Frank Sinatra is widely regarded as one of the greatest interpreters of what has become known as the great American songbook. Sinatra had the voice, he had the timing, the phrasing, the pizzazz, and the ability to inhabit a song so it felt like he was singing directly to the listener. If a song needed to swing, Sinatra could make it swing.
If a song needed to soar, Frank could make it soar. Frank Sinatra cast a long shadow, so it’s not surprising that he continues to influence singers. Our 1st video is a sequence of Frank Sinatra-infused auditions from The Voice, ‘Got Talent, and X Factor shows around the world. The first act is Bob Bullee, who we are profiling in this article
That’s quite an array of Frank Sinatra interpretations. Few will disagree with the proposition that Bob Bullee is one of the best of the pack. Just look how quickly The Voice Senior (Netherlands) judges turned their chairs around! Bullee’s glasses are not an affection. At the age of 25, Bullee became blind over night due to a hereditary eye condition. At the time he was a baker, but since he could no longer work in a professional kitchen with hot ovens, he needed to find a new path.
Bullee had his voice tested by a professional voice coach. The coach sent him to train in classical music. Bullee proudly says that he sang his first aria 3 months after he started classes. Even so the blindness limits his classical music opportunities. He gives the example of German opera: “With that, you also have to act & thus move freely on stage.” In order to earn a living – “you can’t earn a dry bread with classical music” – Bullee expanded his repertoire to include the American songbook
That was a commanding reading of Neil Diamond’s Dry Your Eyes from Holland’s Got Talent 2016. He appeared on The Voice Senior, Netherlands (where he sang Monday Morning Quarter Back for the audition) in 2018.
Holland’s Got Talent was not Bullee’s first talent show. As a blind singer seeking to earn a living singing classical music and the American songbook, he figured that appearing on television talent shows was a good way to nurture an audience. He tried his hand on Soundmixshow, Una Voce Particolare (a Dutch show on which contestants sing arias), and the German show Das Supertalent.
It was on Holland’s Got Talent that Bob Bullee had his first breakthrough. After Bullee’s audition round performance, judge Chantal Janzen wiped tears from her eyes. The video of Dry Your Eyes is from the semi-final. Impressively, Bob Bullee ended up finishing in third place on Holland’s Got Talent 2016. He was not as successful on The Voice Senior.
Despite the sudden onset of his blindness, Bullee is an optimist. “I’m not going to cry in a corner,” he says. “If a vase falls breaks, you have to sweep the shards and glue everything together as best as you can.”
I can find no information about Bob Bullee’s activities after The Voice Senior. Let’s hope that he is alive and well (he would now be 68), and earning more than dry bread from his inspiring singing. If you would like to see more from Bob Bullee, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel or follow him on Facebook.