Billy Page has been known to take his music to new heights — literally.
Back in October 2005, the acoustic-based singer-songwriter from the UK was among 14 musicians who performed 5,400 meters above sea level on Mt. Everest to an audience of about 100 mountaineers.
An Australian singer came up with the idea of doing the world’s highest gig to raise money for the Nepal Balbalika Trust, a charity that helps impoverished children in Nepal, says Page, who plays the FCC Phnom Penh on Feb. 18.
“Everest was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’d been out to Nepal to play at schools and orphanages and became involved in a charity raising money for impoverished children there and saw how bad things were for these kids,” he says about the gig that raised about US$47,000 for the charity.
“It was one of the most euphoric experiences of my life. On the last leg we all got up at 4 a.m. in the morning to reach the summit. I went to grab my water bottle — it was a frozen block of ice. So, yes it was cold! However, when we did the gig at 8:30 in the morning, the sun came out and it was fantastic to see over 100 people come to watch us do the gig.”
Page, whose songs tend to cover love, travel and tragedy, counts Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Smiths, REM and Radiohead among his main influences. Born and raised in London, England, Page got involved in the theater and worked at the BBC doing recordings. It was in his late teens when he got involved in a rock band in Germany.
“It really started when I went to Germany with my guitar at the age of 18 and got involved with an American theater company, acting, singing and dancing. I started doing gigs there at that time and also sang with a rock band out there,” he recalls. “I have always had a love of music from a young age and started writing tunes from when I first picked up a guitar.”
Since then, Page has managed to develop a strong following while producing five CDs in the process: Only in Love, Mexico, Wanna Fly, I Won’t be Lost, and Not in My World.
He’s spent the past seven years touring Asia, taking the stage in China, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, where he previously performed at The FCC.
“I love Cambodia — I keep coming back. The people here are warm-hearted and friendly and I’ve had great gigs here.”
Billy Page will play the FCC in Phnom Penh on Feb. 18. The show begins at 8:30 p.m. No cover.