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Roger Cairns

Roger Cairns started singing at a very early age and hasn’t stopped since. He sang at his aunt’s wedding when he was three years old. He sang in the church choir. Every year, he sang at the local residents association Christmas party. He sang at school and was 12 when he was awarded the Robert Burns Prize for excellence in the singing of Scottish songs. That’s what Roger knew, that’s what he loved, and that’s what he decided he was going to do when he turned 9: he was going to become a singer.

Flash forward 50 years and Roger is in Los Angeles, California, singing with a 20-piece jazz orchestra. His musical path out of the Scottish projects was circuitous, to say the least: it took him from crawling over English rooftops installing television antennas to delivering refreshments to the Beatles; from taking helicopter trips to North Sea oilrigs to organizing outdoor stunt spectaculars in Saudi Arabia, from impromptu visits by the KGB to the birth of his three children. And yet, though life frequently got in the way and Roger had to put his musical career on hold several times over the years, never did any of his experiences feed his soul the way music did and nothing ever replaced his love of singing.

Roger was born in the small coal mining village of Gilmerton, a suburb of Edinburgh, in 1946. Not surprisingly, Roger’s talent and his penchant for music were neither nurtured nor welcomed by his family in a post-war Britain more concerned with survival than entertainment. So when he was 15 years old, Roger was sent off to complete a five-year mining engineering apprenticeship with the National Coal Board.

But eighteen months later, tired of being underground, Roger emerged from the bowels of the Scottish mines and headed for London to pursue his dream. He was 17. Within a couple of years, Roger found himself touring Germany with London-based Rare Amber and releasing a blues album on the Polydor label. Then came Rubber Duck, a nine-piece jazz-rock ensemble which caught the ear of Bee Gees manager Dick Ashby and earned Roger backstage congratulations from Jimi Hendrix.

The group Listen, led by Essex-based composer Paul Abrahams, followed, and won a national rock contest in 1972. With Listen, Roger sang on BBC TV’s flagship Old Grey Whistle Test, performed live on Britain’s chief radio station, Radio One, and landed on the front page of the then best-selling music paper, Melody Maker. Listen also performed at the Queen Alexandria Hall in Kensington on the occasion of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s nineteenth birthday.

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… Cairns is a master of all. … a seasoned professional who has put in his countless hours of singing, performing and truly being there. You can hear it in his phrasing and his honest and sincere delivery of each lyric, hitting the emotional core of each song. … few vocalists can convey such vulnerability and strength at the same time. - Geannine Reid, Ejazzznews.com.

His vocals offer a glimpse of emotion wrapped in a timeless quality… - J Edward Sumerau, MetroSpirit.com.

… has a voice that reminds me of classic crooners like Mel Torme, Johnny Hartman. - Jeffrey Siegel, straightnochaserjazz.blogspot.com

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Let's...

Self Produced
2010

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A Scot in LA

Self Produced
2006

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