Bellini Room 'bromance'

Veteran singers Rob Collins, Stephen Francis reunite

Veteran singers Rob Collins and Stephen Francis will be back for a one-night only Bellini Room Reunion concert at Shanghai Dolly.

It is to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the original Bellini Room at St James Power Station.

Collins, 42, from Britain, and Francis, 52, from Singapore, will also be celebrating a decade of working together since their Bellini Room days, belting out songs from genres such as jazz, soul and rock and roll.

The duo sat down with The New Paper last Wednesday at the Shanghai Dolly.

They clearly could not contain their excitement about the upcoming reunion.

Collins told TNP: "We're very excited, and to put all of this together feels amazing, especially in Shanghai Dolly as it used to be the Bellini Grande.

"We were based here for two years and we did so much.

I initiated the idea of a reunion with Stephen last year and we have been working on this since October.

"We started early to make sure we could get this venue.

"We could get other venues, but I remember telling Stephen that the most important thing is to bring the feel back, so this is completely fitting."

Along with an eight-piece band, the reunion will include Philippine singers Alia, Beverly Morata and Emelda, and special guest Gino, who will be singing and doing a comedy segment.

There will also be four dancers and a special item choreographed by Andy Benjamin Cai.

Francis said: "It wasn't difficult to get everyone back together as everyone is very close and have worked together many times.

"This reunion is of course downsized as most of the cast are overseas.

I think we miss the size of the bands because we don't have a big band anymore, and there's nowhere you can find a big band playing nightly.

"You can hardly find the things we used to do."


When asked about how it was like working together for so many years, Collins said they have forged a "bromance".

"We communicate with each other so well and know each other's vibe.

"When you've worked together with someone for so long, you kind of know what the other person is thinking and we're used to each other.

"There is this sense of familiarity that makes everything work so well."

The pair met in 2007, and Collins was supposed to work with Francis for three months, but he enjoyed working together so much that he stayed on..

He said: "If you work with people you enjoy working with, to me that's the luckiest job on earth.

"To do that in life, it's enough to keep anyone anywhere."

Even after Bellini Room's closure in 2012, Collins and Francis continued to work together for events.

The pair also has a strong loyal following all these years, who Collins said will be attending the reunion as well.

"Certain customers have been telling us they want specific songs, and we think it's amazing that they still have favourites.

And it's a privilege to perform them.

"(Back then) the St James customers came around three to four times a week to watch us perform, and we became friends.

"We still keep in contact with them, going out for drinks and inviting them to our performances," said Francis.

Collins added: "When you see the smile on their faces when you perform their favourite songs, you know that they enjoyed it.

"We made the effort to speak to our customers even after many sets so it's not just about singing and music anymore, but more of socialising and building that rapport with them.

"That's how you know what they like and expect.

"This reunion is meant for the old fans, bringing back all the fan favourites."


WHEN: Saturday, Feb 11, 2017

WHERE: Shanghai Dolly

TIME: 7PM to 11PM

PRICE: $30, includes one free drink upon entry

This article was first published on February 01, 2017.
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