Barry Steele is an English singer, ex RAF and HGV Driver. Born in Selly Oak and raised in Northfield, Birmingham. Barry Steele hails from a family who had lived in Selly Oak and Smethwick for generations. His uncle and namesake another Barry Steele also worked on the circuit in the 70s and 80s and his grandparents were principles for the Bournville operatic society. Many of his family worked for Cadbury’s and he has fond memories of the goodie bags from the ‘Chocolate Shop.’ His brother David was also a cast member of Cameron Macintosh’s ‘Les Misérables.’ You could say singing is in his DNA, but surprisingly he had never sung a note publicly until the year 2001, spending most of his pre singing days pursuing his career in the RAF as an HGV driver.
Whilst Barry has toured across the globe in his role as Roy Orbison, it is a far cry from his time in the RAF when he was stationed at RAF Waddington, Scampton, and RAF Tongeren in Belgium. Whilst in the Forces Barry refuelled both Vulcan Bombers (The Ladies of the Sky) and The Red Arrows.
It was at RAF Waddington that Barry met his wife Lynne, and it was throughout his time in the forces that he and Lynne raised their young family. Their son Chris was born at RAF Nocton Hall, Lincolnshire followed by daughter Leonie who was born at RAF Wegburg in West Germany whilst Barry was serving in Belgium.
When Barry left the RAF, he moved to Halesowen in the West Midlands with his young family where he and Lynne welcomed their third child Andrew. Barry became a long-distance lorry driver for ASDA, and during those long, lonely hours out on the road, he began singing in his cab to artists as diverse as Michael Jackson, Wet Wet Wet, and Chris Rhea.
It was during a family holiday in Cornwall that Barry took the first steps on the road to becoming a professional singer when Lynne and their daughter Leonie entered him into a singing competition without his knowledge. After winning the competition a fellow competitor said to him, “you obviously do this for a living” and went on to say, “you know you sound just like Roy Orbison singing Robbie Williams!” so, with the help of family and friends a tribute to The Big ‘O’ was born.
Barry turned professional in 2004 and spent the next two years of his early musical career performing in clubs and pubs in and around Birmingham and The Black Country prior to starting his theatrical career in 2006 when he toured New Zealand for six weeks.
During that tour, Lynne and Barry became determined to promote and produce their own show in the UK. Despite receiving many knockbacks from promoters who said it would never work, the couple took the huge financial risk of booking theatres themselves and the rest as they say is history.
As time moved on Barry quickly became enveloped in the music and sheer magic that was Roy Orbison, his aim was simple, his vision clear, to deliver the songs to Roy Orbison fans, in the same way, they were originally performed. Barry has toured across New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Ireland. Whilst in the United States of America Barry sang in front of Roy’s son Wesley, as well as duetting with Bill Dees the co-writer of many of Roy’s songs.