Making music to assist cancer care

Steve has lived on the Costa del Sol since 2001.
Steve has lived on the Costa del Sol since 2001. / TONY BRYANT
  • Steve Hughes - Musician and composer

The Costa del Sol is home to numerous expat musicians, singers and composers, some of whom have been at the forefront of the British music scene, and others who have spent their lives on the boundaries of it.

Some of these people have retired to a quiet life on the coast, while others have dedicated their time and experience as performers to raise funds for, and awareness of, certain worthwhile causes.

Steve Hughes, a Calahonda-based expat singer-songwriter, has rubbed shoulders with numerous iconic artistes of the 1960s and 70s, yet he is bettwe known as an artist who has dedicated most of his adult life to helping others with his music.

Born in a small village in Northamptonshire in 1949, Steve grew up in Milton Keynes. He became a mod in 1965 and grew obsessed with the new craze of music and fashion that was emerging in Britain.

Steve was just 13 when his parents bought him his first guitar and he soon formed a group at a youth club in Milton Keynes. His band began gigging in cinemas and dance halls, and their break came while playing at the Palace Ballroom in Wolverton, where they were spotted by a music manager.

With his help, the band went on to support many Tamla Motown artists who were gigging in Britain at the time, including Edwin Starr, The Stylistics and The Foundations.

The group disbanded after several members got married, Steve included, and so his musical career was put on hold for a while.

It was a career change some years later that rekindled Steve's passion for live performance. In 1992 he became the oldest Red Coat in the UK, after gaining employment at the Butlins Holiday Camp in Minehead.

“I was a lot older than all the others who were applying, but I was given the job because the manager thought I had the perfect personality and character. It was an absolutely incredible time,” Steve says, smiling as he remembers the period.

During his time at Butlins, Steve was reunited with some of the musicians he had been associated with during the 60s, as several of them were then doing the holiday club circuit.

The year before moving to Spain, Steve recorded a single called No Good Blues for the Macmillan nurses in the UK, and this was to initiate his passion for raising funds for cancer research.

“Macmillan did a wonderful job with my father before he died of cancer, and I decided to try to do something in return. The song did quite well and we raised around 3,000 pounds,” Steve says.

Steve and his wife, Sandie, came to the Costa del Sol in 2001, after falling in love with the area during several holidays, and it wasn't long before he began performing at the clubs and music bars along the coast.

“My music has always been important and I think I have achieved my goals, although it has been my wife, Sandie, who has been a driving force and long suffering inspiration. I owe such a lot to her,” Steve points out.

One of the venues that Steve began to perform in regularly was the Millenium bar in Calahonda, and it was at this time he began his association with Cudeca. It was also the period that he started using the stage name One Wish Steve, the name that most people know him by today.

Steve has enjoyed a long and lasting association with Cudeca and he is currently preparing this year's fundraising event at the Millenium Bar, which takes place on 31 March.

The 68-year-old musician, who still wears his hair styled in the classic mod fashion, has recently become involved with a project that will take him back to his roots. He has teamed up with Steve Seviour, another well-known local musician, and they have recently written and recorded a track which has been submitted for a forthcoming film.

The song is called Brighton and is based on Steve's experiences on the British mod scene of the 1960s. The film is a follow up to the 1980s blockbuster mods and rockers movie, Quadrophenia.

“It's not a sequel, but a follow up to what happened to the characters of the original film. We will have to see what happens, because the film isn't finished yet,” Steve says with a hint of optimism.