. I needed to do something scary and basically say yes to any opportunity that came my way that meant I could do what I love the most: sing!

Lots of time would go by in the first lockdown when all I had done is get up in a morning, make endless cups of coffee, speak to family, then think about what I would cook for my tea. After a while I was like, "What is my life?!" After about five weeks, I started making myself do home workouts or go running and thankfully, because of all the really fit and healthy people in the industry, trainers were always really easy to find. So many amazingly fit people were putting themselves out there to keep everyone in shape, and my go to people were Craig Tyler, Andy Cannon, Sammy Kelly, and the whole of 1Rebel [gym].

These sessions were the highlight of so many people's days and helped keep everyone motivated and feeling good. As well as trying to stay in shape, I also really missed my job. So I had to start doing it again even if that meant everything was closed and there were no auditions going on and all gigs cancelled.

Matt Croke chats THE VOICE UK
Photo: Becky Lee Brun

Luckily we have a little thing called the internet, and I found so much enjoyment performing in lots of different things for lots of different people online, all of which literally kept me sane. Any time anyone asked if I would perform in an online concert or whatever it was, I was, like, YES!!!!!!! Then summer came, and although there were many restrictions in place, we were allowed to perform outside, and I was very lucky to get to do lots of outdoor performances. Drive-ins became a thing and life actually began to feel quite normal...ish!

The highlight of the summer for me was performing the role of Berger in Paul Taylor Mills' Turbine on the Jetty production of Hair, alongside Layton Williams and Jordan Luke Gage. Then came The Voice UK. I never thought I would be brave enough to do anything like it but I am so pleased I did. As I said, 2020 was a year like no other and so I thought, why not!? The audition process was so enjoyable: the team on the show fully respected my desire to stick to musical theatre, since that is what I do and love the most, and they encouraged me to do exactly that. To perform "Come What May" was an absolute dream, as I have been a huge fan of the Moulin Rouge film ever since it was made, which is why I recorded it in 2018 on my debut album "Only Dreaming". So to go on The Voice UK and audition for a place singing a song so close to my heart was incredibly exciting.

Making my album "Only Dreaming" had been a massive bucket list moment. I always wanted to record an album and when Disney agreed to fully support it and sell the CD front of house at the Prince Edward Theatre whilst I was in Aladdin left me overjoyed. I remember being in the ensemble of Wicked back in 2009 and Oliver Tompsett was selling his CD front of house at the Apollo Victoria and got to thinking that I would love to do that one day. To have Alan Williams do all the musical arrangements and produce the album was an absolute honour and together we chose songs that meant lots to us both. Obviously a huge favourite of mine is "Come What May", which in turn fed another bucket list moment - appearing on The Voice UK. Who knows what will happen in 2021 but I'm incredibly happy just now to be where I am.

Watch the blind audition:

Matt Croke's CD Only Dreaming, containing "Come What May", is available here.

Photo Credit: Matt Croke on The Voice, The Voice UK 2021

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