The Kaje talks success to Duke Special

Peter Wilson, aka Duke Special, is all abuzz when The Kaje catches up with him at Leed’s Wardrobe. His latest tour is well and truly underway, but with a changed band line-up for one night only, Wilson is trying to balance press chats and rehearsal time. He managed to do so smoothly, with no one feeling left out. With a slight insight into the musical genius live and a chat in the bar about his latest album “Oh Pioneer”, The Kaje are curious to find out how the Irish vaudeville singer manages to balance success and creativity so superfluously…

“Oh Pioneer” is album number 4-do you feel increased pressure due to your popularity?

I would not necessarily say I was popular. There was a period where I had big label backing and commercial attention, back when I was on Jools Holland, but I just have a steady fanbase  who keep supporting me. I would not want to do anything else, so music keeps me going, even if I struggle financially to reach my goal.

Four years have already passed since “I Never Thought This Day Would Come”-was it just a matter of waiting for the right time for a follow on album release?

“Oh Pioneer” is only technically my fourth album, as there have been records in between, just they were not considered albums as such. I still consider the other output to be albums, even if they were off shoots of other projects I was involved with. The fans still enjoy listening to the songs and they still feature in my live show.

What has been your career high to date?

There have been lots of great moments, and also lots of challenging moments. This industry is not an easy one, especially as there is not a lot of money in it. I am broke, but I am happy to be able to make music. While there have been lots of experiences I have enjoyed, I would have to say working Deborah Shaw on her production of Brecht’s “Mother Courage” was a real joy. To be able to be fully involved with the show, performing each night on stage surrounded by talented individuals, was a very different challenge to performing as me. It was great to be involved with it.

More recently I did my first presenting job, having researched the Ruby Murray for a BBC documentary. I loved being so involved with the project and being able to bring the knowledge of Ruby Murray to the wider public.

How would you say your ambitions have changed as a result of your success?

I would not say they had changed. The goals may keep shifting, and so in that there are always new ambitions, but the real ambition has just been to be able to make music that people enjoy.

Photograph and Interview by Jeremy Williams


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