Renowned tenor Alfie Boe was so blown away by busker Hattie Briggs’ voice that he invited her to support him on tour.
When Hattie Briggs turned up for her busking set at Paddington Station last October, she had no idea that it would be a game-changer.
Briggs was half-way through her second song when she spotted a man watching her performance. She thought it looked like the much-lauded singer Alfie Boe (she’d seen him in Les Misérables a few years earlier and was a fan).
“Then I realised that it was Alfie Boe,” Briggs says “so I absolutely went for it.” After listening for a while, Boe gave Briggs some money and left.
A delighted Briggs thought that was that until she got home later that day and checked her Instagram feed.
There was a message from Boe complimenting her on her voice.
Briggs responded with: “Wow it was you!”.
A few months later Boe offered Briggs the chance to support him on a 22-date tour across the UK. The tour kicks off at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, on Sunday and the final performance takes place in April at the Royal Albert Hall.
“He’s even asked if I will do a duet with him,” Briggs, 25, says. “It’s ridiculous and something I never dreamed would happen.”
The truth behind the fairytale
The story of Briggs getting scouted at Paddington Station to play at the Royal Albert Hall sounds like a plot from a film and almost too good to be true. But the truth behind the real-life fairytale is that Briggs has been grafting as a musician for several years.
She dropped out of Oxford (where she’d read Russian) a couple of years ago to pursue a music career and has released several EPs and two albums. She’s also honed her performing skills by playing on the festival circuit and busking at train stations in London.
So not only was she in the right place at the right time, she was ready when opportunity (and Mr Boe’s tour team) came knocking.
“It’s an amazing opportunity and I want to make the most of it. I hope I do this whole thing justice,” Briggs says.