He played pop music with Hue and Cry during the 1980s  but he became dissatisfied with that.
After two years in France he studied jazz at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama before returning to Scotland. He has been known for influences from Latin music and funk and has recorded several well-regarded albums.
He has been increasingly influenced by Scottish folk music, an influence carried into the additional instrumentation in his group Colin Steele's Stramash. as well as playing in Ceilidh Minogue's horn section