That’s Entertainment marks Timmy’s triumphant return
We caught up with Timmy Matley, Cork’s own member of doo-wop sensation The Overtones ahead of his return to a land where once he didn’t fit in.
The all-singing, all-dancing That’s Entertainment has landed in Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre and by all accounts it’s set to be a smash hit. Extra matinee show has been added due to popular demand. It marks a triumphant return for Timmy Matley, the mild mannered yet amply talented young man from Cork who is a member of The Overtones, the UK’s top vocal harmony act.
I live with between London and Ireland. I’m quick to say I’m not a Londoner though as I travel back home frequently, to Cork. When in London, I live in South East London.
Are you up to your eyes with rehearsals?
Yes, at the moment very much so, it’s the first time we’ve worked with a full company, we have the lads, the lights, the dance moves; the whole shebang. This is the first time we’ve been part of a theatre production really; it’s a throwback to the all-singing, all-dancing shows. I grew up watching those with my nan, the blockbuster musicals, Fred Astaire, gene Kelly, and they bring back really happy memories. So it’s quite exciting to be part of something so similar, especially with the dancers. We’re still doing the suit and tie, but they really add a special element to the show.
We’re also working with Jane McDonnell, she loves a cup of brew. I’ll bring the Barry’s, she’ll bring the Yorkshire tea and we’ll have a good ol’ natter.
How did you get into doing what you do?
I started performing when I was 14. I was quite badly bullied and wasn’t the cool kid at all. Everyone else wanted to be footballers, high-powered business men or, like, carpenters. And yet, there I was, wanting to sing and dance. So I had a tough time of it in school. I’m so glad it’s over. I used to hate going into that building, and dread being kicked or punched as I walked down the hall. I kept it a secret from my mam. Actually, even my dancing and performing, I kept that a secret too, I’d just tell her I was going to the cinema. This was back in the 80/90s, it’s changed so much now. I see how much more open-minded it has become – more multi-cultural and open. I know Dublin was that, but now Cork is too. It’s great going back there now.
So is it great bringing the show back here?
It’s so overwhelming coming back, not only just being back home in Cork, but (you have to remember) when I was little, others, my family, had more belief in me, than I had in myself. So now to come back with a whole show and the success, it’s just great. I’m blown away. I thought I’d never do anything really.
People like the principal of Betty Lane saw something in me, a diamond in the rough – I had no former ballet or technical signing training, but I had passion and she saw this. I got a scholarship to attend the school. I could never have afforded it, so I thank my lucky stars that I got that opportunity.
I now have a career; we’ve got five albums! I’m very proud of that.
Talent only gets you so far, what else do you need to succeed?
When I was in London, from the ages of about 21-26 were very hard years. I thought I would have to come home. Me and some of my mates even auditioned for X Factor, many moons ago. And we got quite far – just before the judges houses. That was the year Joe McKendry won. To be honest with you, I’m happy with our journey. Because now, every year, we get a call from Simon and his team, asking us to perform on the show, X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent. Louis Walsh even said, “I’ve told Simon that you were the one that got away,”
So many people would like to be where you are now, what’s the key to success, do you think?
You know, I’d say it’s ‘Keep it realistic’. I have a lot of friends who have studied acting or singing and have gone out to LA for pilot season for a summer, and if they didn’t land a big movie, they pack up and leave. And that attitude really doesn’t work, because that questions why you are actually doing it. I’m doing this because it gives me so much joy in my heart when I’m up in stage. And that’s what’s great on stage, it evokes emotion, I think. You know, if you are feeling down, you’ll listen to Adele.
We do it because we love what we do. The band has had its ups and downs, and that’s part of the journey. Our music is inspired by the music of the 50s and 60s, it’s original and has that magic touch. It’s so great to be up on stage and see the smiles on faces. It’s upbeat. We get letters saying, ‘Thanks so much, your music helped me through chemo, I’m in remission. Thank you so much for your music.’ I find it quite surreal – is this real?!
Dates and Times: Performances from 4 – 9 April 2016 Evening: 7:30 Matinee: 2.30
Tickets: From €28 (including booking fee)