It’s been busy times for actor Hugh Sheridan. Fresh from filming House Husbands for Nine, he has just completed a round of dates at the Brisbane Festival with his vocal trio California Crooners Club.
Music is seemingly inseparable from the former Packed to the Rafters star, growing up in Adelaide as the son of jazz musician Denis Sheridan.
Yet his TV success also inhibited his musical foray, or at least created challenges for audiences to perceive his other skills.
“One of the things that happens so often is when you’re known as an actor and you go to music people say ‘It’s an actor giving it a shot.’ But music was my first love,” he tells TV Tonight.
“I started early on but found it really difficult, because of the success of Rafters, to cross that line. So having the time out and being in LA working as a musician –not as an actor- gave me the confidence to come back and say ‘This is what I’m going to do. Hopefully you’ll like it.’
“Now more people are saying, ‘I didn’t know you sang.’ I tell them ‘I tried to let you all know!’”
He met his California Crooners Club partners Emile Welman and Gabe Roland whilst living in LA, by performing at Vibrato, a Bel Air club owned by Herb Alpert.
“I was lucky enough to start singing there. I’d been many times and they have incredible singers. I saw Seth McFarlane and Chaka Khan,” he continues.
“I was very lucky to get a spot and I was guesting with another singer, Emile Welman who was discovered by Clint Eastwood’s wife, Dina, on their reality show (Mrs. Eastwood & Company).
“We were both doing swing music and I did some Ed Sheeran and Justin Timberlake to mix it up a bit, and funked up some older songs.
“Then I had an idea to get a rapper and have a ‘rat pack’ look.”
California Club Crooners have also performed in Adelaide, Sydney & Melbourne and there are plans to next record an album.
“It’s just gone gangbusters. We do RnB, swing, and lots of originals. Delta’s heard some stuff and she loves them.”
Sheridan also combined both acting and singing passions during A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, paired with the great Geoffrey Rush.
“He was mad and wonderful. I was very intimated to meet him, and he was playing my slave!” he recalls.
“But we bonded…. we were constantly working on the jokes and making sure they landed right.”
Joining the 2017 season of House Husbands, Sheridan suitably plays Nick Gazecki, Nepean South’s specialist music teacher.
“To be honest my main music teacher when I was older was not great and I very rarely felt inspired or supported in high school,” he says.
“It’s amazing the impact teachers can have. So the idea of playing a music teacher for little kids was awesome, and we consciously made him a passionate teacher. He loves helping kids learn and finding a love for music.”
Juggling acting and music in a busy year is pretty satisfying for Sheridan, and a nice pay-off.
“Everything is about timing and I feel like this is a good time to be doing both.”