SAM BUTTERY has come a long way since his elimination from The Voice in 2012.
The 23-year-old, who was part of Tom Jones’ team in the first series of the BBC talent show, went on to star as the iconic Leigh Bowery in Boy George’s West End musical, Taboo, and this Saturday, for one night only, the flamboyant singer will be treading the boards at the Festival Theatre in The Supreme Fabulettes.
Not bad for someone who said he could end up working in a supermarket after he was eliminated from The Voice.
“This isn’t the end of me in music, this isn’t the end of me in entertainment,” Buttery said after being voted out by the British public. “If it is the end of me, then you’ll be seeing more of me down ASDA. I’ll be working at the ASDA cafe.”
He’s not serving tea and scones yet.
“After finishing on the Voice, I went to a number of different events and at one I was introduced to Boy George and he asked me to audition for his musical,” recalls Buttery. “Two days after that I went and auditioned and two days later I had the part.”
Of his portrayal of maverick performance artist, fashion designer and club promoter Bowery, he says, “It really is such a challenge to try to play someone who actually existed. Primarily, it’s a lot of pressure to hone the voice and way of moving that Leigh had, and trying to develop them to specific idiosyncrasies and vocal qualities.
“It was such a pressure to do Leigh justice and try to capture his spirit, which so many people admire,” he adds.
Luckily, Buttery was given a lot of tips from Boy George, who has played Bowery himself in the past.
“Boy George actually met and knew Leigh, which meant he was a great person to chat to about him,” says Buttery. “He told me ways which Leigh would walk and about his encounters with Leigh – he was very helpful.”
Boy George, as it happens, also has an involvement in Buttery’s latest vehicle, The Supreme Fabulettes, which charts the rags to riches tale of Viva La Divas – a close harmony group with a difference.
“It’s got a lot of great sing-along songs in it, including an original by Boy George, and it’s directed by William Baker, who did all the Kylie Minogue arena tours,” says Buttery.
Boy George himself has described the show as “a triumph in heels” and Buttery echoes this, adding that it is a lot of fun and a great night out for all.
“I’m really, really looking forward to bringing the show to Edinburgh,” he says. “I’ve never been before, but I’ve got a couple of friends from there who tell me how beautiful the city is. So I really just can’t wait to get up there.
“Anyone who comes along to the show will have a great night out. It’s non-stop fun from start to finish and we normally have everyone up and dancing in the aisles.”
It may have seemed like a happy accident after he was voted off The Voice, but Buttery says musical theatre was always part of his plan.
“I auditioned for musical theatre courses when I was in sixth form but I never got in,” he says. “I just wanted to perform, so I went to every audition I could – The Voice was just another audition and a chance to perform.
“If I get to perform and be paid for it I couldn’t be happier,” he adds.
As for his time on The Voice, he says it was a great experience and one he has no regrets over.
“It was so surreal and overwhelming – an experience I will treasure for a long while,” he says of working with icon Sir Tom on The Voice.
“All the vocal coaches on the show were really good to me, but I obviously had a special relationship with Tom since I was on his team.”
So did the Welsh crooner give him any advice after he was voted off?
“He didn’t give me much career advice, he just said ‘good luck’,” says Buttery with a laugh, adding, “I don’t know if that’s good or bad.”
Given his upward career trajectory since appearing on The Voice, it seems Buttery has utterly earned good fortune.
The Supreme Fabulettes, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, Saturday, 7.30pm, £21.50, 0131 529 6000