Talking Heads reporter Colin MacGregor once worked with Edward Reid in a cabaret show in Glasgow. Recently, he caught up with the Britain’s Got Talent star to discuss his three Wellbeing & Happiness Workshops at this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival, as well as his Britain’s Got Talent audition and his entertainment idols.
It was a normal Saturday night when I settled down to eat my dinner and watch Saturday night TV. Britain’s Got Talent was my programme choice and I would lift my head between mouthfuls with a casual interest, until one name was announced – Edward Reid. My brain was telling me I knew the name, but I couldn’t connect it until I saw him walk on – yes, it was the same Edward I had worked with for a couple of years in a cabaret show.
Now, Edward seemed quite a shy guy to me but here he was on national TV. His performance was legendary and will live in many peoples memories, and he deserved to progress. Moving on a couple of years, I was asked to step in for someone and do a show in Ayrshire. Who was on the programme for the night but Edward! I sat in fascination as I watched a man who had developed from those early days into a fantastically funny, entertaining performer. To me, Edward now deserves the accolade of being one of Scotland’s top performers and we at SMHAFF are lucky to have him hosting his workshops at venues across Lanarkshire this year.
Edward, you’re part of four events at this year’s Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. Why do you so kindly put yourself forward for these events?
I was involved last year working with Soundsational and I loved it. This year I wanted to work with Soundsational again because I love what they do but I also wanted to do something on my own. I've been training as a meditation teacher with the British School of Meditation and wanted to mix that with the performance aspect of what I do. The Wellbeing & Happiness workshops are a mix of music, chat and guided meditation. The aim of the workshop is for people to get still with meditation, laugh with the chat and then move to music.
How do you perceive programs like Britain’s Got Talent? You were a great act before you had success on this programme? But are things like this a necessary steppingstone to get opportunities in Scotland?
I have great memories of BGT – it was stressful and needed lots of energy but it helped shape me into who I am today. Going on a show like that, you need to know who you are and what your worth is. So I'm thankful for the process, which made me step up to myself. Appearing on these shows [gives you a] great profile, but it’s then up to you to show everyone that you will work hard and will get on with everyone in a professional manner.
How confident were you on the night of your BGT audition?
I wasn’t confident at all as it could have gone either way. However, I had belief in myself and knew I had to keep myself safe and loved no matter what happened.
Regarding our cabaret past, what is the worst song you have been ever given to sing?
Oh, there have been lots of songs that initially I didn’t like, but after working on them I kinda fall for them and make them my new baby.
I love your flamboyant dress sense, do you have a stylist, or are you copying me?
LOL. I have always been inspired by you! I don’t have a stylist but I have lots of friends I text outfit pictures to and they tell me yae or nae. Then I ignore them and do what I want! I think when you are on stage you should honour your audience by getting dolled up for them.
Desert Island Mr Reid, one CD to entertain you – which one?
Can I not have Spotify on the Island! We live in an age where the days of buying in LP, tape or even CD and listening to it until you know every word is gone. We have too much choice. I couldn’t choose just one. Maybe I could get YouTube?
I'm going to put my foot down and say you can only have one album.
I can't limit myself to just one. It's very hard. Barbara Streisand Greatest Hits then.
Who was your idol growing up and how close to their inner personality have you reached as a performer?
As a teenage I loved Kylie – she actually saved my life I think, although I don’t identify with her as a performer. I'm more influenced by the likes of Tina Turner and Diana Ross. Energy and glamour respectively.
The answers you have given, Edward, are very musical, but you’re a very funny man and your stage shows highlight that. So who is your influence in comedy?
I love Joan Rivers. I loved how she put herself down but you still looked up to her. Very talented.
If you hadn’t been an entertainer, what would you have done?
Before performing, I worked as a carer for people with learning disabilities and loved it. I got into management and wasn’t too keen on that side of it – I was only 24, still a wean. Now I don't know what else I would be – I've no Plan B. Plan A has to work!
If someone had to play you in the Edward Reid Movie, who would it be?
Maybe Danny DeVito! I really have no idea. I've never thought about it but now you mention it I'll add it to my dream board and start visualising it!
Lastly Edward, what do you have to say regarding the stigma of mental health in today’s modern day society?
I think it's definitely becoming more acceptable but I think we as a community don’t know what mental health really is. When promoting my shows I've been stressing that we all have mental health, just like physical health. We all need to keep it in good shape. There are varying levels of health both mental and physical and as a community we should support each other.
by Colin MacGregor
Edward Reid's Wellbeing & Happiness workshops takes place on Tue 18 Oct at East Kilbride Arts Centre, Wed 26 Oct at Rutherglen Town Hall and Thu 27 Oct at The Town House, Hamilton. All workshops are free and tickets can be reserved at sllcboxoffice.co.uk.