Robert was born in Liverpool in 1987 and moved shortly afterwards with his family across the River Mersey to Birkenhead. He grew up on the Woodchurch estate where, at the age of 4, he asked his granddad if he could have piano lessons. His granddad obliged and when Robert left school at 18 he had gained a Grade 8 in Piano. At 11, Robert attended the nearby St. Benedict’s Catholic school but it was not until the following year that he showed any interest in singing when his music teacher Katie Rooney recognised his obvious innate talent and asked him to perform two solos “A Whole New World” and “Beauty and the Beast” at St. Benedict’s prize giving evening.
Shortly afterwards Robert went to a concert at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and spotted a leaflet inviting young people to audition for the Liverpool Philharmonic choir. Robert completed and sent off the leaflet himself and was invited for an audition which he passed with flying colours. There then followed appearances at the International Eisteffod and the Albert Hall, and tours with the Liverpool Philharmonic youth orchestra where he performed various solos. His music prospects improved when St. Benedict’s school had to close down and Robert moved to St. Anselm’s College, allowing Robert to study music to A Level under the tutelage of Jessy Pomfret and Tony Charlesworth who inspired him to explore new songs.
About this time, Robert finished singing with the Liverpool Philharmonic choir when the director of the youth choir believed that his voice was about to break in the conventional way. One year later Robert was singing more beautifully than ever and an interview to study music at the Birmingham Conservatoire in 2005 confirmed what his music teachers were thinking. Robert had been blessed with a rare countertenor voice. The Conservatoire accepted him as a countertenor student benefiting from voice training and master classes with, among others, Michael Chance.
During all this time, Robert has always been involved in his local church, St. Michael & All Angels, Birkenhead, where the parish priest Fr. Stephen Wooley remains an important influence in his life. A devout Catholic, Robert still sings there on many a Sunday during the year and helps disadvantaged people at Lourdes in France and as a member of Youth SVP. One of the highlights of his life was singing to Pope Benedict in Rome and talking with him afterwards. Robert is devoted to his parents Debbie and Brian but a special place in his heart is reserved for his granddad Walter Chapman who has been selfless in his devotion to his grandson and whom Robert loves so very much.
I thought it was a woman when I first heard this.