About Beau . . .
Beau has been crooning around the country for the best part of a decade, and his humour and entertaining anecdotes make him popular with the crowd. He was honoured to be asked to perform for the Beacon Lighting ceremony to honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth during her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in North Oxfordshire in 2022, and sang to the three thousand strong crowd in attendence. Beau's lockdown livestreams gained a global audience from the United States, Chile, and mainland Europe, and his 75th VE Day Annivery Facebook show was extremely popular
As a child, Beau first fell in love with the vintage sounds after watching Howard Keel in 'Calamity Jane'. He then spent much of his early teen years listening to crooners such as Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra training his voice, which became the catalyst for him becoming a crooner. He performed at his parents' wedding anniversay party in front of several hundred people when he was 19, but sadly his father passed away a month later and he couldn't bring himself to sing in public again. Instead he sang to his mother, a huge Elvis fan, and a great supporter of Beau's singing. However his mother passed away after a three month diagnosis of agressive cancer back in 2016 and he had nobody to sing to, so Beau began to do 'Sing Along A Sunday' sessions on his Facebook page which was met favourably by those listening and sharing his videos - even catching the attention of Alan Paul of Manhattan Transfer who thought Beau's rendition of New York New York was 'outstanding'. Bookings began to come in for him, the first one being a wedding anniversary party, so Beau knew he had to get back out singing again!
A finalist in the Mr Vintage award at Twinwood in 2018 is an acolade he wears with pride, as Beau is a true vintage gent and spends his day to day life wearing vintage clothing and relaxing in his 1930s inspired home. He truly embodies the vintage aesthetic! His singing is a true passion inspired by the great performers such as Dickie Valentine, Buddy Clark, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra, Beau has managed to get that feel of authenticity, transporting those being entertained by him back in time with his velvety vocals.
A sell out event 'Beau Norton and Friends' where Beau organised and performed in a Music Hall style evening with several other vintage singers and entertainers put him firmly on the map and at the heart of the vintage scene. Beau now travels the country performing at 1940s events, weddings and functions large or small. During the pandemic Beau did a little acting work for Saatchi and Saatchi working on a Visa campaign which was seen on television and across all social media, and he also sang on BBC Radio Oxford. He was featured in Vintage Life magazine.
Beau has had the pleasure of working alongside many popular vintage entertainers such as Tom Carradine, and also duetting with Carrie-Anne Lawson, Betsy Harmony, and Miss Lily Lovejoy, and is looking forward to the many events, shows and gigs he is booked to perform at in the coming months ahead.
What is a crooner?
Before the advent of the microphone, popular singers like Al Jolson had to project to the rear seats of a theatre, as did opera singers, which made for a very loud vocal style. The microphone made possible the more personal style. Al Bowlly, Bing Crosby, Gene Austin, Art Gillham and, by some historical accounts, Vaughn De Leath are often credited as inventors of the crooning style, but Rudy Vallée achieved more widespread popularity, beginning in 1928; he could be heard by anyone with a phonograph or a radio.
By the early 1930s, the term "crooner" had taken on a negative connotation, and The New York Times predicted that crooning would be just a passing fad. The newspaper wrote, "They sing like that because they can't help it. Their style is begging to go out of fashion…. Crooners will soon go the way of tandem bicycles, mah jongg and midget golf."
Performing using a smooth style made possible by better microphones which picked up quieter sounds and a wider range of frequencies, allowed the singer to access a more dynamic range and perform in a more intimate manner. The term 'crooning' is derived from the old verb "to croon" (meaning "to speak or sing softly"). This suggestion of intimacy was supposedly wildly attractive to women, especially younger ones such as teenage girls, known at the time as "bobby soxers". The crooning style then developed out of singers who performed with big bands, and reached its height in the 1940s to late 60s with the arrival of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in the 1940s, then Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Dean Martin, Andy Williams leading the way through the 1950s.
© Copyright Beau Norton