Cranni’s countdown to first free gig

Cranni at the mic
Cranni at the mic
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A Sheffield singer is preparing for his first gig as a free man, when he takes to the stage in the city next month.

Cranni, whose real name is Nigel Cranswick, will showcase his debut album at Cubana on Leopold Square in a few weeks - the album that he released whilst still serving time in prison for fraud.

The former policeman was sentenced to ten years back in 2011 and says music was the thing that got him through some of the toughest times of his life.

“For the first two years, I lived as a recluse in my cell, as - because of my former occupation as a police man - the prison staff could not guarantee my safety. I wasn’t even allowed to go to work or education class. My guitar was my solace – I ended up writing my first three albums.

“I’m still working hard to mend things I’ve broken along the way, but there’s no doubt that music saved me while I was in prison. It lifted my spirits and endeared me to people.”

Cranni was on the verge of a music career before his brush with the law, with Sheffield hit maker Elliot Kennedy claiming the world’s biggest labels would have bitten his hand off for his talent, and former Simply Red bassist Shaun Ward – who performed on Cranni’s 2011 demo – adding “musicians could try all their lives trying to write a song as good as his ‘Hit & Miss’.”

And for Cranni, who previously suffered with terrible stage fright, the idea of next month’s gig holds nothing but joy: “I realised that being in the spotlight was child’s play compared to the torture I was enduring in prison. It’s a date I never thought would come.”

Cranni will perform in Sheffield at 9pm on Thursday September 7.