There aren’t too many folk who can say they graced the same stage as Lulu, Dougie MacLean, Deacon Blue and Kylie Minogue – all in one gig – but Shetland lad Callum Wiseman did just that at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony.
Wiseman, who hails from Sandwick, was part of three-piece Glaswegian pop band Prides – who performed their song Messiah to thousands inside Hampden Park and millions watching on their TV screens.
Stuart Nisbet, musical director for the show, had heard the track and loved it, Wiseman explained.
“He played it to some of the other organisers and they must have loved it too because they asked us to play: a big gamble for them and a massive opportunity for us. It was really strange actually, almost everyone we dealt with on the day said they loved the track.
“Apparently Dougie MacLean told our manager Ally that the song was really well written, which was an amazing compliment. And yes, we met Kylie. She was absolutely lovely… and still really hot!”
The Sunday night show, broadcast live on BBC One, attracted an audience of 7.7 million.
Athletes appeared from almost 700 tents and 40,000 people filled the stadium.
“I know you probably want to hear that it was totally nerve-racking but it wasn’t actually that bad, we just kind of took it in our stride,” Wiseman said.
“When you’re playing to that many people it becomes less apparent that you’re playing to people at all (because there are so many of them).
“It sounds weird but in a way; the more people the better. The only time I got nervous is when we got taken to the stage half an hour before we went on and was told I wasn’t allowed to go for a pee.”
Playing to so many people in the stadium, Wiseman didn’t realise there were cameras there.
“It’s really easy to put the audience viewing at home out of your head when you can’t see them. It sunk in a bit afterwards though; we got so much Twitter/Facebook action that evening, it was very overwhelming.”
Wiseman, who plays keyboard, guitar and sings in the band, started learning the piano when he was young.
But he said he found it “painfully boring” and never practised, eventually giving it up, only to pick it up again 15 years later.
At the age of 10 he started learning guitar and listening to bands like Blink 182 and Green Day – learning to play by working his way through full albums.
When Wiseman first left the isles in 2003, he went to Ayr College and studied music technology – on Davie Gardner’s recommendation.
“ I got really into recording and that’s when I started writing songs. I’ve had some pretty interesting musical experiences over the years involving my best friends and some whisky but Prides is really starting to take the lead. Our recent west coast tour of the US has been one of my best musical experiences to date.”
Asked if he has developed as a musician too, he replied: “I’d say my attitude to doing music in general has developed over the years rather than actually developing as a musician. I’ve spent years in bands doing not very much. We tried various styles and sounds and nothing really took off.
“It’s a delicate thing to get right: the balance between working with talented musicians and working with people who want to work hard and work well together. I feel like the three of us (and our manager, label, etc) are really hitting our stride on that front these days.”
The band will be embarking on their first full headline tour of the UK later this year and they have recently been on a couple of support tours for pop acts Foxes and Twenty One Pilots.
Wiseman added he doesn’t have a “massively wide range of musical tastes” but added: “I love making music and I like music that’s exciting and has a strong melody. That’s what we try and achieve with all our songs: if it’s not exciting; it’s boring.”
Asked about how he approaches his role in the band, he said: “I don’t know what my role is per se but when we’re writing, I’m always trying to picture how we’re going to convey the music live; an absolutely banging live show is absolutely crucial as far as I’m concerned.”