Barbara Dickson on her love of Norfolk as tour comes to county

Barbara Dickson

Barbara Dickson - Credit: Archant

Scottish singer Barbara Dickson OBE chats to Louisa Baldwin about her new full band tour and love of the Norfolk coast.

Barbara Dickson Credit: Brian Aris

Barbara Dickson Credit: Brian Aris - Credit: Archant

Barbara has been a household name for the last 40 years and at 71 shows no sign of stopping as she prepares to embark on a UK tour in 2019 including dates in Norwich and Hunstanton.

As well as 15 albums in the UK charts and four top twenty singles, she is also a two time Olivier-Award winning actress for her roles in Spend Spend Spend and the original Mrs Johnston in Willy Russell's Blood Brothers.

Ahead of her tour coming to Norfolk, we chatted to her about her glittering career and how she has stayed at the top of her game.

What can people expect on the new full band tour?

I play acoustic guitar and keyboard alongside my band and on stage it is pretty hard work as there is no support act. It's lovely as we don't play together all the time so it's a wonderful reunion every couple of years when we come together. We have been doing shows together every two years for the last fifteen years and we learn new songs apart from a few old ones that people expect to here.

There will be a lot of thoughtful songs, which is how I like to describe them. I come from a folk background so storytelling is important to me. I don't sing 'I Know Him So Well' from Chess as it's a duet and I don't take ownership of it like I do 'Another Suitcase Another Hall' and 'January February' which are my hits.

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Have you been to Norfolk before?

It's years since I've played in the Theatre Royal but I love Norwich because of the Cathedral and historic stuff. Last time was here I saw a sign on the wall about Will Kemp who Morris-danced all the way to London from the Norwich Maddermarket.

I love the Norfolk coast and have a good friend who lives near Wells-next-the-Sea and I love that bit of coast. I used to live in Lincoln so visited more regularly but I'm hoping I'll be able to explore when I'm in Hunstanton and Norwich is also the last concert of the 28-date tour so I'll be full of beans then.

What is your favourite song to play?

I like playing all the new ones but Caravans is one of my old ones that the audience loves – I still love revealing it to them.

Why do you think your career has lasted so long?

I can sing and play and I don't rely on productions and dance routines. I also don't rely on my looks any everything has been done by the sweat of my brow. I play instruments and can talk to the audience to link the songs together and the audience like that. I came out of folk clubs where I learnt how to do it.

How did you first get into the music industry?

Willy Russell ran a folk club in Liverpool and wrote a show about The [John, Paul, George, Ringo … and Bert] and asked me to come and play piano and sing in the mid 70s. I then did Blood Brothers as the original Mrs Johnston.

I have had lots of hits over my concert and recording career and I'm very lucky to have two Olivier awards too.

How did it feel to be made an OBE in 2002?

I think it's lovely and it was the icing on the cake nice to be awarded by the Queen. It was her Jubilee year and I thought she wouldn't do it but she did and it was absolutely brilliant. I admire her and she talks to everyone and is an inspiration to anyone that's older.

She told me how worthy I was and made me relax – thank God I wasn't knighted as I probably would have fallen over I was so nervous.

Will this be your final tour?

If I'm rubbish I'll stop but if I'm as good as I am at the moment it's fine.

It's nothing to do with age and I will keep going until I sound bad to myself.

Barbara Dickson performs at Princess Theatre, Hunstanton, on February 24 and Norwich Theatre Royal on March 10.

You can book tickets to the tour here.