Most people know Ricky Gervais as the creator and star of the British version of The Office, but does he have any secret talents – such as singing?
Ricky Gervais can sing. The Golden Globe-winning star was an aspiring musician before becoming a comedian. He performed with the new wave group Seona Dancing in the ‘80s, and his comedy acts still include elements of music.
Stick around to learn more about Gervais’ musical journey and how he managed to find a link between music and comedy.
An Aspiring Musician
Ricky Gervais is a born performer, but pursuing comedy was the last thing on his mind during the ‘80s. The Office star wanted to thrive in a completely different field – music.
During his final year at college, Gervais joined forces with his friend Bill Macrae and ended up forming new wave group Seona Dancing. They wrote the lyrics together, but Gervais was in charge of singing while Macrae played keyboards.
The duo managed to record a demo consisting of sixteen tracks, and two of them were released as singles in 1983. “More to Lose” and “Bitter Heart” failed to break into the top 40, and the band split one year later.
Despite their failure to wow the British crowd, Seona Dancing found success in the Philippines and their song “More to Lose” was a huge radio hit in this country. Gervais later compared being a comedian to being a rockstar because you have a platform to express your opinions.
After Seona Dancing split up, Gervais spent some time managing Suede and later joked that “their career really took off” after they parted ways. He went on to work at the alternative radio station Xfm, where he met The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant – and the rest is history.
Ricky’s Musical Comedy
During an appearance on Graham Norton’s show, Ricky Gervais described himself as a “frustrated, failed musician” and admitted he tries to sneak a song into everything he does.
Gervais didn’t fully retire his David Brent character after The Office and used him to showcase his musical talent. Fans of this sitcom first became aware of it when he performed “Free Love Freeway” during an employee training seminar.
He performed this track on several more occasions, and it was one of the songs included in his 2013 web series Learn Guitar with David Brent. He also played “Spaceman”, “Ooh La La” and “Life on the Road”, in addition to giving tips and answering fan questions.
Gervais had a chance to perform these and many more songs in the 2016 film David Brent: Life on the Road. It showed his most iconic character touring with his band Foregone Conclusion and living his dream of being a rockstar.
This film was a box office bomb, but its soundtrack managed to find bigger success and peak at no. 3 in the UK. Gervais also published The David Brent Songbook, with all the songs from the album arranged for piano, voice, and guitar.
Ricky’s Musical Hero
Ricky Gervais’ band has been described as an obvious rip-off of David Bowie – and for a good reason. The Office star described the legendary singer as his hero and said he learned to play the guitar after hearing “Heroes” for the first time.
Gervais met Bowie after getting a VIP pass for one of his concerts from BBC, and they stayed in touch. They even worked together on an episode of Extras after Bowie agreed to perform the song “Little Fat Man” on this show.
Gervais reflected on his friendship with Bowie in a tribute published by The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 and said that he made him believe that everything was possible.
“Our relationship was bizarre and surreal, and I felt so privileged to know him. I never forgot he was my hero, even when he became my friend… When I talked to people, I talked about this rock star who changed my whole outlook. He put my life in color,” wrote Gervais.