Singer takes to the road

EMMA HORSLEY
Last updated 14:00 07/09/2012
LINSLEY04
WARWICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ
FRESH TALENT: Haydn Linsley is flying the Palmerston North flag after winning a spot in new boyband Titanium.

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One young British-born lad who now calls Manawatu home is excited about what the future brings, and all thanks to a radio competition.

Ten months ago he sang in public for the first time, six weeks ago he was busking on the streets of Wellington with a mate and less than a month ago he took part in an audition to find New Zealand's next boyband.

Today Palmerston North 19-year-old Haydn Linsley is adept at conducting media interviews, filming music videos, posing for photo shoots and making records as one of the six members of Titanium, music station The Edge's latest project.

Teenagers would have to be living under a rock not to have noticed the TV and radio ads for the manufactured group, and more than 500 hopefuls auditioned either live or online to win a spot.

Haydn is still pinching himself to see if the whirlwind process really is true.

"I auditioned on August 11 and then they called me to go to Auckland and I was in a week-long bootcamp so they could pick the band."

Haydn said goodbye to his part-time job at a Wellington airport cafe, his personal training studies and his flatmate and headed north.

His singing ability has come as a bit of a surprise to his family and friends.

"I'd always wanted to sing but was shy about performing in front of people. My mate Josh Edwards (of New Zealand's Got Talent fame) would beat box and he got me up on stage."

The duo would busk to supplement their Studylink allowances.

The former Awatapu College student does have a pedigree of musical talent. The British-born lad's maternal grandfather is composer Tony Hatch, responsible for several British television theme tunes and writer of Petula Clarke's 1970s hit Downtown.

Hatch and Clarke collaborated for many years, writing several hits.

At the boyband bootcamp, Haydn and other hopefuls were put through their paces with vocal coaching, fitness training and dance lessons.

While he breezed through the fitness sessions, dancing was a hurdle he had to jump.

"I'm not a dancer and need to work on it a bit more. It was the first dance lesson I'd ever had, but I loved it."

The guys also had to sing live a capella at theme park Rainbow's End.

Once the band was named and signed to Illegal Musik, it was time for the real work to begin.

Within days a single had been recorded, a music video filmed and the six singers had been photographed for Cleo magazine.

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"It has been crazy, but amazing."

Back in Palmerston North for a few days to catch up with family and friends, Haydn knows that once he is back in Auckland there will be little time for his old life as the band has three weeks to get themselves ready for a nationwide tour of 16 shows in 17 days that will run from Whangarei to Invercargill.

There have been similarities drawn between the new singer and former boy band member Justin Timberlake which makes Haydn blush but he says he's happy to take on the burden.

"Yeah, even before the band, people used to say I looked like him. I'll run with it, it's OK."

With notoriety there comes the knockers and the group has taken its fair share of criticism from people through social media outlets.

"Yeah, there has been a fair bit of that but we read most of it and laugh about it, pretty much. There's not much more you can do. People will say stuff without knowing us and that's OK."

When the Manawatu Standard photographer suggests Haydn sings while he takes some shots the young man launches into the chorus of the band's first song.

The notes are true, the tone a sexy husky timbre and he proves in five seconds why he won himself a spot in the group.

The debut single Come on Home, written by Jersey Boys star Vince Harder, started air play earlier this week and is on sale from today.

While Haydn says he hasn't yet had to deal with hordes of screaming fans, he is hoping it will happen soon.

And yes, ladies, he's single.

- Manawatu Standard

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