Lifestyle

‘The opening ceremony was an adrenalin rush’

  • Powerful performer: Jesse Seymour sings with The Big Chill (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Powerful performer: Jesse Seymour with Felix Tod, Jesse Seymour and Tony Brannon (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

For a month last year, Jesse Seymour’s life was one long adrenalin rush as he sang lead in 4-Forty-1, the eight-member band of the America’s Cup.

Then it was all over.

“At that point, I asked myself, ‘What now?’” the 29-year-old said.

The end of the America’s Cup meant a return to his old life, working in construction.

“In fact, as soon as it was over, I was helping to break the America’s Cup village down,” said Mr Seymour, the 2016 Bermuda Idol winner.

As the months passed, however, he found that it hadn’t all been in vain. He started getting calls to perform at private parties.

“It was a great opportunity for exposure,” he said.

“People who hadn’t heard me sing before, got a chance to do so. I think America’s Cup opened up big doors for me.”

One of those doors led to a full-time gig with The Big Chill. Since 2013, the group has performed at private functions, hotels and restaurants around the island.

“They sent out an audition call a few months ago,” Mr Seymour said. “People were calling me up and saying I should go for it.”

He was excited when he got the job.

“They said, ‘Listen man, you have a great voice, and this would be a great opportunity for you to feed your family and do what you love’,” Mr Seymour said.

For the last three months, he’s performed alongside Tony Brannon, Felix Tod and Keith Caisey.

“Performing with The Big Chill is a great experience,” he said.

“Just being able to perform on a regular basis and have a regular spot is wonderful. The guys in The Big Chill are cool people. They are very down to earth and very understanding of me when it comes to presentation, professionalism and organisation.”

Mr Seymour said it’s a fun crowd that comes out to see them, particularly when they perform on Friday nights at Sea Breeze at Elbow Beach.

“This is the smallest group I have ever played with, but the most I have ever worked,” he said. “We may not have a complete band, but our sound is complete.”

And best of all, he doesn’t have to do construction any more.

“Now during the day I can work on my own music,” he said.

His song Ride dropped last December; Bands and My Bros in April. Up next is Real Hot Stepper.

He panicked when he saw the list of 70 songs he had to learn for the America’s Cup. Some of the songs, such as U2’s Beautiful Day and AC/DC’s Back in Black, were way out of his comfort zone.

“I only sang reggae songs,” he said. “I was basically a reggae artist. The America’s Cup opened me up to pop, rock’n’roll, and all sorts of stuff.

“I had to learn songs from Bon Jovi all the way down to Machel Montano.

“I looked at them and said I can’t sing these songs; it was just too difficult. When we got to practice it was a whole bunch of people there and everybody was looking to me to be the lead singer. I said, you know what, I am going to at least try, even if I mess up.”

He’s now thrilled to have had the experience; without it he probably wouldn’t have been hired by The Big Chill, primarily a classic rock band.

“We had a two to three-month period to learn these songs and some of them I’d never heard before. I was really scared. I was having to sing songs that weren’t necessarily my favourite. Some of the songs I couldn’t grasp the beat along with the words. With me I have to be able to get the beat first.

“Once I know it, then I listen to the words.”

He decided to write the lyrics down and look at them, while listening.

“It wasn’t about listening to a song over and over again,” he said. “You had to really study the lyrics.”

Although he remains a reggae artist at heart, he’d do the America’s Cup again in a heartbeat.

“Everyone has their opinion about it,” he said. “It brought a lot of exposure to Bermuda. It brought a lot of tourists. I feel it was a good move.”

Highlights included the opening ceremony, which pulled in a crowd of 5,000, and singing Bob Marley’s Jamming, with Third World, the legendary reggae band.

“The opening ceremony was definitely an adrenalin rush for me,” he said. “I was happy that my parents were in the crowd.

“Getting to meet Third World was one of the best experiences about America’s Cup. They allowed me to come on stage and jam with them; we actually performed together. I was definitely nervous. Once I stepped out on stage and the crowd was making noise, I was like, ‘Yeah’.”