New stars needed, says Jane

Jul 2017 New stars needed, says Jane

It is almost 20 years since 54-year-old Jane McDonald made a splash with the BBC TV docu-soap The Cruise.

This month, she returned to the town that brought her to the public’s attention with a show called Making Memories.

Since cruising out of Southampton waters in the 1990s, Jane McDonald has built a career of live shows and album successes. She co-presented on the TV show ‘Loose Women’ for 10 years, and her recent reality show ‘Sugar Free Farm’ showed her lost weight to find a renewed vitality in her 50s.

Making Memories has Jane performing self-penned songs such as The Hand That Leads Me to medleys of Cilla’s hits, a nod to her role as Grizabella in Cats, disco hits from Boogie Wonderland to Let’s Groove, and her signature hit Dizzy. Her tour has been so successful it has been extended by 14 dates and Jane appears at The Mayflower, Southampton, on Sunday, July 16.

“I’ve always been able to sing, since I was a child. I love everything about singing; seriously it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s just magical being able to create a feeling in the Theatre plus it’s also good for the soul; everyone should try it!

“Back in the day, when I was regularly performing on the cruises, the ship would periodically dock in Southampton. I’m very much looking forward to returning to The Mayflower on July 16, as the audience is always so welcoming.

“In 1998, I had no idea the ‘docusoap’ I appeared in would be so pioneering, as this was before the days of Facebook and Twitter. I can’t lie, a life without music and singing would be unbearable, as the joy I get from singing is something quite unique to me. Saying that, having a TV career goes hand-in-hand with my singing, so I can’t really do one without the other.

“It has become a bit weird: you switch on the TV and it’s all reality people, but they don’t seem to last very long, and that is such a shame. We need to make stars again, don’t you think? I know everything has to change and everything goes in cycles, but it would be brilliant to get a Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones back. It’s a genre that has sadly gone. While I wouldn’t put myself in that bracket at all – I’m probably the first ‘reality’ person,

“I think that’s why people are quite shocked when they come and see the show we’ve got, because it’s me on a stage, with a band, having a blast, and doing it for real. I think there’s not many of us out there doing that.

“I absolutely love being on the road with my band and crew. Touring is hard work, but when you surround yourself with people who you like (and who like you) it’s a blast. The tour bus is our sanctuary. After a show, we are all buzzing with adrenaline but by the time we get finished, everything’s closed, so having the tour bus gives us the opportunity to wind down and have a sleep, which is bliss.

“My advice to young performers today is gain experience wherever you can and always have a back-up plan. I’m not denying it’s not hard work but determination and drive will see you through. I thank my blessings every day that I’m able to live the life that I do.

“I don’t know what it is, and if I did, I’d bottle it and sell it. I think people can tell when you’re honest and genuine, and I think people also know when you’re grateful – that’s the word that describes me. For having that chance all those years ago, on a cruise ship, to being where I am today; I’ll never ever take that for granted.

“So you have to be grateful, and enjoy it. You have to create that atmosphere, when you’re on that stage it’s up to you to put a feeling out in that theatre for people to have a flipping good night. They’ve paid good money to come and see a show, so you have to make them feel different when they walk out of the door – and that’s my job.

“Even I’m surprised at the reaction we’re getting – and the band. I’ve surrounded myself with like-minded people and the buzz spreads right across. They get my show, they get my music, and they want to be on that stage with me. It’s fabulous.
“I believe you make your own luck, and of course, there are setbacks in life, but it’s how you get back up from them that really counts. Trust me, I’ve had a lot of luck! But it depends what you do with it.
“Things happen to you every day and it’s up to you whether you recognise what’s happening. Things are put in our paths all the time that we ignore, whereas I tend to think: ‘That’s brilliant! Look at what we could do with that’.”

Tour 2017
Saturday 15th July – The Playhouse – Weston-super-Mare SOLD
Sunday 16th July – The Mayflower – Southampton 02380 711811)
Saturday 19th August The Spa – Bridlington 01262 678258)
Sunday 20th August The Grand Theatre – Leeds 0844 848 2700)
Saturday 26th August Cliffs Pavilion – Southend-on-sea 01702 351135)
Sunday 27th August The Marina Theatre – Lowestoft 01502 533200)
Monday 28th August The Embassy – Skegness 01507 613100)
Friday 1st September – Venue Cymru – Llandudno 01492 872000)
Saturday 2nd September – Theatre & Convention Centre – Southport (Box office 0844 871 3021)
Warner Leisure Hotels – performance dates
Saturday 29th July – Sinah Warren Hotel – Hayling Island
Saturday 28th October Alvaston Hall – Cheshire