Since the release of their debut album ‘Coming Home’ in 2009, The Soldiers have sold over a million albums in the UK. Following their fourth studio album and recent UK tour, we caught up with the group’s leading men Sergeant Major Gary Chilton, Staff Sergeant Richie Maddocks and Lance Corporal Ryan Idzi…
How poignant is the music to Army families?
Gary: Music is very important especially when loved ones are away. Whether on duty or ops, music has the ability to evoke strong emotions. We would like to think that we have gone some way to help families come to terms with their worry and anguish during the difficult months of separation.
Do you get any feedback from families?
Gary: All the time! It’s lovely to know that we can help in some way. It’s very humbling.
What is the most moving event you have sung at?
Richie: The festival of remembrance for what it represents.
What does your family think of you singing?
Gary: My family are extremely proud of what I have achieved over the past four years, and the work that we have done as a group to raise funds and awareness of charities that do such fantastic work.
What were the reasons behind your song choices?
Gary: We’re lucky to have a say about what songs we perform on the albums and during tours. The last CD has the song ‘Amazed’ on it which is mine and [my wife] Julie’s song – the words mean so much.
Who are your music idols?
Ryan: I’ve always loved listening to Ray Charles, but I like soul music and 80s rock. I love all types of music except the music that has one beat and repeats itself over and over again!
Who are the most inspiring people you’ve met?
Richie: Ben Parkinson. He is a soldier who suffered horrific injuries and yet he still works tirelessly to raise money and awareness for charities.
What do you do with your downtime on tour?
Ryan: I love to play golf and chill out with a few beers.
What’s next for The Soldiers?
Richie: Hopefully another album but in the meantime it’s back to barracks. There are no plans to deploy yet, but we are in the Army so it could happen at any time.