A family affair for Sheffield’s musical Gentleman

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WITH a father whose song-writing skills saw his compositions played on radios millions of times around the world, musician Nicholas Noble already has an impressive pop lineage.

And the 28-year-old frontman of up-and-coming Sheffield band The Gentlemen is now set to create a musical milestone of his own after becoming the 100,000th member of the industry body representing songwriters and composers.

The four-piece, who describe themselves as a disco-pop band who create “delectable sounds for discerning ears”, have already supported fellow South Yorkshire star Jarvis Cocker and appeared recently on Dermot O’Leary’s BBC Radio 2 show.

And the publicity gained by becoming the latest member of PRS for Music could help them on the way to joining Sheffield’s stellar list of rock heroes alongside Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, the Human League and Def Leppard.

Nicholas, from Woodseats, was exposed to pop music success from an early age thanks to his father Keith, who in the 1960s was singer in an early incarnation of Pink Floyd, called The Screaming Abdabs, alongside its original members Roger Waters and Nick Mason.

After leaving to pursue other projects, he then moved to the US, where he co-wrote songs for folk rock duo Chad & Jeremy, including their biggest hit A Summer Song, which reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 in late summer 1964.

Nicholas said his father, who is also from Sheffield and has since become an architect, had been nagging him to join PRS for Music after his own big hit earned awards from the organisation as well as millions of radio plays.

He said: “The song has since been featured in films and adverts, I was in Norway a few weeks ago and I saw a new version of the song on an advert there.

“Growing up in a household where it is normal to see your dad on the front cover of a record sleeve makes it seems that singing is just what everyone does. He has been very encouraging, he desperately wants us to be successful.”

The Gentlemen, whose other members include Sean D’Souza Walsh, Josh Cana and Joel Cana, marked their membership of PRS for Music alongside Adele, Queen and Paul McCartney by performing at their recording studio, Steelworks Studios in Brown Street, Sheffield.

They have been playing together for eight years and are now working on their third commercial album, Departures, out on November 18, as well as releasing single New York Girl on October 21.

On the subject of his city’s thriving music scene, Sean, 25, said: “I think we are aware of the other artists in Sheffield because we meet a lot of them and we have played together.

“In terms of music that has come before us, Def Leppard had a studio in the same place we had a rehearsal studio. We are recording our album in the next studio along from the Human League.

“Sheffield’s musical heritage is all around us constantly, you can’t help but compare yourself to what has come before.

“At the moment we are largely thinking about the next 12 months. We are going to be working really hard to get the single out and will be touring that a lot.

“We will be looking for a record label ahead of launching the album. It is a mixture of getting out on the road and also trying to make sure people are on board with us.

“PRS are responsible for paying artists their royalties on their music. If you are an artist trying to make it that can be the difference between being able to do your music four days a week and doing it five days a week.”

The band’s milestone has even been marked by Sheffield MP Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. He said: “As a local MP I know Sheffield has an outstanding record of producing chart topping musicians, so it’s appropriate that a Sheffield band has helped PRS for Music reach this important milestone.

“Music from our country is successfully exported around the world and PRS for Music do an important job in ensuring the rights of our home-grown musicians are protected.”

Mark Lawrence, membership director of PRS for Music, added: “This is an historic milestone for PRS for Music and reminds us what we’ve achieved over the last century.

“Our songwriters are a huge global success story, being heard in more places than ever, across TV, radio, live and online.”

Around 750 members join PRS for Music every month, with South Yorkshire songwriters making up a tenth of its membership.

On its website, it says: “We license organisations to play, perform or make available copyright music on behalf of our members and overseas societies, and distribute the resulting royalties to them fairly and efficiently.”