Singing song writing sensation John Reilly is still Sheffield’s biggest best kept secret - not that he is interested in chasing the level of stardom he truly deserves, writes Graham Walker.
His huge local fan base would be the first to agree after more than 20-years of making great records and performing sold out shows, the natural born showman should be a national household name.
But it could be about to happen - songs from his latest album, Zebulon, have been courting BBC Radio 2 airtime.
One track, This City, has been played on more than 60 regional stations and was CBC Canada Radio 1’s record of the week.
John will release a new album in February, called Bad Vibes Shredder, and he’s also been invited - with keyboard player Lewis Nitikman - to play festivals next summer.
But whether he becomes the next big thing is irrelevant to John. What comes first for him, as always, is his music.
He will thank fans with a nostalgia concert when he fronts his old band Boy On A Dolphin for a Christmas show of group and solo hits at Sheffield City Hall, Wednesday, December 17, 7.30pm.
Special guests are songwriter Henry Priestman, who wrote hits for The Christians, The Steve Beighton Horn Section and Vancouver pianist Lewis.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our exclusive video chat with John.
He said: “The whole stardom thing has never been important to me, to be honest. My whole career has been built around the songs and what they mean to me and the audience.
“It’s not been a case of having a five year plan to get out there and conquer the world. It’s a slow burn and all about the songs for me.
“I’ve got a hard core of fans who really believe in the music and it slowly grows.
“I would rather have a solid foundation than go up in a rocket and come straight back down again.”
He said of the forthcoming concert: “I’ve been concentrating on the solo work in the last few years - but, particularly this year I really wanted to look at some of the nostalgia of Boy On A Dolphin, “People have really fond memories of those old songs so what I wanted to do was put some of those in and really concentrate on the Boy On A Dolphin sound.
“I’ll still be playing one or two songs from my last album.
“But it’s like 20-years now since we released Words Inside. I’m going to play quite a few songs from that album and give the lads a chance to shine. People still love those songs.”
* Tickets £20, in person, call 0114 2789 789 or visit www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk.