*What made you decide to become a tribute artiste/vocalist?
I trained as a classical singer but preferred musical theatre because it enabled me to act and dance as well as sing. I have written and performed my own music in many live music venues but I adore playing a role.
I’ve loved the great divas since I was a child – Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas and I often used to impersonate them. This led to my “Divas” show being staged in cabaret and fringe West End venues in London.
I now choose to specialise in Shirley Bassey because the powerful ballads, sassy upbeat numbers, feathers, spangles and emotion suits me!
*Do you come from a musical family?
Yes. All of us play at least one musical instrument.
*What made you decide to form a tribute to this particular artiste?
Shirley Bassey is a legend. I adore her style and powerful voice. I am always being told I look and sound like her, even when I’m not playing her!
*How long have you been performing your tribute act or act?
Nearly 18 months.
*What work is involved in putting the show together?
An awful lot of hours in studying mannerisms, movements. Practising the vocal style and speaking voice (accent). Sourcing costumes. Rehearsing with musicians.
*Which of your shows to date has been your favourite and why?
Shirley Bassey Tribute act, without a doubt.
*What is the most enjoyable thing about being as a tribute artiste/or vocalist?
When on stage, I feel like I’m touching people’s hearts and meeting people all over the world is an amazing experience.
*What is your fondest musical memory?
Being on stage at Café De Paris – the same stage that Shirley Bassey and Marlene Dietrich have graced.
*What is your favourite song to perform?
This Is My Life.
*Are you a fan of the tribute act/acts you cover?
Yes. A massive fan. I have all of her albums on vinyl and on CD. I have old programmes from shows and biographies and DVDs.
*What do you do to prepare for a tribute performance or vocal performance?
Eat well, go for a swim and a steam room session, drink lots of water, do a vocal warm up!
*Tell us something interesting about yourself?
I am a very good baker and cook and I adore all animals – especially dogs. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 14.
*What advice would you give to beginners in this industry?
Always be professional – turn up on time, smile, don’t drink alcohol at a performance ( I always have a nice red at the end as a treat!), be warm to your audience and always sing every song from your heart.
Listen to advice from others but be wary of family and friends’ praise 😉 Learn from people who have been in the industry a long time.
Believe in yourself and always seek to appraise and be appraised and improve.
Get vocal training. If you use your voice properly, it will work for you always.
Never underestimate the power of appearance. People judge on looks as well as talent. sad, but true, so make the most of yourself. Touring and performing is a very physically, emotionally and mentally demanding job so stay well and be good to yourself – exercise regularly, eat healthily and most importantly, DON’T SMOKE!! 😉
*Have you performed with or for any celebrities?
Yes, too many to mention, but I don’t name drop 😉
*Do you have anything else you would like to share?
Please keep supporting good British Cabaret!! xxx
Read more about Rachael here