The Bowie Legacy Interview
An interview with Tarquin – the voice of The Bowie Legacy.
INTERVIEWER: Thanks for spending time with me today Tarquin. Tell me, where did you grow up and what was it like?
TARQUIN: I grew up in the middle of England, a town called Stamford, pretty quiet but there was a core group of kids I connected with that had the same music tastes and desire to be rock stars!
Stamford was a pretty place with a river running through it , we lived just outside in a dilapidated old Georgian house that my dad rented for little money, easy then… but we, six kids, had lots of old big rooms we could make noise and music in , only problem it was really haunted , I felt many weird vibes there and heard strange noises,other people even saw things .
INTERVIEWER: What did your folks do?
TARQUIN: My dad who sadly died when I was around 13 years old was an artist and painter called Hjlamar Horth Boyesen, very Norwegian, but born and raised in America. His claim to fame was that he worked with Picasso for a couple of years, they made lots of mosaics which they sold for a pretty penny and then spent on late nights in downtown Paris. A story I recall from dad about Picasso was they were having dinner one night and the manager was very excited and said to Picasso after the meal “please the dinner was on the house, could you sign this napkin?“ Picasso said “ the dinner wasn’t that great”
My mum was a music teacher travelling around various schools teaching cello and piano, I got my music side from her along with two of my brothers and one sister the rest are painters an sculptors . My mum now lives in Dorset with loads of dogs and a parrot named Billy .
INTERVIEWER: When did you first hear Bowie’s music?
TARQUIN: I was in pyjamas watching top of the pops and then he came on singing Starman, I was hooked instantly, the look, the song, the idea… the whole thing. Strangely I kind of new he was playing a role which made the whole act so weird and wonderful.
INTERVIEWER: How did you start to sing his songs and re create his voice?
TARQUIN: My older brother had taught me a few chords on the guitar and I bought a Bowie song book – the one with the big red writing on, and I learned many of his songs. One memory was sitting at the end of the garden facing the dilapidated but lovely house, surrounded by flowers in the summer sun singing five years, an alien rock song about the end of the world. I loved the rebellious feeling of singing that song out as loud as possible .
My Bowie voice just seemed to happen naturally. I was always doing impressions of people like Micheal Caine, Clint Eastwood and my family. I think being the youngest of six I felt I had to entertain to be noticed. It wasn’t until I was around 28 and got the guitar out at a party and sang a few Bowie numbers that someone said “wow you sound just like him you should do a tribute act.” At that point I was trying to get somewhere with my own songs but the idea of doing a whole show of Bowie’s great songs was very appealing and so I got together with some musician friends and created a band called the Diamond Dogz. We had a great few years playing all sorts of gigs in the UK, Germany and Monte Carlo. We are still a band and all the guys play with other artists including Marlena Shaw, The Blockheads, Candy Statton, Phil Coliins. the Rolling Stoned, they are very talented guys.
INTERVIEWER: How did your solo act come about and what have been the highlights?
TARQUIN: I think it was at a time when the whole band was on tour with various acts and I still wanted to sing and be on stage. Being a musician myself I decided to record some Bowie tracks. I played guitar, bass and keyboards and got other people to play piano, drums etc.. and before long I had a whole set. I started small and put on a gig in local pub. It was a great night and I got a lot of great feedback. I then felt I could take it further adding my own visuals that I edited on my trusty Apple Mac and soon enough I had a whole show. At the moment I have several sets that I put together for different shows and sometimes I create a brand new set for a show . Some of the feedback I get after shows is just so amazing and it makes me feel so happy to be doing it , I have had people saying things like I “honestly closed my eyes and David Bowie was in the room singing. At one gig in London a disabled guy in a wheelchair said he had always wanted to see Bowie live but had been put off with the logistics but my act he said must be close to the magic of the real thing. I sang at the Bowie free festival gig in Beckenham a few years ago with Mary Finnegan whom Bowie started the festival with. She was very supportive of what I do and has invited me back to sing again when Tony Visconti (Bowie producer) will be curating.
INTERVIEWER: Did you ever meet the late great David Bowie ?
TARQUIN: Strange to think of him as late, but yes I have. I met him just to shake hands and say hi backstage at his appearance at the isle of wight festival in 2005. A friend of mine knew the manager of Snow Patrol who were on the menu and he gave us some passes, It was an amazing feeling to meet this man that has been a role model and great influence in my life. I felt so upset with his passing and played a few songs down a local pub the day he died. I had to stop for a bit singing Space Oddity when the tears came.
INTERVIEWER: Whats your favourite song to sing live?
I love singing all his songs and they all have a unique place and time for me. One stands out though – Moonage Daydream. The lyrics in that song to me are like Bowie was the first person to be able to paint using lyrics.
INTERVIEWER: Have you ever dressed up like Ziggy in a show?
TARQUIN: I have a couple of times some years ago but I realised that trying to capture that moment when he was on fire at the age of 25 was something else that I couldn’t really do justice to. I’m very happy to do my show as a more grown up Bowie basing my style and voice on his tours in the 2005 to 2009 range, its working!
INTERVIEWER: Thanks for the interview Tarquin. It was great to get to know you and we wish you the very best of luck with the show.