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Derry singer Martin McCafferty hits the Jackpot

Jack Pack
Jack Pack

Jack-Pack singer Martin McCafferty was on the brink of giving up his performing dream when Simon Cowell came calling.

The Derry man had decided to settle down and get a teaching job after years of gigging around Belfast.

But when the Britain’s Got Talent fourth place winners needed a new fourth man last year Martin had to do it My Way.

Since then he’s performed across Europe, sung for Prince Charles and the band’s been given a new song by legend Randy Newman.

Last week Martin and Jack Pack performed  as a guest act on BGT in one of the biggest gigs of his career while the sexy swing band get ready for the release of their first album on June 29.

The 33-year-old was signed up to perform with band members Andrew Bourn, Sean Ryder Wolf and Alfie Palmer after they finished just behind winners Collabro last year.

Martin, a former BT executive, was already an established singer with regular gigs in Belfast, but he’d decided it was time to get a proper job.

He enrolled at Plymouth University to study primary school teaching and had reconciled himself to singing as a hobby.

“Four years ago I thought it was time to get a real job and do singing on the side,” says Martin.

“I was resigned to the fact that I had to get a proper career. A lot of my friends are teachers and it was the only thing I had wanted to do, so I was going to settle down.”

Fate intervened when Jack Pack singer Adam Chandler resigned just after Britain’s Got Talent last year to face a criminal trial and the band needed a new man.

“I got an email from their manager asking me to come and audition and after a few try outs I nailed the part. Then we had to go and audition again with Syco and their team and luckily enough I got signed up,” he says.

He clicked straight away with the other members and knew at once that teaching would have to wait.

“We gelled from the moment I walked through the door. It was a blessing for me because I didn’t want to always be the new guy.

“We are as close as brothers. Andrew has a wife and kids and a mortgage, Sean is totally selfless and would do anything for you and Alfie is the youngster of the group.”

Martin, who has also appeared in Game of Thrones in King Renley’s Guard, has sent his thanks to the Café Vaudeville team in Belfast who looked after him during his years there.

Now with the foursome he is aiming high and I Love LA writer Randy Newman has also given them a song for the album.

“We first heard it on Dictaphone in his gravelly voice and when we recorded it he had to sign off on it. We didn’t know if he’d give it to us so it’s amazing to have an original Randy Newman track.

“Simon’s input and influence has also been fantastic. He is across all the meetings that are happening and he’s put us with people who worked on Moulin Rouge.”

They have performed for royalty with a gig for Prince Charles as well as shows across Europe.

“We did Mack the Knife for him and had a personal line-up in the throne room where they crown the monarch,” says Martin.

“We’ve just come back from Istanbul and we’ve performed at some of the best venues in London as well as shooting our video in Ukraine – it’s been a crazy roller coaster.”

The Jack Pack debut album is due for release in September with a polished sound which Martin believes is coming at the right time, coinciding with the new Bond film Spectre, Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday and a new series of Mad Men.

“We’re looking at being a global brand and hopefully this time next year we’ll be working on our second album.

“Good things come to those who wait,” says Martin.

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