NHS worker turned soul and Motown singer proving to be a real hit at one of Preston's newest nightspots

Meet Matt Philips from Clayton-le-Woods in Chorley - a nurse and social worker by day and Soul and Motown singer by night.

By Emma Downey
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 4:52 pm

The 43-year-old former prison officer and doorman, who performs under the guise of Matt Philips instead of his real name Matthew Price, is the star of Preston’s new Soul Bar Detroit by night and spends his days as a pioneer amongst the first dual qualified nurse/social workers for the NHS.

Star quality clearly runs in the family as the soul singing sensation is also cousin of this year's Apprentice hopeful Aaron Willis from Chorley.

Over the past couple of years he has performed at the legendary Blackpool North Pier, as well as throughout Wales. He has shared the stage with likes of Beverley Knight performing at prestigious events from Cash 4 Kids and a celebrity-packed charity event at The Millennium Hotel, to name just a few.

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Matt with boxing legend Frank Bruno.

Matt, who has impressed the likes of boxing supremos Frank Bruno and Mike Tyson, has no intention of giving up his day job as he loves helping people.

"I absolutely loved my time in the prison service and it taught me a lot of skills that I use today in my current job. I met so many different characters and loved seeing the change in people that we had helped. I only left the prison service after my wife had a really bad car accident that left her injured.

"We had young kids and she was unable to manage alone due to her injury."

He added: "I was lucky that I had music to fall back on and it almost forced me to go full time professional. It meant I could care for my family and be home mid week, then when the kids were in bed I could go and do my gigs.

Uptown Funk.

"I have always been a massive fan of music. I love all kinds from Motown, R&B to musicals. I played a few instruments and tool part know school plays but I never had the guts to get up and sing.

"I was 28 before I had the courage. Something just clicked in me. I rarely even get nervous now and I have performed in front of over 12,000 people, on live TV and at festivals in Spain.

"My idols are Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson. I'm also a big fan of Gary Barlow. I asked him to write me a song but had no luck with that. I love doing what I am doing now, live performances. I would love to just expand on that."

Matt met boxing champion Mike Tyson while performing a gig in St Helens.

Matt in his scrubs.

"I didn't know that in the back room was the team planning Mike Tyson's tour. They heard me perform and came to ask if I would perform at a night with Mike Tyson. Mike came to introduce himself during the sound check. During the night I sang his favourite song, Stone in Love With You by the stylistics. I saw him dancing in the corner of my eye so went over to him and finished the song at his table.

"We were invited to see him at his hotel the day after with his family. I was given a lot of press following this performance and later did events with David Haye, nicely Benn and Frank Bruno. As a mental health professional I gelled with Frank quite a bit and we have done many events together since."

He added: "Performing at weekends doesn't feel like work. It helps me unwind and I get to sing these amazing songs.

"The band I work with are all amazingly talented too and we have a good laugh backstage. I have one rule and that is I refuse to work with divas. There are no egos and we gel really well.

Matt performing on stage.

"Getting to perform with a live band everywhere is like a dream come true. It's a massive part of me managing my own mental health, especially from the pressures of work."

Matt is now planning to take his show to some theatres around the UK.