*After 15 years performing as Robbie Williams, Paul Reason from Hinckley in Leicestershire has been recognised as the top tribute to the former Take That singer in the UK. He's currently on tour as Robbie but managed to take some time out to tell us his story of being Robbie... *
The Robbie thing came about in early 1999.
I was in a band and was looking for where we could go. It was around the time tributesh ad started becoming sought after.
After winning "Stars in Their Eyes" in 1995 as Billy Joel I'd already had a crack at being someone. That same year, the whole world that wasn't watching the Blur v Oasis was preoccupied with someone called Robbie Williams leaving Take That.
I was a "proper muso" and no way a boy band fan I thought who is Robbie Williams? More and more pictures started appearing in the press of him and it was then that people started saying I looked like him.
In 1997, I'd convinced the band to cover "Angels" but then in 1998, I started to take it more seriously and decided maybe I could put my guitar down, get a crew cut and bounce round the stage?
By 2000, all I was doing was Robbie gigs. Some with the band and some on my own. I knew I had a gift for being Robbie as I for some reason just seamed to have expressions and body language that were very like his.
After 10 years of doing Robbie and having to keep looking like someone for that period gets to you. But then after "Rudebox" he just went off the radar. I had to completely change my act to stay being a full time musician - cue Michael Buble.
Now, Robbie's 40 and I've just married Katy Perry (and Katherine Jenkins)! Not the real ones, but my wife is also a tribute artist. Would you believe Tom Jones and Tina Turner were at the wedding?
It's been a long and fun journey being Robbie from my first Red Bull filled gig as him back in May 1999 to winning the first Official Tribute Award as him in 2013 to the ship where I am working now.
I guess Robbie will be celebrating with his wife and new baby and I'll be somewhere between Sweden and Latvia singing his greatest hits with a great production with 6 dancers.Working over here you get an idea for just how big he is round the world. Not bad for lad from Stoke who got a job as a backup dancer and singer in a boy band.
I've probably done more gigs as Robbie than Robbie has ... Strange but true !
Though I've never met Robbie, I was lucky enough to get a message from him a few weeks ago saying he had heard of me from lots of fans over the years and he checked out my website. He thanked me for doing a great job which was very humble and touching.
Happy birthday Robbie from Faux Robbie!