Hailed as “England’s new jazz superstar”, a support slot with the legendary BB King and an EP release which reached #1 on the UK jazz charts saw singer-pianist Anthony Strong grab the attention of some of the world’s top record labels in early 2012. He eventually signed a worldwide recording deal with iconic French label Naïve, home of multi-million selling singers Adele, Carla Bruni and Katie Melua, and has just released his debut album ‘Stepping Out.’
After receiving music scholarships to Whitgift School and The Purcell School of Music, Anthony funded a degree at the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music by gigging in London and quickly built up a reputation as an in-demand session musician, playing with artists such as Michael Bolton, Marti Pellow, Kyle Eastwood and Beverley Knight. He also spent 9 months in the West End as Jerry Lee Lewis in the show Million Dollar Quartet, performing to thousands of theatre-goers including jazz-lover Rod Stewart, who came back the next day to tell him that he thought his performance was "f***ing amazing!"
"When I first took an interest in music - when I was really young - we didn't have a decent piano at home, so when it came to family holidays, we'd visit my Grandparents and I'd spend the whole time at the piano... I'd greet my relatives and be itching to get on it as soon as I got in the door ... With no radio to play along to, I learnt everything C major. Every single tune I wanted to play, I learnt in C major! It's weird looking back on it but it taught me a real lesson in basic diatonic harmony. By the time it came to 'having lessons' I had basic grasp of simple harmony just by playing by ear."
After graduating from Music College in 2008, Anthony decided that his own music needed to take centre stage. Writing several songs with lyricist Guy Mathers and with the help of his colleagues at Music College, he began performing in the pubs and clubs of London. Mixing his unique take on the jazz classics with his own feel-good songs, Anthony quickly built up a loyal following of music fans and musicians and went on to gig at Pizza Express Jazz Club, The 606 Jazz Club and in the house band at Ronnie Scott's.
His debut album 'Guaranteed!' was released in the summer of 2009 and the band featured 8 of his best friends – who just happened to be some of the finest jazz musicians in London! On top of this, friend and singer Natalie Williams made a guest appearance. The launch saw over 300 people squeeze into private members club Shoreditch House and a panicking bar manager shut the doors and turn the rest away.
BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio London and Jazz FM all picked up on Strong's music leading to numerous prestigious performances including and a sell-out show at the 2010 London Jazz Festival and a support with American trumpet star Chris Botti.
Anthony's EP 'Delovely' was released in September 2011 and paved the way for debut performances at festivals in France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, Germany and Switzerland as well as 6 sold out shows at the legendary Duc Des Lombards club in Paris. He was also invited to join pop singer Paloma Faith, English entertainer Tony Christie and jazz legend Buddy Greco for the BBC's star-studded New Year's Eve broadcast Live from The Savoy Ballroom in London and supported BB King at Le Grand Rex Theatre.
After signing with Naïve in the autumn of 2012, Anthony set to work arranging and recording his new album which features, amongst others, Australian trumpeter James Morrison, British saxophone legend Nigel Hitchcock, drummer Sebastian De Krom and bassist Tom Farmer, along with a horn section and string section. The result, 'Stepping Out', is available now and features a mix of classic jazz songs and swinging originals.