A PASSIONATE music student from Woking hit the top spot at BBC One’s peak viewing time on Saturday with his barbershop quartet’s take on a tribute to Frank Sinatra.
Danny Gortler, who is just 20, and his three friends only got together to form Proper Sound eight months ago, and were one of seven acts chosen from thousands across the UK to appear on TV’s Frank Sinatra: Our Way.
He is in his final year studying music at Liverpool University, along with group member Luke Freeney.
He met the other singers, tenor Phil Glenny and bass Joseph O’leary, at a gig and they’ve had a whirlwind of a time since then, recently becoming the National Youth champions of the British Association of Barbershop Singers.
The criteria for the TV show was that they had to be unknown acts over the age of 16 performing their own version of one of the crooner’s classics. The applicants ranged from 16 to 85 and contestants had to send in a video before being shortlisted for face-to-face auditions in front of 11 music industry professionals.
The performers were then narrowed down to just seven acts to be presented by Alexander Armstrong and Rochelle Humes on the programme. It was a build-up to celebrate what would have been the American singer, songwriter and actor’s 100th birthday this year.
Lead singer of Proper Sound, Danny, who when not at university lives with his family just off Wych Hill, told the News & Mail: “It was pretty scary but also fun. It was an honour to be appearing in a tribute to Frank Sinatra and on stage with other very talented performers.”
The foursome’s rendition of Come Fly With Me was applauded by the panel of Sinatra devotees – experts in the industry Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame), Rufus Hound, Mica Paris and Leo Green. Danny in particular was praised for his passion and conviction.
Dave lauded the group for singing a capella, which he said must have been the scariest, most nerve-wracking act of all, with no accompaniment. He added: “But you nailed it.”
So what did Danny, a former pupil of The Winston Churchill School, think when seeing himself on TV? He said: “I was quite nervous. It was a bit cringey looking at it on Saturday but we had a party with friends and family.
“Proper Sound have already had lots of bookings for functions and we are hoping to record an album, possibly in February.”
Danny is also a lead singer in three other bands and sings solo on piano. He finishes his music degree this year and will continue gigging and hopes to find regular work in the industry.