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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Jason Reid’s Cabaret Interview: Jason chats to Soul Daddy Miles Elliot!

This month’s interviewee is a fantastic artist who holds his own and then some on a cabaret scene that is dominated by drag. Miles Elliot sings jazz, soul, R&B, house, EDM and more, and is now a well known face who brings the good vibes and party to LGBTQ+ cabaret venues…

How did you get into performing on the LGBTQ+ cabaret circuit?

I always have to give credit to Jivin’ Julie and her Sunday Beareoke at The King’s Arms for starting this journey that I’ve been on since 2005. None of this would ever have happened were it not for every Sunday performing a couple of songs to a very drunk and happy audience.

I went on to establish No Pressure Open Mic with the eternally hopeful PJ Hopper across a number of LGBTQ+ venues with the intention of providing a space for people to express themselves creatively that was both a safe and supportive environment. At its best it was fantastic and recognised as being one of the best open mics in the capital with attendees from all over the world. That is where I first met Diane Horan Hill with whom I would eventually form Heart & Soul.

We entered Pride’s Got Talent in 2015, reaching the final which enabled us to perform across Pride in London. That led to us being invited to perform at many LGBTQ+ charity events across the London/ Brighton scene. Diane won’t mind me saying this (in fact she would howl with laughter), but many a well-wisher would assume that I was straight and she was a drag queen (neither is accurate).

In all seriousness, her larger-than-life personality made it so much easier for Heart & Soul’s vintage soul and disco sound to be embraced by the LGBTQ+ scene. Recently I’ve been doing my solo Soul Daddy act as my waistline gets ever larger. There are very few non-drag vocalists who routinely and successfully perform in LGBTQ+ venues like you do.

How do you find that as a vocalist, particularly when you first started out compared to now?

To be honest, a bit like a child, I was less aware of how anomalous I actually was on the scene until after the covid period. I do think there is a surprisingly low number of pure vocalists on the London scene considering how musical it is. Crucially, whether you are a drag performer or non-drag vocalist you have to be able to entertain and get audiences to relate with you.

I accept that I’m in a relatively privileged position, and I remember what the recently passed Alexis St Clair once said to me in the changing room of Halfway To Heaven: “We look up to you Miles because every time that you step out on that stage you give hope to everyone who doesn’t normally get that chance.” It’s a burden that I am very happy to carry

Favourite three songs to perform right now?

The Communards – Never Can Say Goodbye.

Jocelyn Brown– Somebody Else’s Guy.

Earth Wind & Fire – September.

Aside from singing, what would you say your finest attribute is?

Versatility and adaptability. It’s alluded to in school reports and not much has really changed in the many decades since then. From a performance perspective, if you can’t give audiences what pleases them you won’t get work. Those two qualities are quite useful in that respect. Dream dinner party with 5 singers.

Who are they?

Gregory Porter; George Michael; Mariah Carey; Jay Z; Diane Warren.

Miles will be performing at The Old Ship, 17 Barnes St, E17 7NW on Sunday 31st March.

Catch Jason, same time next month, with another Cabaret Star or give him a follow @jasonreiduk

Jason Reid

 

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