Monday, October 19, 2020
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The tragic story behind this Manchester singer’s performance for Little Mix

The tragic story behind this Manchester singer's performance for Little Mix
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For three years singer songwriter Reuben Hester sang with the band China Lane, who started out busking on the streets of Manchester and lit up bustling Market Street with their uplifting electronic pop.

The pop four-piece, who had huge crowds turning out to watch them in their home city, called it a day last year, and Reuben is now carving out a career as a solo artist.

Last Saturday night he showcased his talents as a singer and songwriter on Little Mix The Search which aims to create the next big group, put together by the world’s biggest girlband.

Reuben was proud to sing an original song he had written in memory of his father Kevin, who passed away last year following a drug overdose, at the age of 55, and the performance had the girls on their feet.

“I watched the show with my uncle,” he told us.

“It was the first time I had performed the song.

“Everything I write is very deep but they are upbeat, empowering songs.”

Reuben as a baby with his dad Kevin

Reuben, who plays the guitar, piano and cello, moved to Manchester from a small village in Ireland after leaving school at 16.

He says his father, who played reggae music around the house, was the inspiration behind his love of music.

The 25-year-old musician has since shared a stripped back piano version of Sold My Soul on social media to show the emotion behind the lyrics to full effect, explaining to his followers: “Words can’t explain the emotions I feel every time I perform this song.”

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After the tragedy of losing his father, Reuben felt it was time to step away from the band, who released their debut single Marco Polo in 2016, followed by In Motion and Feel Good, and sold out the Manchester Academy in 2017.

“I needed to go away and write by myself,” he explained.

He was thrilled by Little Mix’s response to his song on the BBC One talent search show, which left them dancing and singing the words after he had left the room.

Reuben has gone solo after China Lane

And he says they were full of compliments and support when the cameras stopped rolling.

“They were telling me ‘we’d love to work with you’ and ‘we don’t need to change you.’

“And they loved the song.”

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Little Mix – Jade Thirlwall, Jesy Nelson, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards – were forming a R&B and rap group on Saturday night. The winning act at the end of the series will join them on tour.

Unfortunately Reuben, who had previously been approached to appear on the shows The X Factor and The Voice but turned them down because he was in China Lane, didn’t make the final line-up.

But it’s made him all the more determined now to succeed as a soloist.

“The girls were lovely and it was nice to get some feedback from people in the industry.

“The experience was incredible.”

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