Penicuik High pupil is the top soul boy

Nathan Masson with his National Championship trophy.
Nathan Masson with his National Championship trophy.

Penicuik teenager Nathan Masson took the northern soul world by storm last year when he beat off adult competition to win the national dancing championship in Prestatyn.

Nathan is now also a highly sought after DJ in the genre – a dance movement that emerged in northern England in the late 1960s from the British mod scene and based on the heavy beat and fast tempo of the mid-1960s Tamla Motown sound.

The 13-year-old Penicuik High School pupil inherited his love for this style of music from dad John Masson (55), who runs the Heads Two hairdressers and Electric Pencil tattoo parlour in the town.

His proud dad said: “Nathan is the youngest ever person to win the national championship. People from all over the world take part in it, it’s massive. This year he will be judging it, so he will now be the youngest ever judge.

“He was up against the best. People said to him ‘you won’t win, just enjoy it, if you don’t win it doesn’t matter’.

“Then he got down to the last six, then the last three up on the big stage.

“He was only 12 at the time but it didn’t faze him at all. When he is dancing he doesn’t look up, he just gets into it.

“I’m proud of him, big time.”

Following his success at Prestatyn last March, Nathan has become something of a star in the world of northern soul. He now has Brent Howarth as his agent, a big name in the scene who was heavily involved in the 2014 film Northern Soul.

John said: “Nathan is also now the youngest ever northern soul DJ in the world.

“It’s quite an achievement. He has been all over Britain and Europe. He is in demand and gets invited all over, everybody knows him.

“Not a lot of young people go to northern soul events so he stands out and is well known on the scene.

“When he goes to places now it’s like ‘here he comes’ and all eyes are on him.”

John admits that his teenage son is now even a better dancer than him.

“My sister is a good dancer as well so it’s in the family,” John said. “He got some of it from me but some of what he does I couldn’t do.

“He loves it, it’s part of his life, that and football. It’s just about every weekend up and down the country.

“He is DJing in Penicuik in February, which will be massive and we are all looking forward to that.”

Nathan is also in a music video by Alice Free, filmed in Glasgow before Christmas, which is out on February 17.

“It’s set back in the sixties andtook about five hours to do it,” said John. “He did every take, but I was knackered. It was amazing.”

Despite becoming a northern soul dancing champion at only 12, it appears that Nathan was a soul boy at heart even before he was born.

“He has only being doing the dancing for two years but when my wife Nicole was pregnant with him we would have northern soul CDs on and he would be kicking in her tummy,” John said.

“He was always asking to come dancing with us and we had to say no but then eventually we said yes.

“His first ever venue was in Bonnyrigg, at the masonic club, which was just a small night.

“He took to it right away and it just went on from there pretty quickly.

“When he was wee he liked Michael Jackson and I would take the mickey out of him.

“Then he went to a house party and wanted to dance.

“That’s where it started properly. He was only about ten at the time.

“But when he was seven he would try to do the actions and singing. He knows them all.”

It is very definitely a family affair and his younger brother is into the music too.

John admits that the family’s love for northern soul can be expensive, although Nathan’s success is helping ease the burden in some ways.

John said: “It always has to be original vinyl when it comes to northern soul DJing.

“The venues will only let you play original vinyl so it’s quite costly.

“But I see it as an investment as the records just go up in price.

“There is a big promoter, Carl Dickson, who sent Nathan two records that hadn’t been released yet, so that helped.

“I help out as much as I can. It’s a pile of money doing it.

“However, he gets sponsored so he gets all his clothes.”

To see Nathan in action get along to Penicuik Northern Soul Oldies at Penicuik Town Hall, February 25, 2pm-1am. Tickets £10 from Heads Two on Eastfield Drive, Penicuik.