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BIOGRAPHY

I

Brett was born on the 23rd of August 1978 in Nottingham, raised by his grandparents Marianne and Alwyn he still lives and works in the same house today. Alwyn played Elka 707 Organ, so at a very young age Brett was exposed to music. Alwyn found Brett aged three at the keys. He was encouraged, and soon displayed an uncanny ability to play melody lines from memory.  Alwyn recognized his grandson’s talent. Marianne and Alwyn continued encouraging Brett to play as a hobby. Brett’s ability to hear and reproduce melodies accurately is a hallmark of his music today. This ability to listen, hear and then play, sections, phrases, and separate parts of a complete score has stayed with Brett to this day - the Blue Danube, Marriage of  Figaro, and Bohemian Rhapsody played by him today being testament to the fact.

Brett also displayed a creativity looking for new sounds, accurately reproducing instruments, as best he could from the Elka 707. It was this that inspired Alwyn to buy a Wersi Kit, an orchestral organ. A Wersi Helios was finally completed, and Brett’s love affair with Wersi commenced.

His grandparents felt this natural talent should not be wasted and Brett started music lessons. Brett’s enthusiasm and dedication to music, so much a hallmark of the man today, found him being described as a ‘Boy Genius’ when later, at the age of seven he was to meet with Wersi Stars, the late, great, Klaus Wunderlich and Franz Lambert. Today they remain his idols and role models.

The meeting happened In April 1986. Then president of the Wersi Enthusiast Society Ron Franklin organized a five day trip to Wersi headquarters in Halsenbach Germany, where Wersi organs are still produced and sold there today. Brett’s grandparent’s decided to take Brett as a reward for dedication to musical studies. They had the pleasure of being in the company of great musical talent. Klaus Wunderlich, Franz Lambert,  Curt Prina and Hady Wolf. A highlight of the visit for Brett was the Saturday evening spent at the legendary Franz Lambert’s Felsenkeller.  Brett stood transfixed at the side of Franz’s organ watching, listening and learning.

Was it then that Brett’s future was decided? One can imagine his thoughts to have been – “Just like Franz, one day I’ll be a famous organist.”

 

Today the dream is realized and he can stand tall along with other Wersi stars such as Mark Whale and Claudia Hirschfield. Back home there was a noticeable change in Brett's music; he began to use little things picked up at the Felsenkeller.  Encouraged by the obvious effect the visit had on Brett, Marianne and Alwyn took Brett again on the same trip the following year but, unfortunately, Franz was unable to play for them.  Instead, they went for the evening to a Bier Keller in Koblenz, where organist Udo Kemp was performing. Having heard Brett play previously, Udo asked if Brett would play for the people to dance.  Amazingly, without a trace of nerves and oblivious to his audience, he proceeded to play music from his examinations. He also cheekily played a Franz Lambert Felsenkeller medley just as if he was at home playing to himself.  Was this the first sign we saw of the humorist we have on stage today? The reaction from the audience - a standing ovation - was to be the first of many in Brett's career to date.  A star was born – proud Grandparents, and Udo had a major problem getting Brett to leave the organ!

 

1988 was to be a memorable year for Brett and the family; they made the same trip as in previous years, but this time they were able to see Franz live at the Felsenkeller. After hearing from Udo of Brett’s achievements at Koblenz the year before, Franz requested Brett to play for him and his audience. Brett announced that he would play something that Franz himself plays, “Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes” - with that Franz took the microphone and said “Brett we must play together”. Nine year old Brett played seemingly without a care in the world.  It brought the house down and, later, Franz was to remark on Brett’s composure. That a professional musician, the stature of Franz Lambert, should take time out to encourage a young boy speaks volumes not just of Franz Lambert’s generosity, but his recognition of an artistic and musical talent. Franz’s music is still a big influence on Brett’s style, particularly Brett’s late night spots have a definite Franz Lambert Felsenkeller ring to them! Yes, I think we can safely say that one of Brett’s idols is Franz Lambert!  

The annual trip to Germany in 1989 brought another duet for Brett and Franz, this time playing “Strangers in the Night”. On the Sunday evening they attended another fantastic concert, by the ever impressive Mark Whale. Mark is often thought to be Brett’s older brother. Reinhardt Franz, then one of the co-owners of Wersi GmbH, asked Brett if he would like to play during Mark’s concert in the auditorium at the Wersi headquarters.  As always, Brett needed no second bidding to sit down and play, and gave a composed and professional performance.  After the concert Brett was promised by Reinhardt and his brother W. E. Franz that in the following year he could have his own concert, which inspired Brett, then 11 yrs old, to prepare for 1990. Brett has of course more recently had the pleasure of playing in concert with Mark Whale, in Dussen in the Netherlands. At twelve years old Brett started doing demonstrations for Wersi in the U.K.  It was difficult for Brett to work on new material for demonstrating new organs when he could only practice on his grandfather's Helios.  Practicing and preparing for demonstrations on one type of organ, and playing in public on another style of organ is not good. The nearest place he could get to play a Spectra was at Barnsley, the then northern Wersi dealership, too far for a young man who also had to attend school like any normal child, so Marianne and Alwyn decided to sell the Helios and get Brett his very own Spectra for his twelfth birthday.  A special gift from special people, for a very special young man.

The many demonstrations around this time hold memories of good times, such as demonstrating at Stapley Water Gardens where he made two very good friends, organist Volkre Kucche & ten times world accordion champion Guy Dennis, both were kind, helpful and also enjoyed playing as a trio with Brett.   Due to both his school work & musical examination’s Brett had to limit his amount of traveling, as more time was dedicated to his grades. When he turned fifteen Brett was accepted for Clarendon College in Nottingham to study music although he had already learnt most of the course in his previous years with private tutors. It was the ‘Academy of Life’, the experience gained by playing with other musicians and bands around Nottingham that was to become so very valuable later on in Brett’s career. Orchestrations, arrangements, stage presence and professionalism were to turn musician   - into performer – into star. Brett will admit to being a lucky sort of person, and, as luck would have it, at a time just right, Brett met up again with an old friend from his Germany trips, the one and only Ken Davies, who - as luck would have it - was heavily  involved in running Wersi – England. Brett was invited to appear at the long running Barton Hall Festival. Listening to Brett play and seeing him use the Spectra to its full potential; Ken decided to use Brett as his main demonstrator and concert artiste. A step in Brett’s career that was to give him the opportunity to appear at what was then all of the major organ festivals in England.  Brett and Ken's friendship grew to become a special bond. Brett referred to him as “King Kenny” and even though the ‘King’ eventually stopped running Wersi in England, his role as Brett’s sound engineer and musical adviser continued until Spring of 2003 when, sadly, he lost his short battle against cancer. He was to Brett the solid foundation a double bass is to a band, helping to drive develop and nurture the special talents of Brett Wales. It appears that the early years of hard work and studying are now paying off.

Brett’s charisma stems from his ability to feel and display emotion through his music. It affects many in the audience, bonding the artiste with his audience. Others are simply charmed by his pleasant, open, gentle nature that turns people into friends Over the years Brett has gained many true great friends in and around the music business, far too many to mention, but two very special friends Richard and Shirley Collis have given Brett the opportunity to carry on and try to achieve the goal that Brett has worked so hard for all these years. They bought Brett, no strings attached, his very own white Wersi Scala with matching speakers, the queen of the then brand new ‘Open Art System’ range of organs and keyboards just released by Wersi. This generous gesture was made to Brett purely to say "thank you for the music". Even Brett (not usually caught for words) was reported by King Kenny to have been shaking with excitement for days after the offer was made. A gesture from two very special people who say they have already seen and, indeed, heard the results of their involvement in Brett's career.

Today Brett lives with his lovely wife Katrina and together they have four beautiful daughters Bethany Atlantis who was born in 1999, Sophie Anastasia who was born in 2004, Isabella Rose who was born 11th August 2010. & the family have recently gained a new Member, Alexia Mae who was born 11th May 2014. Brett is a very dedicated dad who loves to spend time with his family. All this of course comes together to add to the puzzle that we know to be Brett Wales.

Brett’s grandfather passed away on the 14th of March 2001 after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease. Sadly, he never saw his great granddaughter, Bethany, or Sophie and he never got to hear his grandson playing the new instrument, didn’t get to witness the standing ovation Brett received in Concert at Ludlow on that very evening. The audience did not know that the Blue Danube, played that night in public for the first time and dedicated by Brett to his grandfather, was in fact dedicated to his grandfather's memory. Brett had been advised by mobile 'phone only a few hours earlier, whilst on his way to that concert, that Alwyn had slipped away. Truly the professional, and a man his grandfather would have been proud of that night – the performance was what we have come to expect from Brett, polished to perfection and showing no sign of the turmoil that must have raged within. Brett likes to think that whilst Alwyn, who didn’t witness his grandson's impact on the organ scene, is now looking down on him and realising that what he saw in his young grandson when he came home from work that day in 1981 is now being recognised twenty years later by audiences everywhere.

 Since the recent changes and restructuring of Wersi, both in Germany and the UK, Brett has continued to support Wersi by performing with his Scala and has really become something of an unofficial representative of Wersi in the UK.

In March 2010 Brett had the opportunity to upgrade his instrument to the three manualled Wersi Louvre, although he loved performing & recording on his Wersi Scala he felt that the opportunity could not be passed & by upgrading to the Louvre he could improve his recordings & also his stage performances, so in early 2010 Brett exchanged his Beloved Scala for the impressive Wersi Louvre which he now uses for all of his recordings & shows.

Brett has played concerts in the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and all over the UK, delighting audiences wherever he performs with his own unique style and sound.   

Never one for standing still, Brett is developing his career in music with the production of his own CD’s, and helping other artists with the use of his studio and skills. He also like one of his idols Klaus Wunderlich has his very own recording studio attached to his home in Nottingham England where he is always continuing to work on new recordings and striving to produce a fantastic sound appreciated by many of Brett’s fans.

Today Brett is constantly in demand and playing to packed out venues all over the country. With bookings going into the year 2018 we are happily assured of good music for the foreseeable future