Hey Big Spenders!16-06-2011
Maxine Barrie, the world-renowned performer will be live at the Millionaire's Ball this month
After working in the music business for over 20 years as part of groups and as a solo act, Maxine Barrie shot to fame as the world’s best Shirley Bassey performer when she won ITV’s first series of Stars in their Eyes in 1990. Although she’d always loved Shirley’s music and bore an uncanny resemblance to her, she hadn’t thought of making a career of performing as her until she won the show. Since then, she has won over audiences around the world with her unmistakeable 'Basseyisms', the accuracy of her portrayal, and her own fabulous personality.
We spoke to Maxine about her career and her long-standing love of performing.
Hi Maxine, thanks for talking to us today, so tell me, when did you first become interested in music?
I always sang from childhood, but I was actually very shy. When I got older I knew I wanted to be in music and tried lots of different things to “make it”. I sang in a folk trio and a pop group, which were great experiences, but I knew I wanted to be a solo act so I started working the club circuit. The problem was I have always looked a lot like Shirley and so I think it was hard for people to take me seriously as a performer in my own right. However, I really enjoyed my early career and it was a great way to get experience which has been really useful since I started performing as Shirley Bassey.
When did you discover that you could portray Shirley Bassey so brilliantly?
I always got comments that I looked like her and had positive feedback when I performed her songs, but never really thought of taking it any further until I was approached by Stars in their Eyes.
What made you decide to enter Stars in their Eyes?
I got to the stage with the music when I was fed up with struggling on, not making enough money and being unable to break through despite working for over 20 years to make a go of it. To be honest I was on the verge of giving up when I was invited to audition for the pilot of the show, but I’m so glad I stuck with it.
In the pilot, there was a lady doing Alison Moyet and she actually won the show, but it didn’t get commissioned. After a year of waiting, they got commissioned and I was asked to go back, do another audition and take part in the very first show. I was lucky enough to be the very first person to walk through the doors and the first person to win the series. It was pretty amazing.
It’s scary to think how different things could have been though, the pilot could have been commissioned first time round of course, or the reel could have been destroyed in a fire which happened in the editing department during that time. Thankfully they were able to rescue the reel we did and it was the start of my career as Shirley Bassey.
How did your life change when you won it?
Once the show aired I started to get some offers, but the show wasn’t huge like the reality shows of today, so it was a gradual process. I certainly had to prove myself at each job, but I felt confident as I had been working in the business for so long and had the experience to be able to really give a good performance. Little by little the offers increased and word spread about the act and there have been some wonderful opportunities. I must be doing something right, as I have always been asked back from every job I have done over the last 21 years!
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
I feel so lucky to have been given to do a job I love so much for so many years. I have always loved performing and with Shirley I have had the opportunity to do a wide variety of gigs, so I’ve certainly never been bored! I have travelled to some wonderful places and met some great people so I have really enjoyed it all.
What is the best show you’ve ever done?
It’s really hard to say as everything is so different and it’s all been brilliant. I think one of the highlights was performing at the end of the Red or Dead fashion show at London Fashion Week wearing a dress made for me especially by the designer. That really was amazing!
Do you have a favourite song which you love performing?
That’s a difficult one as they are all so good. If I had to pick one it would have to be Something as I sang that for the final of Stars in their Eyes so it really changed my life. However, they all have their different elements which I enjoy.
What do you think is Shirley Bassey’s enduring appeal?
She’s got an amazing voice, is a really dramatic performer, she looks great with her glamorous wardrobe and really she’s a star in every respect. I don’t think there are many artists working today that are such complete performers, so it’s an honour to be able to perform as she does and sing those fantastic songs.
You’re performing at The Millionaires’ White Summer Party in Marbella this summer. Have you ever been there before?
Yes used to Holiday in Torremolinos and Estepona with my family and always loved Marbella. I remember when I was on holiday one year I got off the bus and saw Sean Connery just strolling down the road. I am a huge fan so I just had to speak to him, but my throat was so dry that it came out really husky and sexy, which was a bit embarrassing. He just said hello back in his gorgeous voice and was lovely. It was a perfect Marbella moment!
Are you looking forward to the Millionaire’s Summer Party?
Yes, I’m really looking forward to it, it sounds like it will be really special performing with so many other great performers and in the gardens of a beautiful villa. It’s a good idea to get together a number of performers doing classic songs and I love outdoor events.
As it’s a white event I have had to get a new dress designed, as Shirley normally wears colourful things. However, I couldn’t just have it plain white of course, I had to add some sparkle and silver, to make sure I was glamorous enough for the event and that Shirley would approve!
How many songs will you be performing?
I will be singing 10 or 11 classic Bassey songs which should really get the crowd going. I like to give my own twist to it as well as all the normal Basseyisms and often come down into the crowd looking for my Big Spender, so I look forward to meeting everyone!
What are your plans for the future? Any plans to retire after performing as Shirley Bassey for 20 years?
I have been performing for a long time now, but I still love the buzz of performing and will keep on doing it whilst I’m getting these wonderful offers. I guess I’m getting more picky with the jobs that I choose these days, but it’s a great career to have and I will keep going as long as I can!
Thanks Maxine, we look forward to seeing you in Marbella this summer!
By: Giles "Danger" Brown
hello, please can i get the pictures of the billionnaires party a la villa conception..can you, please send me,, on my own email..
thank you for this delicate attention.
from samantha miller
See all comments (1)
Málaga Christmas lights are on! @ Malaga November 24th 2017
Marbella CIT XVIII Business Awards November 24 of 2017 at Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa
Please enter an email!
Please enter your password