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Why I'd come back to Wales

Feb 1 2005

Hannah Jones, Western Mail


TOM JONES has revealed the secret behind that Voice - keep it Welsh.

One of Wales' most famous sons says he's got no intention of ever forgetting where he comes from.

And the Boy from Nowhere who became one of the biggest- selling singers of all time is even considering turning his back on glamorous Los Angeles lifestyle and moving back to Wales.

In the current edition of Now magazine, he answers a series of readers' questions submitted on email.

When asked if he still considers himself to be 100% Welsh he replied, "Yeah, and I'd consider moving back there one day.

"I never really left. Having a house in LA is just where the house is. I haven't become an American.

"It's just a convenience thing living there. I carry Wales around inside me and when I sing the national anthem before a big rugby game I hope to play a small part in our performance on the field."

Although now living full time in America, Tom says he's never been tempted to soften his strong, lilting and certainly distinct deep Valleys accent.

Alluding to the Yankee twang Swansea-born Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones often adopts in interviews these days, he blamed the shift in her voice on the movie business.

"I think it's down to the movies Catherine makes now - she's always doing American accents," he added.

"Would I ever lose my Welsh accent? God no! Think about it. My wife and sister, who both live in LA, are Welsh and my parents used to live there too. I could never pronounce 'car' as 'coooor'.

"And I always think of putting petrol in my car, not gas."

His personal perception of his own sense of what it means to be Welsh pervades not only his speaking voice but that great big tenor of a singing machine.

And he attributes its power to the fact that it was born, raised and nurtured in Wales.

"I have a Welsh voice," says Tom, pictured.

"The projection and the way I project it is because of where I come from. But the influence has been American.

"The basic sound of my voice is Welsh, but because I've been influenced by American music, especially black singers, my voice sounds the way it does."

Although always serious when talking about singing, Tom, whose last album was made with boogie woogie king Jools Holland, is also known for his Welsh sense of humour.

When asked what makes him laugh he gave a surprising answer.

"Goldie Lookin' Chain epitomise that whole ****-you attitude you get in South Wales," he said.

He said of the Newport hip-hop collective, "I put their Greatest Hits CD on and I haven't laughed so much in years - all that Welsh humour comes flooding back."

Despite his reputation as a ladies' man, Tom admits that when it comes to singing his tastes are very traditional.

And he's vowed never to record a "street" song if it included expletives and was detrimental to women.


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