Barbara: A life in music ...

Barbara Dickson plays Rothes Halls, Glenrothes
Barbara Dickson plays Rothes Halls, Glenrothes

Having enjoyed a successful career in music and acting for many years now, Fife audiences will have the chance to spend an evening with our own Barbara Dickson later this month.

The multi-million selling recording artist and Olivier Award winning actress is at Rothes Halls in Glenrothes on Saturday, February 21.

And while taking time out to speak to The Press this week, she said she’s looking forward to the concert.

“It’s lovely to come and play in Fife,” she said. “I spend a lot of time in Fife.

“When I’m in Edinburgh I’ll come over to Fife as I have still got a lot of relatives and friends there.

“I haven’t played in Glenrothes since I came at the end of 2013 and before that I hadn’t been for a long long time.

“It’s a lovely hall and I’m really pleased to be playing there again.

“People will ask me, why do you not come to Inverness? And I have to say I don’t choose the venues, it’s because I’m not invited.”

Barbara, who hails from Dunfermline, emerged from the Scottish folk revival of the 1960s and spent time playing the folk circuit building a reputation and working with the likes of Gerry Rafferty, Rab Noakes and Archie Fisher.

Her career took a turn in the early 1970s when she was offered the role of the musician/singer in Willy Russell’s 1974 Beatles musical, ‘John, Paul, George, Ringo...and Bert’ which went from performances in Liverpool to the West End in London.

Barbara released her first hit single ‘Answer Me’ in 1976 having been signed to RSO Records following her success in the theatre show.

She went on to enjoy many years of chart success as a pop star in the 1970s and 1980s.

Among the hits were ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’ from the musical ‘Evita’; ‘Caravans’, ‘January, February’ and ‘I Know Him So Well’.

Barbara returned to the theatre in 1983 with her debut as a stage actress in Willy Russell’s new musical ‘Blood Brothers’.

The show transferred from Liverpool to London and in the process earned her the ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ award from the Society of West End Theatres.

In the early 1990s Barbara began to move away from pop and back towards her roots in folk and acoustic music.

She also began to take on more acting roles both on television and on stage.

She won her second Olivier award for her role as Viv Nicholson in the musical ‘Spend, Spend, Spend’ in 2000.

Since then she’s continued to record several albums.

Her most recent, ‘Winter’ was released towards the end of last year.

And it’s this album that her current UK tour is in support of.

So how’s the tour going so far?

“We have just started,” Barbara explained. “We started on Sunday (February 1) in Watford and I’m speaking to you from Colchester.

“We’re about to do our fifth night.

“The album is called ‘Winter’, it came out at the beginning of December.

“We’re playing the tracks that are not specific to Christmas.

“We don’t want to be singing about Christmas in January, it’s very nice to be doing something that has a seasonal feel.

“It’s going really well so far.

“We’ll be around half way through the tour by the time we get to Glenrothes.”

And after all these years, how is it to be on the road again playing to live audiences at venues around the country night after night?

She continued: “I love it very much. Working live to me is about telling whether what we do works or not.

“It’s a way we can tell whether people are enjoying it. I choose to do what I do because I want to do it and if that’s what people enjoy then that’s great confirmation of what we’re doing.”

With a career that’s spanned as many decades as hers has, there must have been some particular highlights for Barbara.

“There’s lots of things, but I always like to look forward rather than backwards,” she said. “Things like getting the Olivier for Blood Brothers and having hit albums, but a lot of that was a long time ago.

“I’m always moving forward and wonder what I can do that will interest me.

“I live very much in the present and don’t care for nostalgia that much.”

And following her UK tour, does the singer songwriter have things planned for the rest of 2015?

“I’m coming to do an event for Fife Society for the Blind on April 30,” she said.

“It’s an evening of conversation as a fundraiser for them. I’ll be coming to Crail in August too.

“After this I’m not going to be on tour for a couple of years, but I will be doing one offs and festivals and events.

“And I won’t be recording for a while.”