Haverhill singer/songwriter Dale Bennett has had many notable successes in his musical career to date, but his latest breakthrough may be the one to propel him on to a bigger stage.
The 23-year-old and his band, Dale Bennett & The Incidentals, have been hand-picked to support X-Factor runner-up and winner of ITV’s Dancing on Ice, Ray Quinn, when he sings at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on October 13.
When he first announced his appearance at The Apex as part of his UK tour, Mr Quinn appealed for local unsigned talent to apply for the chance to support him.
Dale’s band was chosen for the gig after their manager first put them forward before Dale was contacted by Mr Quinn’s management team and asked to submit examples of their music.
Dale, from Calford Drive, said: “I would say it’s probably the biggest gig I’ve ever done.
“It’s the gig I’m most excited for and it’s going to be packed. I have played in a bigger venue in Southampton, but it was half empty which is not so good.”
Dale initially ploughed a lone furrow in the music industry, releasing his debut album, Make My Own Breaks, which he wrote and produced himself, in 2013.
Earlier this year he made the final of the Future Music Songwriting Competition with Stay Away, one of the tracks taken from his album.
Having come through an audition and a regional heat he was placed sixth out of 9,000 entries after performing live in the final at Dingwalls in Camden Town.
The same song had earned Dale another accolade in 2013, when it scored him 9/10 with the judges in the UK Songwriting Contest, another competition in which he reached the final.
Having completed a degree at University Campus Suffolk in Music Production last year, Dale went on to form the band in February and they have been gigging regularly for the past six months.
The other band members are Stowmarket duo Mike Orange (bass guitar) and Ashley Nayler (keyboards), lead guitar Eddie Pocock, from Bury St Edmunds and another Haverhillian, drummer Luke Andrews.
Collectively, they now have the chance to shine alongside Ray Quinn, who apart from being the runner-up to Leona Lewis in the 2006 X-Factor final and winning Dancing on Ice in 2009, has appeared in many big West End shows, including Grease, Dirty Dancing and The Judy Garland Show, in which he starred alongside the late megastar’s daughter, Lorna Luft.
Dale, who has also been nominated in the Best Male Artist category of the 2015 New Music Generator (NMG) Awards, views the band’s Apex appearance as a chance to get a stronger foothold in the music industry and plans to launch part one of their new album, Love Stages, at midnight that day.
The album will be split into three parts, with Love Stages I and Love Stages II featuring four tracks each before a delux 12-track edition comes out.
He even plans to put a cheeky request to the main act on the night, saying: “I’m going to ask him If I can support him on another show.
“If you don’t ask you don’t get.”