Gary Williams (singer)

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Gary Williams
Gary Williams as a broadcaster
Background information
Born (1970-12-15) 15 December 1970 (age 52)
GenresJazz, easy listening
Occupation(s)Singer, broadcaster

Gary Williams (born 15 December 1970) is a British jazz singer, writer, and broadcaster whose performances include concerts, cabaret shows, and theatre. Williams has recorded ten solo albums and written Cabaret Secrets, a book on stagecraft.

Music career[edit]

Williams started his career in social clubs before performing with the BBC Big Band on BBC Radio Humberside.[1] This led to appearances on BBC Radio 2's Big Band Special, BBC television's Pebble Mill at One with David Jacobs, and Gloria Hunniford's Open House with Burt Bacharach. He played the role of Frank Sinatra for the West End show The Rat Pack[2] for 150 performances at the Haymarket Theatre, the Adelphi Theatre, and subsequent UK and European tours.

In 2006 he performed in BBC1's 'Doctor Who – A Celebration' concert with David Tennant and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales with the BBC National Chorus of Wales conducted by Ben Foster.[3] In 2007 he recorded two songs for the soundtrack of the Warner Bros' motion picture Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution.

He regularly performs in cabaret at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, The Crazy Coqs,[4] The Pheasantry,[5] privately for theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh[6] and with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra.[1] He is a regular soloist in the concert hall with the CBSO, RSNO, Halle Orchestra, RLPO, BBC Concert Orchestra (for Friday Night Is Music Night[7]), Lahti Symphony Orchestra,[8][9] Northern Sinfonia, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival[10] and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

His most popular show is the interactive Sinatra Jukebox where, "instead of an hour of songs and anecdote, halfway through members of the audience were invited to fill in request forms".[11] Reviewing the show, Cabaret Scenes said, "I can think of no other singer to better pay homage to Ol' Blue Eyes on his 100th birthday."[12] In 2014 he performed on BBC Radio 2 with the BBC Concert Orchestra for David Jacobs – A Celebration alongside Michael Ball, Joe Stilgoe, Liz Robertson, and Marti Webb.[13] In 2015 he made his debut at Bestival and the following year at Camp Bestival.[14]

Williams's Christmas show A Swingin' Christmas was given a five star review by the London Evening Standard[15] and described as "The jolliest sleigh-ride in town!". The same show was given four stars by The Times,[16] which on the same night gave Michael Bublé's show at the O2 three stars.[17] A big band version of the show was aired on Sky Arts on 18th December 2022 [18] with the LP Swing Orchestra and Mica Paris.

In 2017, The Sunday Times profiled Williams, describing him as "one of the country's best-loved crooners".[19]

In 2022 he made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall as part of a tribute concert to Peggy Lee,[20] staged by the Mabel Mercer Foundation.

Recording career[edit]

In 2004, Williams recorded Alone Together with the John Wilson Orchestra[21] at Abbey Road Studios. He returned to the studios for In the Lounge with Gary Williams and Swingin' on Broadway, both recorded with his own band. Highlights of these three albums appeared on Gary Williams – The Best of Abbey Road, released in 2010. Also in 2010 he released Gary Williams Meets Frank Sinatra, recorded with Chris Dean and His Orchestra, which was awarded Jazz FM's album of the week. In 2011 he released Let There Be Love – A Celebration of Nat King Cole with the James Pearson Trio. Recorded live in 2003, it lay forgotten about until rediscovered late 2010.[22] Gary Williams Live in Brazil was released in 2013. In 2015 after a successful crowdfunding appeal[23] he released a big band Christmas album Big Band Wonderland. In 2017 Williams released Gary Williams at the Movies, which was awarded four stars by the London Evening Standard which said, "This selection of movie tunes sung with Sinatra-esque flair, will transport you down memory lane and get your serotonin levels soaring."[24] In 2018 he released 'Treasure Seeker' his first album as a singer/songwriter.


Williams has hosted the weekly musical biography show The Legends of Las Vegas[25] for The Wireless by Age UK. He hosted the weekly podcast In Conversation Radio,[26] similar in style to Desert Island Discs, and guests included Fred Astaire's daughter Ava Astaire MacKenzie, Christopher Biggins, and Jeffrey Archer. He has contributed to BBC Radio 4's Excess Baggage[27] and its consumer program You and Yours. Other broadcasting work includes a two-hour special for the centenary of Frank Sinatra for BBC Radio Humberside,[28] a contributor for Don Black's Cabaret Nights on BBC Radio 2,[29] two hour Christmas specials for BBC Radio Humberside in 2016[30] and 2017[31] and a one-hour special on The Art of the Crooner for BBC Radio 2 50s.[32] Williams also does corporate presenting and voice-over work.[33]


Williams' book Cabaret Secrets: How to create your own show, travel the world and get paid to do what you love has been featured in Time Out London,[34] described as "an ideal vade mecum for anybody who wants to succeed in cabaret".[35]

Charity work[edit]

In 2008 he was invited to a reception by the Prime Minister's wife Sarah Brown at 10 Downing Street[36] in acknowledgement of his work for The Caron Keating Foundation. In 2010 he performed a benefit concert for Grimsby's 'Big Red Heart Appeal'.[37]



  1. ^ a b "Classics in the Park will swing to globe-trotting crooner's selection of Sinatra". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  2. ^ "The boys are back in town". Yorkshire Post. 2 June 2004.
  3. ^ [1] Archived 20 November 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Lorna Luft and Gary Williams to Play the Crazy Coqs, Dec 2013". BroadwayWorld. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  5. ^ "New London Cabaret Intiatives [sic] Launch at Wilton's Music Hall and The Pheasantry". Playbill. 15 June 2010. Archived from the original on 17 June 2010.
  6. ^ This is Grimsby (11 May 2009). "Gary Williams' birthday gig". Grimsby Telegraph.
  7. ^ "BBC Radio 2 – Friday Night is Music Night, 16/11/2007". BBC. 16 November 2007.
  8. ^ "Hollywood Rhapsody: Sinfonia Lahti, John Wilson, Gary Williams". Meteli. 19 May 2006. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  9. ^ "My Way - Sinatra Encore: Sinfonia Lahti, John Wilson, Gary Williams". Meteli. 16 March 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  10. ^ Log in (13 June 2007). "Spoilt for choice – sounds and visuals galore in SA | ArtsHub Australia".
  11. ^ "Gary Williams presents a Sinatra Jukebox". Musical Theatre Review. 20 April 2013.
  12. ^ Helen Theophanous (11 May 2015). "Gary Williams & Harry the Piano: Happy Birthday Mr. Sinatra". Cabaret Scenes. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  13. ^ "BBC Radio 2 – David Jacobs: A Celebration". BBC. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Gary Williams and the Sinatra Jukebox". Bestival. 2015. Archived from the original on 9 September 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  15. ^ Jane Cornwell (18 December 2014). "Gary Williams: A Swinging Christmas, Crazy Coqs - music review". Evening Standard. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  16. ^ Clive Davis (18 December 2014). "Gary Williams at Crazy Coqs, W1". The Times. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Michael Buble or Grimsby and Immingham's singing sensation Gary Williams – who is the best? The Times says Gary!". Grimsby Telegraph. 30 December 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  18. ^ "A Swingin' Christmas with Len Phillips Swing Orchestra". Radio Times. 16 December 2022. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  19. ^ "I Sang Like Fred and Called The Office Thing Off". The Sunday Times. 15 January 2017.
  20. ^ ""I Like Men" - Celebrating 102 Years of Miss Peggy Lee". Carnegie Hall. 3 June 2022.
  21. ^ Mark Shenton (28 July 2008). "John Wilson Orchestra Offers That's Entertainment, Celebration of MGM Musicals". Playbill. Archived from the original on 15 March 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  22. ^ "BBC Radio 2 – Russell Davies, 06/03/2011". BBC. 6 March 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  23. ^ "Gary Williams and Big Band Wonderland". 26 February 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  24. ^ Jane Cornwell (8 September 2017). "Gary Williams - At the Movies review: A Trip Down Memory Lane". London Evening Standard.
  25. ^ "Age UK | The UK's leading charity helping every older person who needs us". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  26. ^ "In Conversation". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Radio 4 – Excess Baggage". BBC.
  28. ^ "Radio Humberside - Sinatra, Mr Hero". BBC.
  29. ^ "Radio 2 - Don Black's Cabaret Nights". BBC.
  30. ^ "Radio Humberside - Christmas Crooners". BBC.
  31. ^ "Radio Humberside - Christmas Special". BBC.
  32. ^ "Radio 2 - 50s Pop Up". BBC.
  33. ^ "Gary Williams Presents". Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  34. ^ Walters, Ben (18 June 2013). "Five reasons to love cruise-ship cabaret". Time Out. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  35. ^ "Cabaret Secrets by Gary Williams [Book Review]". August 2013. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  36. ^ This is Grimsby (13 November 2008). "Crooner's invite to Number 10". Grimsby Telegraph. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  37. ^ This is Grimsby (29 November 2010). "Singing sensation Gary Williams gets Christmas off to a swinging start". Grimsby Telegraph. Retrieved 20 October 2015.

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