Salford alumnus sings Northern Soul hits for BBC Proms festival special

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

A Salford alumnus has spoken of his immense pride after performing Northern Soul hits at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms festival.

BA Popular Music and Recording graduate Darrell Smith performed in front of a 5,000-strong crowd on July 15 alongside five other singers at London’s iconic venue for the second night of the world’s largest classic music festival.

Darrell performed a rendition of five classic Northern Soul hits from the 1960s and 1970s including Ray Pollard’s The Drifter, Frankie Beverly & The Butlers’ If That’s What You Wanted and R. Dean Taylor’s There’s A Ghost In My House.

The music for the night was co-arranged by fellow Salford alumnus, former lecturer and renowned UK composer Joe Duddell and previous Salford masterclass guest Fiona Brice.

Darrell, who graduated in 2015, said: “It was an honour just to be there and the crowd was absolutely incredible.

“By the end of the night, everyone was on their feet, even in the Royal Box, and that just feels really special to say.

“It was an amazing experience to walk out on to that stage. It’s a very intimidating venue but I really relished the opportunity to sing there.”

Darrell had grown up listening to the genre throughout his childhood as his father was a regular attendee at Blackpool Mecca and Wigan Casino, two of the most high-profile Northern Soul venues during the genre’s heyday.

The singer was approached by renowned R&B and dance music vocalist Vula Malinga to be a part of the cohort for the concert after she discovered his voice online and wanted to add his northern authenticity to the evening's line-up.

The performance aired live on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds with the full television performance to air on BBC Two on Saturday 26 August.

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