Guitar heroes usually wear leather and denim and sometimes even spandex – but then Toby Lee is not the typical rock star.
More than a million people have watched videos of him playing, blues legend Joe Bonamassa described him as a future superstar, and he is only 10-years-old.
Toby also loves to wear a onesie – made by The All-in-One Company (www.the-all-in-one-company.co.uk) and his choice of what to wear has become an integral part of his weekly video virtuoso performance.
“He had to have a rabbit outfit made for a school play and we couldn’t find anything suitable for him because most of the rabbit outfits were for girls, so we bought a sewing machine and my wife made a onesie for him. After the school play he wore it all the time,” said his dad Terry.
“After Christmas he was playing his guitar and wearing it and recorded himself on his tablet and that’s how the Onesie Jam began.”
Every Sunday since then, at his home in Bloxham in Oxfordshire, Toby has recorded a Onesie Jam and gained tens of thousands of fans on YouTube. He has appeared on Chris Evans’ radio show and guitar greats, including Bonamassa and Whitesnake’s Bernie Marsden, have been queueing up to sing his praises.
He has played on stage with award-winning blues guitarist Laurence Jones – a comparative veteran at the age of 23 – who is also producing Toby’s first record
But he needed outfits appropriate to wear for his rock and blues master classes, so the Lees contacted Kate Dawson of onesie pioneer The All-in-One-Company. Kate grew up in Oxford before moving to the North East.
“Like most people who see and hear Toby perform I couldn’t believe he was so young and so talented,” said Kate, whose company has been making bespoke onesies designed by customers from across the world since 2008.
“It’s a perfect combination: Toby’s so comfortable and relaxed in his onesie he can just concentrate on his music.”
Toby has also helped design onesies to match his mood and choice of music. The All-in-One-Company’s Toby Lee collection now consists of a Rock, Country, USA, Tigertastic, Sweat Shirt and even an Hawaiian onesie – made for a Sunday jam featuring Toby playing a Hawaiian guitar.
“Some of Toby’s more hard core blues and rock fans somehow didn’t seem to think that wearing a onesie was appropriate. I had to politely remind them that Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Marc Bolan all performed in a jump suit – which is virtually the same – and he is just 10 after all,” said Toby’s dad.
Next month, for a late birthday present, Toby is being taken to Graceland – the home of Elvis Presley, whose most famous stage outfits were all-in-one suits.
He then travels to Memphis, birthplace of the blues, where he will be performing at the legendary B.B. King’s Blues Club in Beale Street.
B.B. King, who died in May, is Toby’s guitar hero. In April he played a get well jam for him which received 5.7m views on Facebook.
“I’m sure it will be quite an emotional occasion,” said Terry Lee. “But I know we will all be so proud of him as well.”