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Restaurant gig led to a dream date for Tobias.

Byline: david owens Reporter david.owens@walesonline.co.uk

A CHANCE encounter in a Cardiff restaurant has kick-started an amazing chain of events for a talented local musician.

Heather Small, the lead singer of the iconic British band M People, was visiting The Stable restaurant when she saw singer Tobias Robertson performing his regular slot.

She was so impressed with what she heard that she asked to sing with him - much to the astonishment of the visiting clientele ... and Tobias!

To cap it off, Heather asked the Welsh musician to be her support act on her UK tour.

"She was in Cardiff as a judge at a film festival, which was being held at the Cineworld cinema across the road from the restaurant," Tobias recalls.

"I saw her come in and recognised her straight away. As I performed my set I could hear her joining in on a few lines.

"The next thing I know I'm lost in a song with my eyes closed, I open them and Heather is standing right there. The next thing I know she's asked me if she could join me on a song.

"I was taken aback, but managed to regain my composure and we sang Stand By Me by Ben E King."

Things got even better at this point when Heather told the 25-year-old singer from Newport how much she loved his voice and would like him to support her on tour.

"I think she said, 'There's something about your voice which just moved me'" he remembers.

"So when she asked me to support her on tour, I couldn't believe it."

True to her word, two weeks later the singing star contacted Tobias through his website to arrange the details.

For the singer, who writes and performs his own songs, it was a chance to prove he could shine. The dates he's played around the UK have been a great success - and he also gets to perform a song with Heather during the main part of her concert.

"The crowds have been lovely, very attentive and respectful, listening to my set each night, which has been fantastic," he says.

"Heather and I duet on an M People track called Don't Look Any Further, which we sing together in the middle of her set each night. The only problem is she's a natural dancer and I don't as I'm usually playing a guitar, so I try my best doing a terrible, one, two step dad dance."

Tobias is no stranger to the spotlight, as in February 2016 he was chosen from thousands of applicants to sing on The Voice UK.

Pop star Boy George chose Tobias for his team after saying "he's a great singer" on hearing his rendition of the song You've Got a Friend In Me by Randy Newman, made popular in the '90s Disney film Toy Story.

"I have been working so hard on my music for so many years and experienced lots of amazing moments but this is such an exciting time," said the singer, who has been on the gigging circuit for around 10 years.

"This tour has given me the opportunity to be seen, have some fun and to learn from a British soul legend along the way."

Now he has one more date of the tour left - at Bush Hall in London next week.

"It should be a special night with lots of people from the industry there," he says. "It's a beautiful venue so I can't wait."

Unsurprisingly, he can't thank Heather Small enough for the opportunity she's given him.

"I can't sing Heather's praises enough," he says. "I've met people in the industry at varying levels and she's the most genuine person who has had real success that I have met."

For the future, the singer has grand plans and feels like he's finally finding his feet.

"I've been producing a fivetrack EP of original songs to release later this year," he says. "It's the first release that feels like me.

"Since The Voice I've just been working on becoming a better musician and playing great music for people, whether it's cover songs or my own. My family have supported me to push for what I want and I'm hoping that between the EP, the tour and the work I'm putting in, I can get to where I want to be."

| Find out more about Tobias via: www.tobiasrobertson.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Tobias Robertson with Heather Small at The Stable restaurant in Cardiff on the night they met. Left: Tobias on The Voice. Below: Heather on stage
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 7, 2019
Words:763
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