Entertainer Cyril, 80, has the X Factor
X-factor contestant Cyril Grant from Swaffham describes himself as a one-man show.At 80, you would find it hard to take his word. But listen to his Bob Marley impressions or watch him shake a leg and you will change your mind.
X-factor contestant Cyril Grant from Swaffham describes himself as a one-man show.
At 80, you would find it hard to take his word. But listen to his Bob Marley impressions or watch him shake a leg and you will change your mind.
For the former carpenter is an artist at heart, playing no less than five instruments, four of which he has acquired by himself, sings, dances and entertains.
Bursting with energy, he signed up to X-factor earlier this year, passing the first three preliminary auditions and impressing the official jury, not least of all, the harsh Simon Cowell.
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“I aim for the top, nothing more nothing less,” he says.
“When I went in for the audition and sang the first bars of 'Hey, good lookin'' everybody started to cheer and clap their hands.
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“I also sang Route 66 for Simon and the rest of the jury. They asked how old I was and when I told them I was 80 they wanted to know my secret. I said I have two pieces of Weetabix every day.
Mr Grant arrived from his native Guyana in 1954, finding a job in a saw factory in London. But it was also in London that he first learned to play the saxophone and started performing in clubs and pubs.
“My all-time love is singing. I was first taught to play the saxophone in Camden Town and then I moved on to play in clubs and pubs in London and then all over the country and Ireland. Just a few months before I retired my wife insisted we move to Swaffham where our daughter and her family were. So we came down here.
“Since then, I've been playing and singing every week and when I had my birthday people at one of the clubs in town arranged some celebrations for me. I also had quite a few matinees at the Queen's Hall in Watton.”
Mr Grant said he was visiting Ireland once when friends asked him to sing the Irish anthem.
“There are two versions in English and Gaelic,” he said. “I chose to sing it in Gaelic. You could see people's tears streaming down their faces. It was very touching.”
He added: “I miss performing very much. I have been watching X-factor for a long time. So when people in Swaffham suggested I sign up, it didn't take me long to go to London, put my name down and pass the first auditions. I'm now waiting for my next round, probably in July. I've always sung and performed all my life. I have no problem going out there and putting on a show. It's dead easy.”