Bobby Bruce is a performer who has spent the last fourteen years astounding thousands of screaming fans throughout North America, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with his tribute to Neil Diamond.
Have you always been a big Neil Diamond fan?
Well, my parents were big Neil Diamond fans, so it was always around when I was growing up. As most children, you don’t really fall in line with the music your parents like; it’s not particularly your favourite music as you’re growing up. I drifted away, and I actually became a big fan of heavy metal music … As I got older and started doing this, I became more and more of a fan of ND. Couldn’t believe how great a songwriter this guy was; he’s amazing, and he has affected so many people.
> What inspired you to become an impersonator?
I was always an actor. I started out when I was ten years old in TV, film and theatre. But music drew me in. It’s very dramatic and it has a lot of passion, and I had been trained classically as a singer. Also, his vocal range fits perfectly with mine, and I had the ability to impersonate. It just so happens, ND was one of the ones that I was best at.
> Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Canada and Bosnia are just some of the places you have performed. Where is your favourite, and why?
I have played for the King and Queen of Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur, which was a great experience. I have played in the Cayman Islands, which I have really enjoyed, and Australia is one of my favourite places to play in the world. Australia and Canada, where I live, are two of my fave places. They just have great Neil Diamond fans, who are a treasure to play for. I really take my job seriously; I have tonnes of fun doing it, but I try and make it as good for the fans as possible. So it’s great to be in a place where they really know the music and they really get into it.
> Tell us about your band and how you all came together?
I worked in Australia for a production called Legends of Rock about ten years ago, and my musical director gave me a call last year and asked if I would be interested in coming down and doing a few more shows. He put a band together there and then, some of whom I had toured with before. I went down last October and November and it went so well that we just had to do it all again, and the venues booked us straight away. It’s so exciting to go back!
> What is it like maintaining the Neil Diamond character?
I am a natural red head, although you would never know it, because I dye my hair brown for the show! I have to keep that up … also, I have to mascara my eyebrows so they get thicker! (Laughs) And I also make sure I stay healthy, drink lots of water and eat the right stuff, so I always have a great show. I do about 160 shows a year!
> How do you mentally get yourself into character for the shows?
Just relax and have fun. When I am with the various musicians, it’s always fun.
> Ever thought of performing as Bobby Bruce?
Yes, as a matter of fact I am writing my original music now and recording it. I do other shows as well, but this has been the most popular one by far. I look forward to doing my own music in Australia as soon as I get the album out.
> What reaction do you get from audiences?
A lot of people come back twice, and bring more people to see the show too. Everyone is super supportive, and I get a great reaction. They don’t think of me as Neil Diamond, which is nice … they just think of me as one of them that’s up there doing it!
> Thank you Bobby.