HE wowed the judges of Britain’s Got Talent winning this year’s show and scooping the £250,000 prize. Now Torville Jones, better known by his stage name Tokio Myers is preparing to perform in front of HRH The Queen at this year’s Royal Variety Performance.
The multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer is unique. He’s created a haunting sound which he describes as a “big cinematic festival of sound,” fusing an array of musical influences that have shaped him as an artist, ranging from classical and cinematic to hip-hop, dance and 90s’ soul.
BGT saw him performing pyrotechnic mash-ups – tunes from Rag ‘N’ Bone Man, Rihanna, Jay Z and Kanye West to name but a few, with a classical twist – played on grand piano and synth pad. An unusual mix or mash-up some critics may say but one that simply works.
Tokio grew up in North-West London. “Piano playing kept me out of trouble,” he says. “When I was nine my Dad gave me a keyboard in a box and I remember playing it for hours and hours that night.
“Growing up I was surrounded by music. I come from a Jamaican family background so they listened to everything from Reggae to Pink Floyd, the Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald. I took piano lessons one day and just went on and on, learning chopsticks, working my way through grades 1-8 then studied beyond the grade at The Royal College of Music,” (Tokio received a coveted piano scholarship).
A stint as a studio musician led to recording and touring with some of the biggest names in music including Amy Winehouse and Kanye West.
Tokio, 32, is now releasing his debut 13-track album ‘Our Generation’ featuring a mix of original songs as well as innovative and inventive re-workings. Highlights include original compositions ‘Baltimore’ and ‘To Be Loved’, plus ‘Bloodstream’, a cover of Rudimental and Ed Sheeran’s hit, The Weeknd’s ‘Angel’ as well as ‘Children’ by the late Robert Miles.
“I was inspired by a lot of messages from kids and teenagers after winning Britain’s Got Talent. Many said: ‘your story really reasonates with me.’ Therefore I decided to make something that is the soundtrack of my life and theirs. I grew up in London and love the grit and grime of my city mixed with the togetherness and community vibe. But this is so much more than just me making an album. I want to make music where you are taken on a journey, given this incredible experience – in other words, life! “I’ve really tried to bring classical and contemporary elements together.”
There really is no one else like Tokio producing music quite like his at the moment.
“It is such a new thing and a really exciting time,” he adds.