China beckons for guitar star

Kevin Bennett playing his guitar
Kevin Bennett playing his guitar

A MUSICIAN is getting ready for a five-star trip to Asia after swapping the North-East for the Far East.

Bass player Kevin Bennett is jetting out to China as part of a seven-piece pop cover band for a four-month residency at the Crowne Plaza hotel, in Shenzen, China.

Town man Kevin gave up his day job as a music technician at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Hartlepool, to have his first crack at being a professional musician.

The 24-year old, who lives on the Headland with his girlfriend Hollie Sowden, 23, has played in a number of bands over the years.

But it was advice from a former Glastonbury performer which led to him pursuing his music career.

He said: “It was about this time last year when I realised I wanted to have a real go at becoming a professional musician.

“I spoke to a former lecturer of mine from university, Rowan Oliver, who I became really good friends with.

“He used to be a member of the band Goldfrapp and he gave me some advice.

“I was looking online for any opportunities but none of them seemed to be based in the North--East or anywhere close to home.

“I started thinking I may have to move to London, but then I came across Circus, a band which was recruiting.

“I went along to some auditions and within a week I was a member of the band.”

After joining Tyneside-based Circus as the bassist, Kevin then found out his first port of call would be China and performances in a nightclub in a five-star hotel.

Kevin will be joined in the band by one of his close friends who he met at university, Ed Salter, 23.

Girlfriend Hollie is also thinking about travelling to China with them to teach English in the country.

The band leave for Asia at the end of this month, and Kevin admits he can’t wait to get started.

“It will be such a fantastic experience.” said Kevin, who played a farewell gig for his most recent band, Ali and the Beachcombers, at Jax Bar, in Stockton Street, Hartlepool, at the weekend.

“We will be performing four 45-minute sets every night and during the day we will be able to completely relax and enjoy the surroundings.

“I have always played music as a hobby, so now to be able to play as my job, it’s just brilliant.

“I have found out that the music industry is a bit of a lottery, but if you get lucky and get a break the sky is the limit.

“Our agent has already said there is a chance we will go elsewhere in Asia once we have finished in China, so we could be set for a fantastic period ahead of us.”