A search has been launched for talented singers from Rhondda Cynon Taf who fantasise about performing with a musical idol.
Top tenor Rhys Meirion, who was brought up in Porthmadog and now lives in Pwllglas, near Ruthin, is looking for music-loving dreamers to take part in dazzling duets on his new S4C television show, Canu Gyda fy Arwr (Singing with My Idol).
Anybody wanting to have a go or nominate somebody a friend or a family member need to contact the Caernarfon-based TV production company, Cwmni Da, by August 2.
They are looking for nine people, aged from 10 to 110, to take part in the life-enhancing series which starts filming in the Autumn.
Rhys also presents Cwmni Da’s successful Corau Rhys Meirion, coaching community groups across Wales to form mesmerising choirs.
He said the groundbreaking Sing with Your Idol series is a tremendous opportunity for currently undiscovered vocal talents to sing with a star like Welsh pop’s Elin Fflur or Bryn Fôn.
Those with the most compelling reasons for wanting to share the spotlight with their music idol will be selected to go forward to the filming stage during which they will be mentored by Rhys and the Cwmni Da team and potentially meet up and sing with their musical hero or heroine.
Producer Siwan Haf said: “We need applications from hidden singing talents from all around Wales.
“What’s different about this series is that we’re not setting out to discover wannabe superstars. It’s not focused on fame but on the human stories behind Wales’s wealth of musical talent.
“Of all the arts music really pulls at the heartstrings and what we’re looking for is those people with a genuinely compelling reason for wanting to sing alongside their idol.
“In creating the series it’s our dream to make their dreams and aspirations come true – not necessarily to further their music careers but for the emotional fulfilment that being able to sing with their favourite artiste will bring them.
“It may be that their idol was much loved by a late mum or dad, for example, and their songs played in the background as they were growing up. Perhaps this person’s music helped the applicant through troubled times, or maybe it was the choice for a first dance at a wedding and one partner now dreams of singing that forever special number for their other half alongside the original performer.
“There are so many touching stories out there, all created by a love of music. We want to hear them all. It’s sure to be an emotional series but also uplifiting for everyone involved, including the viewers.
“All of us here at Cwmni Da are so excited to be a part of making people’s dreams happen.”
Rhys Meirion agreed the series has the potential to change lives.
He said he still recalls the excitement of his early career when he had the chance to perform alongside vocalists he had long respected, benefiting from their advice and encouragement.
His own idol, growing up, was the late Pavarotti who he sadly never got to sing with. But Rhys has shared the stage with Welsh compatriot Bryn Terfel, a moment which he said was overwhelming.
He said: “Singing with Bryn for the first time was just amazing for me. It was a highlight of my career, just being on stage with someone with such a powerful voice who I’d admired for so long. Moments like that really do change your life for the better. To be able to give a gift like that to someone else will be incredible.
“Wales is known as the land of song and we want to be able to bring some of its hidden songsmiths out into the open, shine a light on their talent and get them singing with their musical heroes and heroines.
“I know challenges like this can be daunting, especially for people whose confidence levels might not be high, but what I will say to them is just go fo it.
“Take a chance and apply – you have everything to gain and nothing to lose. What would be terrible is for the application deadline to pass by and to regret not grasping the nettle and applying.
“We want to hear from as many people as possible, for them to tell us about their musical hopes and dreams. What’s more there is virtually no limit on who can apply. We’re looking for people aged from of 10 right up to 110, and the show covers pretty much any music genre from pop to classical, rock to reggae, jazz, soul, folk, anything.”
Siwan said the choice of idol is being left up to the applicant.
She said: “We don’t want to steer people in any particular direction. This is about their own wishes and dreams, so we want them to tell us who they want to sing with. It can be someone who has just made it big in the headlines right now or a singer who has been packing theatres for decades.”
Rhys added: “We’re prepared to be surprised too. It might be that a person harbours a dream of singing with someone who isn’t necessarily a major star but who has been in the music business for a long time, a respected professional from a genre which might not be constantly in the limelight.
“I can’t wait to read the applications. I’m looking forward to it and nervous at the same time as I’m sure it will be a tough choice choosing who to go through.”
Cwmni Da hopes to start filming the series this autumn with a view to it being broadcast on S4C in January 2021.
For more information and to apply visit the Cwmni Da website https://www.cwmnida.cymru, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07483904452.