South Shields singer to open Fifa World Cup tournament

South Shields-born singer Lee Gray, who now lives in New Zealand, will be opening ceremony of the 2015 FIFA Under 20's World Cup.
South Shields-born singer Lee Gray, who now lives in New Zealand, will be opening ceremony of the 2015 FIFA Under 20's World Cup.

A singer from South Tyneside is hitting all the right notes in New Zealand.

Lee Gray, from South Shields, will be kicking off the opening ceremony of the 2015 Fifa Under 20 World Cup tomorrow, performing to an audiance of millions of people around the world.

Lee, 30, will sing the official tournament song – This Is The One.

The gig will be Lee’s biggest crowd yet – and he is also due to become a father for the first time tomorrow.

Lee, originally from the Lawe Top, South Shields, now lives in Auckland, New Zealand, after emigrating four years ago, and his parents, Christine and Verne, still live in the town.

He said: “As if singing in front of 25,000 people wasn’t enough pressure. We haven’t found out the sex of the baby, we’re keeping it a surprise.

South Shields-born singer Lee Gray, who now lives in New Zealand, will be opening ceremony of the 2015 FIFA Under 20's World Cup.

South Shields-born singer Lee Gray, who now lives in New Zealand, will be opening ceremony of the 2015 FIFA Under 20's World Cup.

“I moved to Auckland with my wife, Maggie, who was then my girlfriend, four years ago. It was only meant to be for a year but then my music career started taking off and we have a great lifestyle here so it’s difficult to leave.

“She’s from Hertfordshire but we met in Nice and she just happened to be studying at Northumbria University.”

He added: “This is definitely my biggest live audience and they say it will be broadcast to over four million worldwide.

“I have been playing a few big events lately and this will hopefully lead to bigger stuff too.

Auckland's North Harbour Stadium.

Auckland's North Harbour Stadium.

“I have no idea where it could lead, I like to take things as they come but having such a big audience is a great way to get my name out there. Sadly England didn’t qualify, so I’m not too sure if it will be broadcast back home but I will record it for my parents and stepparents to watch the next time they visit.”

Lee, who studied music at South Tyneside College and Newcastle University, is a former member of local duo Woodface, but has steadily built a following in his adopted country.

His EP, Come On Down, was a hit with the industry and the public and saw his career explode, landing him gigs at top events and some of the most prestigious venues in New Zealand.

On Saturday, he’ll perform in front of a packed Auckland’s North Harbour Stadium, where the Under 20 World Cup is being held, in front of Fifa President Sepp Blatter and New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key.

The opening ceremony takes place at 11.30am local time, followed by the opening game between New Zeland and Ukraine.

To find out more about Lee, go to www.leegraymusic.com