Prior to securing his major recording contract, Stigers had spent his early years working as a musician in the small town of Boise, Idaho, where he grew up.

The American singer-songwriter and saxophonist toured the world on Concorde, performed on major TV shows and iconic venues, and rubbed shoulders with some of his musical heroes.

Then Stigers turned his fans and his career around by releasing a jazz album as he forged a new path in music.

Record label legend Clive Davis, who had signed major stars such as Bruce Springsteen and Whitney Houston, hailed Stigers as the “next big thing”.

In an interview with Shuffle as he prepares to tour Ireland, Curtis said: “I loved meeting Elton John, I loved playing with Bonnie Raitt, I loved flying Concorde and doing TV shows. It was really fun, but I always, deep down, knew that I didn’t fit 100 percent into this world.

“This world did not really suit me. The music always came first and the other stuff… show business, silly… I mean, it was fun, but I realized that I wanted to make the music that I wanted to make and not the music that the guys who wore suits wanted me to do. So I blew up my pop career.

Prior to securing his major recording contract, Stigers had spent his early years working as a musician in the small town of Boise, Idaho, where he grew up.

“When I was about 19 or 20, I realized I had to get out of Boise and go somewhere where I could play with other musicians, so I could grow up and understand what this show business stuff was all about. and how to get into the recording industry. .

“At the age of 21, in 1987, I packed a bag of clothes, took my saxophone and took a buddy across the country in a little Honda Civic. It took us four days to get to New York. Then he dropped me off and I found a place to stay for a little while. It was a dream and I fell in love with New York.

“By the time I arrived in New York, I had been playing for a living for six years. It had taken me hours to acquire the knowledge and the technique.

It was during a Saturday night residency at a restaurant that word spread through the music industry about this exciting new kid on the block.

He says, “I used to take the subway to work in New York and survive on pizza and a bullet granola every day and just earn my rent every month playing clubs.

“Suddenly record company executives started showing up at this restaurant I was playing at on Sunday nights and by the time I signed my recording contract, seven or eight record companies were bidding for me.”

Although he enjoyed hits with songs that also included You’re All That Matters To Me, Stigers says he has no regrets walking away from pop stardom.

“I don’t get paid as much as some because I’ve made certain choices in my life as a musician to follow my heart,” admits Curtis. “I’ve managed to make a living, do well and pay my bills, but I’m not the superstar Clive Davis maybe thought I would be.

“When I hit rock bottom a few times because of those choices, it was kind of scary, but I always knew that no matter what, I have music to play and almost always that music. at least allow me to earn enough money to pay the bills.

Stigers successes will always open doors and draw a crowd. “So true,” he said. “I can play in many places around the world and get paid for it through I Wonder Why. I love this song, it’s part of me…and luckily I wrote it.

Curtis Stigers will face Dublin, Belfast, Navan and Galway next month. For tickets go to ticketmaster.ie