Singer Lewis is living the dream in Spain

Lewis at his farewell concert at Hartlepool Rugby Club earlier this year

Lewis at his farewell concert at Hartlepool Rugby Club earlier this year

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IT was out of tragedy that Lewis was set on the path to doing the job he loves.

At just 17, he was put forward to appear on the BBC’s Tonight’s the Night show by the parents of Kyle McManus, Lewis’ close friend who died of a sudden brain haemorrhage aged 16.

Lewis on stage with Russell Watson

Lewis on stage with Russell Watson

The friends shared a love of the arts and had both appeared in school productions at Manor College of Technology.

The TV chance saw Lewis perform a duet with opera star Russell “The Voice” Watson.

But even better was to come when he was invited to join Russell on his UK tour.

Lewis said: “It gave me a glimpse into the lifestyle of a top UK performer and made my dream even more desirable and gave me a lot more motivation to see how achievable it was.

“I had always dreamed of touring the UK in the way we did, performing with a full orchestra and of course supported by the amazing Sense of Sound from BBC’s Last Choir Standing.

“The performances at The Lowry Theatre in Salford still to this day remain the best moments of my life.”

It also led him to, Claire Moore, one of the UK’s top vocal coaches and Lewis says his voice is now better than ever.

Lewis, a former judge of the Mail’s Hartlepool’s Got Talent competition, first performed in Spain on a break last summer.

He decided to return again this year but to stay and perform.

Currently living in Villamartín, Spain, he said: “I made a lot of good contacts in Spain, so this year I walked straight into a lot of work.

“I was approached by the Costa Blanca’s biggest entertainment agency Elite Entertainment.”

He is now working on the Costa Blanca in a solo tribute to the West End And Broadway and also performing in a Three Tenors tribute which has sold-out bookings until next year.

He said: “I love the life style in Spain and have met some amazing people here, including my amazing partner Laura Flaherty.

“It is amazing to be making a great living doing something I’m so passionate and in love with – singing.”

Lewis also teaches Musical Theatre And Vocal Coach at The Ghost Academy Of Performing Arts.

“Its a fantastic life,” he said.

He discovered his love for singing when he starred in the lead role in Manor College’s production of West Side Story.

He praised his music teacher Ellie Hopwood for her support and began performing in hotels around Hartlepool, mainly for charity.

Lewis says he will die happy when he has played the role of Jean Val-Jean in the musical Les Miserables.

Lewis, who went to Hartlepool Sixth Form College, added: “The best thing about being a singer is being able to express how you think and feel through a universal language, and knowing that your song touches people and allows them to feel how you are.

“Making an impression on a person and being able to move them to tears or joy through something I am passionate about, there is no greater feeling.”

He was encouraged to sing by his grandparents, Billy Duff and Margaret Duff from Greatham, who he is very close to.

They have been to see him several times in Spain.

Lewis said: “They encouraged and paid for me to sing. Without them I would not be here.

“I owe them everything and they mean the world to me.”

In December, he will travel to Los Angeles for an audition for the American Musical And Dramatic Academy (AMDA).

If everything goes to plan he will study for four years for a Fine Bachelors Degree In Musical Theatre.

Lewis said: “The AMDA is the USA’s leading school and I will then hopefully break into the real world of theatre, and achieve my dream of playing a West End lead or Broadway show.

“Until then I’m going to have fun in Spain.”