Bobby Bruce Bio
Bobby Bruce grew up on stage; appearing in film and television as a child, in musical theatre and rock revues in his youth, he has invested more than a quarter of a century honing his triple-threat set of entertainment skills. For over fifteen years Bobby has been astounding appreciative audiences around the globe with his dynamic and passionate musical tribute to Neil Diamond.
On his first national tour of Australia, the press dubbed him “Nearly Neil” and the name stuck. His travels stretch from Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo to the Cayman Islands; aboard luxury liners at sea, on national tours stretching tens of thousands of miles, to audiences as large as 30,000 - Bobby continues to impress.
“Neil Diamond had better be wary he ever comes to town. Bobby Bruce is a hard act to follow. The Canadian impersonator not only mimics the great Neil Diamond to a tee but also implants some of his own pizzazz and style, a combination so clever and disarming that it brought the house down.”
Samela Harris, Adelaide Advertiser, Australia 1996
In 2000, Bobby launched another project – the outrageous “Shagadelic Swingers” a musical spectacular celebrating the Austin Powers movies. Starring as Austin, the Shagadelic Swingers performed for New Line Cinema official movie events, the “Yeah Baby Awards” at the Toronto SkyDome - as the half time entertainment during a Toronto Argos game and a military tour of NATO, Canadian and International bases in Bosnia.
Featured in MOCKSTARS, a million dollar feature length documentary about Canadian tribute artists released on television in 2002, Bobby’s star continued to climb. The following year saw his first national tour of New Zealand with Nearly Neil and the Solitary Band.
“Nearly Neil is legendary on the west coast.”
Allison Cunningham-McMillan, TV Times, 2002
Returning from New Zealand, capitalizing on the highly skilled new Solitary Band members; they formed Canadian-A, an All-Canadian content show, as well as the Bobby Bruce Band focusing on dance, hits all the while beginning a new residence at the River Rock Casino in Vancouver made for an exciting 2004.
“Bobby Bruce, music impersonator and razzle-dazzle entertainer par excellence."
John P McLaughlin, The Province, April 7, 2005
“Bobby Bruce is a dynamo as the ultra-sleezy Emcee."
(Review of "Cabaret") Jerry Wasserman, The Province, November 11, 2005
Bobby made a triumphant return to musical theatre in 2005 as the Emcee in “Cabaret” to considerable critical acclaim. In 2006, Bobby was very pleased to receive the “Entertainer of the Year Award” from the Pacific National Exhibition.
Returning to Australia in 2008, Bobby’s Nearly Neil crusade in Australia continues today.
Bobby and the Solitary Band were busy in 2009 and 2010 with 50 shows throughout 22 states in America for Live On Stage.
“Bobby Bruce uncannily duplicates the voice. He captures the very essence of his subject, and most of all, he replicates the contagious and infectious charisma that occurred between Diamond and his audiences.”
Danny Gaisin, Halton Arts Review, February 2010
Nearly Neil and The Solitary Band were thrilled to launch their first tour to Europe - touring Belgium and Holland in 2011.
"Neil Diamond in his best years. Maybe even better.”
Alice Plekkenpol, De Twentsche Tubantia, the Netherlands, Oct 2011
“Here is a star, a true showman. Of course, there's that voice. That throaty, husky, whispering purr; it's uncanny. He has the swagger, the laidback charisma, the sheer essence of Diamond.”
Helen Barry Australian Stage Online, July 2012
Returning to tour Tasmania and New South Wales with the DownUnder Band in 2012 for their sixth national tour of Australia in 4 years.
Two more annual tours of the Netherlands and Belgium in 2012 and 2013 with the Solitary Band kept Bobby busy. In the same years, Bobby's national tours were recognized with back to back nominations for Australian Club Entertainment Awards in the International Touring Artist category.
2014 proved to be a big year "Down Under" for Bobby with 4 months of countrywide touring across Australia with his newly expanded Beautiful Noise Tour adding a string section to the full rock band. That tour was so successful that it returned to Australia in September 2015 for another two months.
After a brief respite at home on Gambier Island, BC, Bobby returned to the Southern Hemisphere to headline his own one-night concert backed by a 10-piece band at SKYCITY Auckland at the beginning of December. Nearly Neil and The Solitary Band rang in 2016 at Casino Regina to a sold-out house.
Bobby Bruce enjoyed making his debut appearance at the 22nd Annual Reel Tribute Convention in Las Vegas in February 2016.
Bobby’s tender retelling of Diamond’s classics with Grand Piano and String Quartet debuted in the late summer of 2016.
Embarking on his 15th Australian tour in 2017 Bobby included a guest appearance on the six-star Silver Whisper. Closing out the season with returns to hometown favourites the Pacific National Exhibition and Harmony Arts Festival with The Solitary Band.
"Bobby Bruce continues to stretch the meaning of tribute band.”
Tom Harrison, Vancouver Sun, August 2, 2016
Bobby Bruce and Andrea Bocelli
In 2019, Bobby headlined the American Superstars Tour of Australia.
Returning to Canada, Bobby had a great time as the featured entertainer for the 70's Theme Night at the Vancouver Canucks game leading to repeat appearances including his last public appearance pre-pandemic March 10, 2020 at Rogers Arena.
While Bobby was on tour in Australia in January of 2018, Neil Diamond announced his retirement from live touring.
Instantly Bobby's audiences tripled seeing 16 shows in 15 days through Queensland and New South Wales.
The summer of 2018, Bobby and his wife Leanne, returned to Holland for two exclusive engagements for mega-fans before flying to Italy for a bespoke concert in the Tuscan hills of Lajatico, the hometown of legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli.
Bobby and the Solitary Band were thrilled to celebrate New Yea's Eve 2019 at Vancouver's Canada Place.
Over twenty-five years into his Nearly Neil journey, Bruce, now 52, lives with his wife, Leanne, off the coast of Vancouver, BC on Gambier Island in the Howe Sound.
When European and Australian tours were suddenly out of the question in early 2020, they adapted to life off-the-road by starting a volunteer essential goods delivery service to ensure food security to their community during the lockdown.
They were both awarded Gambier Island Citizen of the Year for their efforts and most recently the BC Medal of Good Citizenship.