Are you looking for a talented soul singer to set the perfect vibe for your wedding day in Spain?
If yes, then today’s article is just for you as Sunshine Weddings Spain will be chatting all things soul and funky with one of the most talented artists on the Costa del Sol, the superb sounding Mr Maph.
Thanks for joining us today Mr Maph, and for taking the time out of your busy schedule to tell us more about your music, background and stage experience which has led to performances alongside the likes of The Original Jackson’s and Otis Redding III.
Tell us, how did it all begin?
I come from a musical family, in fact we’re a multigenerational family of gospel singers, originally from Barbados in the Caribbean, though I was born in Greenwich, south London.
I, myself, got into gospel singing when I was very young, joining 100 strong church choirs when I was just seven years old—the same age as Michael Jackson when he started—performing to 700 strong congregations.
I remember every Sunday being like a big party, everyone would stay for lunch at the church hall after mass. There we would share everything as if we were one big family, and in a way we were, it was a full-scale community event on a weekly basis.
Thanks to those memories, as well as the religious aspect, gospel singing has, for me, always been fulfilling, inspiring and uplifting.
From Barbados to London and then Spain, what made you move to Malaga?
I came out in 2008 as a music teacher for Calahonda College, where I gave music, singing, guitar and piano lessons. Unfortunately the school closed due to the 2008 crisis and so I then started performing in gigs and I haven’t looked back since.
How did you get into weddings?
It was a natural progression. People would approach me at gigs and ask if I could perform at their wedding, then most weddings led to other weddings and to be honest, it just snowballed from the very start and fortunately, I’ve never had to advertise.
At which part of the wedding day are you most frequently asked to perform and what is the main style requested?
I’m actually often asked to perform the whole day, from the ceremony, to cocktail hour and then after-party. Sometimes I form a duo with a DJ, but often I just sing as a soloist. I usually requested upbeat songs about love, God and Jesus. My style, in general, is very versatile and I can perform gospel, reggie and soul, often fusing the latter two.
If you could choose, when do you prefer performing at a wedding?
At the after party, after the wedding breakfast, ideally, before the DJ takes over.
Any special moments at a wedding that spring to mind?
Yes, I was once asked to perform for a wedding party who flew over to Spain from South London, though I didn’t know at the time where exactly they were from, but it turned out they were from the very same neighbourhood where I had grown up, Greenwich, it was totally random, but we just hit off and after I’d sang a few songs they just told me to put a playlist on and join in with the party, which I did.
Though they were from my neighbourhood, I hadn’t actually met them before the party, but we all kicked off and I felt like we had been friends for years. It was an incredible feeling.
What has been your most accomplished moment in the music world so far?
That’s a difficult question, made easier perhaps if I divide the achievement into personal and then business.
On a personal note, for me singing gospel in a church full of people gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction. Because it is essentially about God and everything else falls into second place.
Then on a business level, I was recently finalist for the TV talent show ‘La Voz’, but what has to be one of my most memorable moments and biggest highlights was when I opened for The Original Jackson’s which featured all the original members apart from the late Michael Jackson, this was extremely special because the Jacksons had an enormous musical influence on me when I was younger.
I also performed live in a one-off special concert with Otis Redding III, son of Otis Redding, which was incredible.
Who would you say is your biggest inspiration musically?
Without a doubt, my mum, she would sing all day and night which definitely sparked my passion and marked my style. Then professionally, Michael Jackson, and the Jackson Five, as I’ve mentioned above, as well as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Bob Marlie.
When you’re not busy creating world-class wedding entertainment, what do you like doing in your spare time?
I love going to the gym, playing pool and playing video games.
Are you currently working on any exciting, new projects?
Yes, right now I’m working on a soul album entitled “The Soul of Mr. Maph” an album which will cover subjects that are important to me like; life, love, faith and political issues.
And can you tell us, what’s the secret behind your stage name Mr. Maph?
Sorry to disappoint, but no secrets at all, it’s just the initials to my full name: Michael Andrew Patterson Harding.
Thank you Michael, for taking the time to talk with us and for sharing an insight into your extraordinary world. Sunshine Weddings Spain can’t wait to listen to you perform at more Costa del Sol wedding celebrations, and see wedding guests boogieing until the last song is called.