Jack of all trades? | Daily News

Jack of all trades?

He’s a renowned entertainer, compere, emcee, singer, TV and radio presenter - all rolled into one. It won’t hurt to say that he’s a ‘Jack of all trades’ because he seems to have an inborn talent to show his skills in the showbiz industry. His experience in showbiz is unique.

Having come across the field for more than a decade, he sure knows the in and out of the showbiz and is a great inspiration to those who are keen to join it. He has contributed a countless number of times with his deep, and soothing voice for many corporate events, TV and radio programmes, sing alongs, and his own musical shows. He has had his own musical event for many years, and has entertained the music loving audiences with his memorable golden oldies.

On today’s interview, he’s all set up to have an interesting chat about his music and entertainment career, his future goals and the inner peace and solicitude he finds in practicing yoga. A proud product of Trinity College, Kandy, we met up for a coffee and an inspiring chat with Clifford Richards.


Q: Tell us about your progress these days.

It’s a little bit dry, because of the COVID-19 problem, but now it’s picking up a little bit. So my main involvement is emceeing, also singing, and recently I started on another area of involvement like on yoga. I’m a trained yoga teacher. Actually I work with Anoja Weerasinghe. I started my own classes in Kandy from September 8.

Q: What inspired you to join the entertainment field ?

From my school days I used to sing, but I never compered because I was a very shy person. Then after leaving school, I went to sing at an event in Kandy. Suddenly they realized there was no emcee. There was no compere. The organizer, Indrani Wjesundare , who was the leader of ‘Friends in Harmony’ , I was singing with their band . So she asked me to compere and said, “Why don’t you do this?’’. So reluctantly I agreed and did it. Afterwards people said that I had done a good job, and that was how I started. That was the beginning and then I joined radio, TV and it expanded.

Q: Were there any inspirational figures who guided you?

Not really. I had an inclination towards singing anyways, but after joining the SLBC there were so many people who guided me. But no one in particular. I was guided by my seniors there, and I learnt a lot from them.

Q: What was the most memorable moment of your entertainment career?

When you say ‘most memorable’, it happens every day because when you do a good job, when people appreciate you, literally the most memorable moment I have experienced in every event. I can’t pinpoint and identify a most memorable moment.

Q: Throughout the years, you have dealt with so many celebrities, artistes and other professionals. Who has been the most amazing personality you have met?

One person I would say, the late Ronnie Leitch. He was a fabulous entertainer, and also a very down to earth person. You know, within the company of that kind of person, it is very inspiring. He was one special character I would like to remember though he’s not here with us anymore. Also Sunil Perera. I respect them not only because of their standards or talent, but because of their outstanding human qualities.

Q: What are the basic qualities that a good presenter or a compere needs to have in this industry?

One of the basic qualities you need to become a good compere is, you need to have the desire to be a compere. Just because you’re a compere I can’t be a compere.

Q: How has the present COVID-19 situation affected the industry?

After the COVID-19 situation it became zero and still not up there right now, due to restrictions. (Crowd restrictions etc). The Entertainment industry will be the last one to recover, because people, crowds gather for events.

The main concern is from preventing people from gathering or forming together. What happened was, the moment lockdown started, nothing happened. Then online started happening, online seminars, programmes , now the restrictions are getting eased, so I think things are happening favorably.

The government is giving a lot of relief packages, loans, grants etc . Fortunately for me I’m involved in a family business also, so these days I’m focusing on that. For businesses, SME’S, and for musicians also, I think the government approved a 6 percent loan. I think most of the people have got it. We can’t say anything because it’s a global pandemic. People are very badly affected. Everything has been affected.

I would have been in New Zealand by this time, but everything was delayed. Last year we at least had foreign gigs. But this year, even the foreign gigs are not happening.

Q: Do you have a role model when it comes to the entertainment scene?

I used to admire people like Desmond De Silva, Sunil Perera, Ronnie Leitch. Those were some characters who inspired me, because they did a lot of magic on stage.

Q: What inspired you to follow yoga?

Like announcing, yoga also came by accident. I never dreamt of doing yoga, because the impression I had about yoga is, that these slow motion things doesn’t work for me! But I was asked to compere in a yoga conference. Anoja Weerasinghe called me for compering. So I said ok and I just took the job, and when I heard what people said, about yoga, and also what the doctors said, something told me that I should do it. I was highly taken up, so that was how I started. That’s the best thing happened to me ever, you know. The best thing you can do for yourself is, doing yoga because it basically boosts your spiritual, mental and physical health as well. Basically it transforms a person. Sadly, people are not aware about it.

Q: What are your future plans?

I want to do more theological of my own, which I have lacked so far, Then I play the saxophone, and I play the trumpet as well. So I need to work on it more, and also yoga. Basically I always compete with myself. I don’t have any competitors. My only competition is me and I always try to be myself.

Q: What’s your advice for youngsters who want to join this field?

Just be yourself. Try not to be another person. There’s no point in being another person. That person is there already. So you’re unique. Improve the highlighted you, those are unique characters.

The more you highlight the ‘’you’’ in you, then the people will get something new. Otherwise they’ll get a copy of someone else. You can do it, but there’ll be no originality.