WHITEHOUSE, Westmoreland — “Holy buckets, the playmakers tonight were awesome! Marton has some serious pipes.”
That is what one guest said about Marton Thorbourne, guest activities agent (playmaker) in the entertainment department at Sandals South Coast.
If guest feedback platforms like Trip Advisor and the Sandals Blaze Loop are anything to go by, then one could argue that Thorbourne is in fact one of the leading playmakers at the luxury-included, world-renowned resort.
The outgoing Westmoreland native has a knack for winning the hearts of guests, making him one of the most popular faces and names in the entertainment department. However, aside from his vivacious personality, his melodious baritone leaves his audience in awe every time. His creative and contemporary riffs coupled with his soothing, yet thunderous vocal runs, linger in the collective mind of his audience long after he smiles, waves, says “Thank you” and exits the stage.
Before he became the king of the stage, Thorbourne worked in the sanitation department as a steward – washing pots and pans and keeping critical areas pristine. His talent, however, like a city set on a hill, couldn't be hidden. As he tells it, his gift made room for him one afternoon as he attended to his duties.
“I was busy washing bins and singing the hit I will always love you. I was really into it and hitting those notes, completely clueless that someone was behind me. I was in my own world, singing and doing my job but when I turned around I saw a team member standing there with his mouth wide open. He was dumbfounded upon hearing me sing,” he recalled.
The team member who stood there happened to be entertainment supervisor Leon Simpson, who lost no time in inviting Thorbourne to the office for an audition. Elated at the opportunity, as performing and becoming an entertainer was indeed one of his childhood dreams, he jumped at the chance.
“I've always wanted to sing professionally but I had no idea how to get into it. My life just seemed to be going into different directions all the time. When I applied to work at Sandals the only thing that was available was a stewarding role and I decided to go for it because, though I wanted to sing, I was willing to take any job. Luckily for me, it landed me just where I truly desired to be,” Thorbourne expressed.
Quickly securing his manager's approval, Thorbourne went for his audition and was surprised to find not only Simpson but also the entertainment manager, the assistant entertainment manager and an entertainment manager in training. With knees buckling and hands shaking with fear, Thorbourne knew this was his opportunity of a lifetime and he did not want to fail.
“I did my best to hide the fact that I was nervous. I took a deep breath and when I belted the first note everyone was in a frenzy,” he recalled proudly. “They were all blown away by my singing and they told me the job was mine if I wanted it,” added Thorbourne, who said yes to the offer.
Since his audition in March 2020, Thorbourne has been performing in front of an international audience at least five days each week.
The Sandals South Coast singer is making some significant strides in his career but his journey has been marked by significant struggles as well. Over the years, he struggled with finding a sense of belonging, not just in the workplace but life in general.
“I am from a very loving Christian family but outside the comfort of that unit, I've never really found a place where I fit in. I went to four different high schools, all because I never felt comfortable. I didn't feel as though I belonged in those spaces,” he recalled ruefully.
Sadly, this instability followed Thorbourne into adulthood as he had difficulty finding a job that allowed him to display the creativity that he oozed so effortlessly.
“I worked as a chef at a resort and it was just not working for me. I left and went to work in a call centre and that too was short-lived. I later went to work with a friend of mine but again that didn't last too long,” shared Thorbourne.
“So with no job prospects, when I heard Sandals South Coast was recruiting I gave it a shot, interviewed, and landed the role in stewarding and now I have been given the opportunity to cross over to entertainment. This feels like home. I am glad to know that I have finally found another comfortable family unit outside of my biological family. Sandals is the best thing that has happened to me so far,” he added.
And while Thorbourne expressed that he is lucky to have ended up in Sandals, his manager, Gareth Bailey,shared that the hotel was equally lucky to have hired him.
“I am so happy that Leon ran into him that fateful day. Marton is just a breath of fresh air. He adds so much life and value to the entertainment product here at Sandals South Coast. The guests love him and the team members respect him. He is just a superstar and he can't help but shine,” Bailey expressed.
Thorbourne, who first sang in front of an audience at age six when he performed at church, shared that singing at Sandals is helping to boost his confidence and his people skills.
“Working here and interacting with persons from various countries and cultures have helped to mould my understanding of people and the way I interact with them. I am looking forward to how much more I will grow in a few years as I aspire to become an entertainment manager with Sandals in the future,” he shared.
“I see my manager, Mr Bailey, as a source of inspiration and he has been a great mentor to me so far. There are so many others within the Sandals group that I respect and admire,” added Thorbourne.
Thorbourne joined nine other playmakers at the resort who recently completed a course in event logistics and supervision, courtesy of HEART/NSTA Trust and the Sandals Corporate University.