Heswall-born singer Rory Taylor on Superstar and growing up in the Wirral
- Credit: Archant
Wirral’s own Superstar Rory Taylor, who came second in TV’s search for Jesus, is living life out of a suitcase - for all the right reasons
The months which led to him being runner-up in the TV talent show to fill the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar now seem a bit of a blur to Rory Taylor.
The Heswall-born singer dashed to the first audition for ITV’s Superstar at Old Trafford last year suffering from a hangover. He had talked himself out of entering the competition, had a heavy night on the town, then, at the last minute, changed his mind yet again about auditioning.
Three months of hard work, locked away in a house in London, were followed by a series of live TV shows. Just two minutes before Rory stepped out for the final, he received a good luck message from none other than Sir Paul McCartney.
‘I was so shocked I forgot I was going to walk on to a live TV set,’ he says.
Rory may have come second to Ben Forster in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s quest for a new Jesus, but life would never be the same again.
He joined the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar in Australia to play the part of Simon, and, as understudy, found himself stepping up to the role of Jesus when Ben Forster was taken ill in Adelaide. After British dates for Jesus Christ Superstar, Rory performs in a UK tour of Rent - 20th Anniversary Concert.
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Sandwiched in between all this musical theatre, Rory has been performing dates with the band 54321, which includes his brothers Olly, aged 28, Barney, aged 27 and Callum, aged 22, and their cousin Liam Capleton, aged 26. And then there’s the solo album Rory is recording.
‘I’ve got a room at my mum and dad’s house, but home for me is a suitcase,’ says Rory. ‘I very rarely spend two nights in the same place, and that’s the way it’s been for a year.’
The plan now is to move to London next year - a bit of a wrench for a lad who is fond of his Wirral roots.
‘It’s a lovely place and we were incredibly privileged to grow up there,’ says Rory. ‘We had theatre groups, we had parks, we were always occupied by something, never bored.
‘I do love going down to the shore. I love Thurston beach. But I think my favourite place in Heswall has to be my back garden.’
Rory’s first singing performance was with Starlight Youth Theatre in Heswall at the age of seven, and it was a school trip to Italy, performing a story based on the story of Faust with other pupils from Calday Grange Grammar School, which determined Rory’s ambition.
‘It was incredible. I realised then that this was definitely what I was going to do for the rest of my life,’ he says.
He grew up listening to the likes of Queen, Genesis, The Police and, of course, The Beatles from the record collection of mum Fiona, a social worker, and dad Allan, a site manager for Liverpool Community College.
‘Without sounding arrogant, I think I could always sing, and from an early age, I was interested in the voice and how it worked,’ says Rory, who, to this day, has never had vocal training. ‘I’ve learned the way to sing without wrecking yourself every night. It’s just a muscle; you have to keep yourself fit and look after it.’
His first taste of reality TV came at 18 when Rory got through to the last 30 of the X Factor.
‘It was terrible,’ he recalls. ‘It was everything I didn’t want to be part of in the music industry.’
But when Superstar came along last year. Rory was prepared to give reality TV a second shot because he had always loved Jesus Christ Superstar.
And now to Rent, in which Rory stars with Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton. It’s a concert-style performance of the 20-year-old musical, which tells the tale of struggling artists and musicians in New York at a time when Aids was casting a pall over so many lives. Is it still relevant?
‘The story is so strong. At the time it was first released it was so shocking that a lot of people found it difficult to get with,’ says Rory. ‘Now it’s done the job and it’s cementing the point, and reminding people that these problems have not gone away.
‘Also, it’s not only looking at the obvious problem of Aids, there’s other problems closer to home for us now - poverty, homelessness.’
Rent - 20th Anniversary Concert comes to the Palace Theatre, Manchester, on Friday November 29 and the Echo Arena, Liverpool, on Saturday November 30.