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Singing builder from Banstead lands record deal thanks to his day job
A singing builder is swapping scaffolding for the stage after landing a record deal thanks to his day job.
Michael Armstrong, 38, from Banstead, was completing kitchen work in the Kingswood house of record label boss Lisa Davies last year when he gave her a CD of his songs.
After having a listen, Mrs Davies, who promoted Michael Jackson’s Thriller in the UK, told him "you’ve got something special" and signed him up to her Upbeat Synergy label.
Mrs Davies, who has also worked with the Bee Gees, Cliff Richard and Chris de Burgh, said he had a "brilliant, strong voice" and would become a global success.
She said: "When I was listening to the CD Michael gave me, my husband came in and said ‘who’s that?’ and I replied ‘that’s the guy who’s been working in the kitchen’.
"Michael has a brilliant voice - it is strong and very good quality.
"He has the talent, but has never had a lucky break - until now."
Mr Armstrong, who has been singing since he was 14 and writes all of his own songs, believes this is his time to shine and success is "better late than never".
He said: "I’ve always wanted to do music seriously.
"When I was 16 I used to play at the Holiday Inn hotel in Sutton and at 18 I started my own band. We had a small amount of success and played at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
"I studied music at university and then joined my dad’s building firm after I left. I started as a builder so I had some money coming in to pursue the music.
"But then life took over. I got married, had three children and got a mortgage and the building job became my proper job and the music became a hobby."
Mr Armstrong said he writes "songs that I would like to listen to" and is influenced by Billy Joel, The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac.
He said: "I guess my style is best-described as rock-pop. But my lyrics are unusual and have a meaning behind them so there’s a touch of Bob Dylan in there too."
His family are keeping him grounded, but Mr Armstrong said "he could not be more excited" about the record deal.
He added: "I’m still driving around in my van and juggling the two lives at the moment. But I think it’s definitely coming to the point where I will have to make a decision.
"My dream is the same as any other singer - I want to make a living doing something I love and music has always been what I love.
"The building industry has been good to me, but it’s not what I enjoy because my passion is music.
"I have waited a long time for this and have paid my dues. It’s better late than never.
"I’ve got my fingers crossed - you don’t want to count your chickens before they hatch."
Mr Armstrong’s debut single will be out on July 9.