By today’s brutal T.V standards, he’s old and not especially cute, but Anton Stephans, last week’s X Factor hopeful, brings something to the public that even Simon Cowell cannot manufacture - authenticity.
Anton’s story resonates with so many. His journey to date has seen him remain largely in the background playing the supporting role to the likes of Tina Turner and Oleta Adams. He helps create magic for others but now this 45 year old backing singer is ready to step out into the spotlight himself.
With his highly, accomplished vocals Anton brings all his life experience to bear in his performance. For me what is so exciting is his, yes, I’m going to use the m word - maturity. That and the prospect of his unrequited ambition being finally recognised in front of millions.
For his audition, Anton dug in deep with his rendition of ‘I’m Changing’. With a gentle nod to the late, great Luther Vandross he managed to move this reality show cynic to tears because like most memorable artists his performance offered a glimpse into his soul. In his eyes I recognised a truth that only comes with experience.
With my own thirty year career as a backing vocalist I know only too well what it’s like to be ‘always the bridesmaid and never the bride’. Although I was highly suited to supporting the likes of Eric Clapton, Robbie Williams and Seal, the role of a backing singer can be likened to quicksand if you dream of becoming an artist. If not careful you can literally disappear.
Stepping out into the harsh glare of the spotlight requires shed loads of self belief and Anton who has thus far been reluctant to position himself centre stage, is now ready. Truth be told… Anton Stephans has been ready a while.