The Voice singer Bill Downs wows crowd at Norwich bar

Norfolk singing sensation Bill Downs proved last night he was just as happy playing to a handful of people at a city bar, as to millions on the hit BBC1 talent show, the Voice.

The rising star, who has been likened to fellow East Anglian singer, Ed Sheeran, will be singing a duet tomorrow night on the Voice, but in the meantime he's busy fulfilling the bookings he had lined up before he hit the big time on TV. At Bar 11 in Upper King Street, he performed a 90-minute set of mainly cover songs including versions of Stone Roses, Oasis and Ed Sheeran songs, with some originals mixed in. He said: 'I like performing in Norwich, but I will perform anywhere, whether it's in front of five people or millions on TV. Wherever you play you get pumped up with the adrenaline flowing.'

The 24-year-old played before Tom Jones, Jessie J, and millions of television viewers on the Voice, but as reported, a few years ago he was nervous about singing for his Sprowston classmates. The former Sprowston High School pupil, who plays with local band, The Tracks, took up guitar aged 11 when his neighbour started playing, but kept his talent to himself, before playing in a band at Sprowston High's leavers' assembly when he was 16. He kept his music going after school as a hobby, while working for Aviva, various banks and day centres for adults with learning difficulties.

He's not the only Norfolk singing sensation, as classically-trained tenor Benjamin Lake from Cringleford and Gorleston's Toni Warne have also appeared on the Voice and Spixworth teenager, Sam Kelly, who also went to Sprowston High, has found fame on Britain's Got Talent. Mr Downs said that the two former Sprowston High pupils could soon return to their old school to perform together. As reported, Mr Downs had to put his wedding plans on hold when his chance for music stardom beckoned on TV. He was due to marry his fianc�e, Sacha Cullum, in the spring. Fortunately, his wife-to-be said the opportunity to appear on the TV series would be the only acceptable reason for re-scheduling their big day.

Do you know a TV star in Norwich? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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