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British singing legend, Elkie Brooks, talks to Frome Times

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HAILEDas one of the ‘great British voices’, singing sensation Elkie Brooks is celebrating 60 years in the business with a special anniversary tour that stops in Frome this Friday, 14thFebruary. 

 Taking to the stage at the Memorial Theatre, Elkie will be performing some of her biggest hits from across her career, including ‘Pearl’s A Singer’, ‘Lilac Wine’, ‘Fool (If You think It’s Over)’, ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud’, and ‘No More The Fool’. 

Ahead of her performance, Elkie took the time to talk to Frome Times about her 60th anniversary, life on tour, and the secret behind her stunning voice.

How does it feel to be celebrating 60 years as a professional singer?

“I’ve been in the business since I was 15 – and I reckon I’m singing better now than I was years ago, I think I’m finally getting it together!”

You’re on tour regularly – do you ever get a break?

“I do about 27-30 dates a year. I’ve not really had a break from it – I’ve always been recording and writing in between going on the road. I don’t tour like I used to over 30 years ago – I used to hate it then! Doing 30 shows back to back without a day off. I personally prefer to have at least 24 hours off after a show to rest my voice, which is why I’m batting on nearly 75 and I can still sing!”

What do you enjoy about touring?

“It’s not so much the touring, it’s more the music of the shows. I have a wonderful band who are happy to work the way I do, where they do two or three shows a month, and do other work in the interim. I have a great relationship with the band – it’s very friendly and there’s lots of camaraderie.”

You’ve sold out venues like the London Palladium – how does it compare performing in more intimate venues like the Memorial?

“It doesn’t bother me. I have a lovely piano that was given to me by my family on my 70th birthday – and I’d be quite happy sitting here in my living room playing! I love to sing, I don’t care if there are 20 people or thousands – if  I’m in good voice  and enjoying the music, then I really don’t care. That’s my attitude, and you’ve got to be like that if you are a musician and a halfway decent singer.”

Tell us more about the start of your career – it began with a  talent contest at the age of 15.

“It wasn’t exactly a talent contest. Don Arden, who was Sharon Osbourne’s father, was a promoter and a agent and he was just looking for talent to put on his books. There were all sorts of people who turned up at the Palace Theatre in Manchester in 1960 – not just singers, but dancers, jugglers, comedians. I was one of many, but Don thought I had something and put me on a show that night.”

Do you think you would enter a talent show like the ‘The X Factor’ or ‘The Voice’?

“My only answer to that is – in my career I have done loads of auditions, and I never went crazy if anyone didn’t like me, I always thought ‘oh well, next time’. I think you’ve got to have a certain amount of belief in yourself, and if they don’t see it, maybe somebody else will another time. 

“I personally wouldn’t want to go on one of those shows – the trouble is everybody thinks they can sing, we all have voices, but some of us pursue it more than others and have a natural ability at pitching. 

“Some of us, including some professional singers – I’ll mention no names – have dreadful pitching! But I had natural ability, I’ve worked at it, and worked on my pitching – I try to sing as a musician.”

You have more Top 75 UK Albums Chart entries than any other British female artist – how does that feel?

“I’ve never really thought about it, I’m not a terribly wealthy person! All I care about is the new album that I am making, which is the fourth album that I have made with my son ‘J’ (Jermaine J Jordan), who also manages me with his wife Joanna. So my concern is that, rather than dwelling on the past. 

“A lot of the tracks on the album have been done with the band that I am touring with – recorded in the studio down here where I live here in Devon. It sounds live and lovely. That’s where my head’s at.”

When is the new album out?

“When it’s finished – I’m hoping by the end of the year. It does take time to get it all right!”

What’s it like working with family?

“J and Joanna have been managing my career for going on 20 years.There’s a lot of respect. I admire J’s great ability as a guitar player, bass player, programmer, and on the drums – and all sorts of stuff in the studio. They are good business people and know what they are doing. It’s lovely. I couldn’t wish for anything else.

“My husband is also my sound engineer on stage. We’ve been together 43 years – it’s our 42nd wedding anniversary on the 1st March. That’s probably why I’ve been able to sing so well, I’ve been able to hear myself for the past 43 years, because I’ve got a great sound engineer, my lovely Trevor Jordan!”

What can people expect from your show this Friday?

“I would never ever disappoint and not do the hits – I will do the vast majority of them that work very well live on stage. And there will be some good rock stuff too. I always like to have an interval – I went to see John Mayer recently with my son Joey and it was wonderful, and like myself he takes a break for about 15 minutes and then comes back and does other things.

“Which is what I like to do – I perform for about an hour, take a short break and then come back on and do some really rocky stuff. And there will also be some stuff from the most recent album – ‘The Very Best Of’.”

Tickets are almost sold out for Elkie’s show at the Memorial Theatre – to book visit www.fmt.website or call the box office on 01373 462795. For more information about Elkie’s 60th anniversary tour, visit www. elkiebrooks.com

One Response to British singing legend, Elkie Brooks, talks to Frome Times

  1. Edward McGillivary

    February 16, 2020 at 10:06 am

    Amazing singer

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