• Quote: ‘I first became interested in singing as a baby – I screamed a lot before I fell asleep’ – Gregg Bannis former lead singer Hot Chocolate

Andrew Atkinson talks to former Hot Chocolate lead singer, Murcia based Gregg Bannis, in part 1 of an Exclusive interview.

I first became interested in singing as a baby – I screamed a lot before I fell asleep, memories of Gregg Bannis’s road to stardom.

“I grew up listening to the radio in the Caribbean, and sang along with the songs being played. I then realised I may have some kind of talent!,” quipped Gregg.

“I grew up listening to people like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and even Jim Reeves. And Elvis – I always wanted to be like Elvis. Later came Bob Marley.

“The man I admired most was called The Mighty Sparrow, who sang Calypsoes, and I still love his songs today,” said Gregg who became lead vocalist of Hot Chocolate in 1992, ending in 2010 after almost two decades in the spotlight.

How did that come about? And to follow in the footsteps of the late Errol Brown as lead singer.

“Hot Chocolate – my claim to fame – came about after I did Stars in Their Eyes on Granada TV in 1992, as Errol Brown. “Errol had left the band by then, and they were looking for a replacement. They liked what they saw and contacted me through Granada TV.

“The rest is, like they say, history,” added Gregg.

“I was a proud boy, but I had worked hard to get there – long after doing the social clubs in the UK up North,” said Gregg.

It was gobsmacked when Gregg revealed his first gig – turning out to be in my home City Preston in Lancashire, on the estate where I lived!

“My first social club gig was the Larches Labour Club in Preston – I can’t forget those bygone days,” said Gregg.

“My first social club gig – there were no Tom Tom (Sat Nav) in those days. I got badly lost and arrived late – but I didn’t get ‘paid off’!,” reflected Gregg.

*Part 2 of the exclusive interview with Gregg Bannis next week.

Caption: Murcia based Gregg Bannis: Hot Chocolate lead singer 1992-2010.

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