Having spent almost two years playing Glinda (brilliantly, we
have to say!) in West End show Wicked, Louise Dearman has been back
in the studio, putting together an album of covers called Here
Comes The Sun. We caught up with her to chat about the album, her
stint on Wicked and whether she ever considered going on The
DIVA: When did you realise that you had a great voice?
How old were you?
Louise Dearman: Well I've danced since I was
three years old. It kind of got to the stage where at my dance
school there were some of my fellow dancers who were doing
competitions in singing as well and I wanted a piece of it. So I
went and spoke to my dance teacher and she said in order to do the
singing competitions you have to do the lessons so when I was about
13 years old, about 12 or 13, I went to my first real singing
lesson. Literally straight away the singing teacher said "You've
got a great voice, we'll work on the technique and the breathing
etcetera" and I soon found out that singing was my thing, maybe
more so than dancing. Then when I went on to college at 16 although
it was a college that did teach you so so well in singing, acting
and dancing, singing was my main focus definitely. It has been the
thing that has stuck out and has been my forte, if you like, in my
DIVA: Have you ever considered auditioning for [BBC1
talent show] The Voice? Have you been watching that?
Louise Dearman: I have been watching it and
it's been interesting because there have actually been people on
there who I know who have gone up for it and haven't been chosen.
It's a real weird one because you don't really know what they want
or what they're looking for.
I'm not sure whether at this stage in my career I'd go up for
it. I think once you've kind of established yourself, it would be
difficult to do that but a few years ago I did get all the papers
for X Factor [laughs sweetly]. It was just before I got offered
Evita on tour, and I was at a crossroads really. I thought I
haven't got a major, major part in a show yet, and what have I
really got to lose. There's not a huge amount of people that know
me, why don't I just go for it? And literally, as I sent the papers
off, I went straight in for Evita and got offered that role, so I
didn't end up going but I definitely considered it. Maybe not so
nowadays but I have considered it in the past.
It's a weird thing because lots of people put down these reality
shows, reality musical theatre TV shows and of course your X Factor
and The Voice but in many, many ways it boosts theatre when these
people do go into shows, it boosts ticket sales and interest in
theatre and that can only be a good thing.
DIVA: You left Wicked towards the end of last year. Do
you miss it?
Louise Dearman: It's a weird one because of
course I miss the people in the show and I had the most wonderful,
wonderful experience, the most wonderful almost two years, and it
was it was without a doubt the highlight of my musical career to
I went back a couple of weeks ago to watch it, I really wanted
to go and see the friends that I had left behind, [like] Rachel
Tucker who is still playing Elphaba in the show. I wanted to go and
support her and Julie Legrande who is playing Madame Morrible, and
also to support the new cast because I know some of them as well,
Gina Beck who took over as Glinda, so I just wanted to go back and
sit and enjoy it rather than feeling the pressure of being up on
stage. It is a huge amount of pressure, but to sit back and watch
the show from out front and realize that you were a part of that is
a wonderful feeling.
DIVA: I saw you in Wicked a couple of weeks before you
left - I loved it, I thought you were brilliant.
Louise Dearman: Oh, thank you very much! It's
an incredible show. It flew, it really did. We did the first year
and then we were asked if we would like to stay on and it was a
no-brainer because I didn't feel nearly done, there was so, so much
more to give and it's a lovely company to work for and a lovely
cast and backstage crew, like nothing else I've really known in the
West End. There is a really lovely family spirit back there.
DIVA: Do you ever find yourself walking round the
supermarket or wherever singing Popular to yourself? Because I do,
and I wasn't even in the show.
Louise Dearman: [Laughs]. Well that's a good
thing because it stuck in your head. Where I used to live there is
a theatre school, an arts educational, and I'd often see students
from there. I'd be walking my dog in the park and as I was walking
past I could hear them giggling and singing Popular and stuff like
that which was really lovely.
I'm very, very proud to have my name attached to Wicked and I
always will be. Whenever I leave a show though, whenever I finish a
contract in a show, it's almost like everything is erased from my
mind. When I was sat there watching it, you feel yourself singing
along and you know, speaking along to the lines, but so much of it
I'd forgotten which is a really scary thing, it shows that my
long-term memory is not good. [laughs]
DIVA: Your comic timing as Glinda was
Louise Dearman: Oh, thank you. I love comedy
and it's something I'm getting heavily involved in now. I'm
actually writing with a friend of mine Gareth Mason; we're right in
the middle of actually finishing our sketch show. We've been
working on it for months now and it's all coming together and we
have a production team who are going to film a pilot. It's all very
exciting and it was an obvious direction for me to take because the
comedy roles I've played I've always loved the most, it's kind of
my comfort zone, really and I just like being a bit silly in daily
DIVA: Do you ever get stage fright or nervous before you
Louise Dearman: Yeah. I do. I get nervous every
single time I perform. Genuinely. And it really doesn't matter
where it is, The Royal Albert Hall, or for example last weekend, I
went down to Southend to visit a youth theatre group and I did a
Q&A session with them and then I went on and performed before
their production of Fame. And I was really, really nervous then and
it was weird because I kept thinking to myself "Why are you
nervous?" and I guess it's just you have these young up-and-coming
actors watching you who had been asking me questions and telling me
that I'm their role model in theatre and then they're sitting in
the wings watching me. [The nerves are perhaps because I'm]
desperately not wanting to let them down and, you know, I always
want to do a good performance for myself.
I have suffered with stage fright before actually; it was during
Wicked funnily enough. It was one of those things where you don't
really want to say it out loud because if you do then it will
become a huge issue. But yeah I did. I started to get little
panicky flutters and to get a bit short of breath and a bit panicky
but I guess it's just when you get tired and you just forget why
you're doing what you're doing.
At the end of the day I do this job because I love performing
and I love singing and sometimes when you're tired and run down and
the pressures on it takes the edge off that and you have to just
remind yourself why you're doing it. But luckily, touch wood, it
hasn't taken over me ever. You just have to sometimes ride through
DIVA: You're going to be at Manchester Pride in
Louise Dearman: Yes, I'm going to be at the
Manchester Pride launch and will be going over there again to
perform. I'm really excited about getting involved with all the
Pride events and everything over the summer, and going and
performing live and getting out there amongst it all because that's
what I love doing -it's the most important thing for me. The
recording's wonderful and you experiment and you test things out
and you watch it develop and grow but to go out there and sing live
and be amongst an incredible atmosphere - it is wonderful.
DIVA: I suppose having been in musicals you have a
fairly strong gay following?
Louise Dearman: Yeah, definitely. I've
performed at G-A-Y, at Heaven a couple of months ago, it was
incredible. Lots of my friends, the majority probably are gay. And
being involved in Wicked the musical as well, I had tones and tones
of letters from young people, who were nervous and apprehensive
about coming out and didn't know where to turn, what to do, and its
great to hear from my friends now and not give advice from my point
of view but use other friends experiences to say you know, it's all
going to be good - this might be the hardest time of your life but
it's all going to be great. I do have a wonderful gay following and
you know what some of the nights that are the very best and the
real party nights are at places like G-A-Y and everyone is just so
up for a good time and it's a brilliant atmosphere.
DIVA: You have an album of covers coming out on May 7.
Can you talk us through the track selection?
Louise Dearman: Basically I wanted to do a
collection of songs that reflected the taste of music that I've had
over the years. I didn't want to do another musical theatre album.
So we went back through a big back-catalogue of music that I've
loved and the first one that I chose was actually Here Comes The
Sun, and my producer Ben Robins has done a beautiful completely new
arrangement of it. It was important to me that we did make them our
own. And to make them different without losing the original essence
of the song, so Here Comes The Sun is an incredible track, I really
love it and it's going to be the first single and it's the first
track on the album as well.
We've also got Squander, which is a Skunk Anansie song, which
not many people know actually. One of my favourite Skunk Anansie
songs is Weak which I absolutely loved but my agent actually
introduced me to Squander and I've been singing it live on tour
with Lee Mead and doing quite a few live performances of it and
it's going down really well. It's a great rock ballad, and what's
been great is that people of all ages have been commenting on the
song and the style of the album, saying they love it and again that
was important because it was a timeless choice of music. I wanted
it to be commercial, definitely, but didn't want it to segregate my
fans and my audience.
Of course you've got the classics on there like Time After Time,
Little Bird by Annie Lennox, Uninvited by Alanis Morrisette, One
Day I'll Fly Away, Kissing You, See The Day and a beautiful song
called Gravity by Sara Bereilles, which is a stunning ballad. And
This House, I don't think I mentioned, by Alison Moyet, so it's a
great collection of contemporary songs that have a big theatrical
flair to them but aren't theatrical music if that makes sense.
The album will be available on iTunes, Amazon and
dresscircle.co.uk, released on May 7 and I'm very excited. I'm
doing a big album launch at Bush Hall, which is a dream for me, a
real music venue, on May 13. I've got a wonderful support act
called Tenors of Rock. They used to be called The Rock Tenors
(they've just changed their name) so I keep getting really
confused. And I have a brilliant band and I'm singing the entire
album and all the fans and friends and family are all coming down.
It should be an incredible night. I'm very very excited. I had a
meeting yesterday, just tweaking the final bits and pieces and
arranging a rehearsal and I really, really can't wait. I'm really
proud of the album and I love the sound.
Originally we were talking about doing an originals album and
writing but when you have a background in musical theatre, you want
to ease people in to this new sound and to the fact that you're not
recording a theatre album. It's commercial contemporary music, so
all these songs are the ideal choice, from artists who have a
naturally theatrical edge to them.
DIVA: So do you see this album as a transitional
Louise Dearman: Yeah, I do actually. When I was
younger, I used to write a lot. I remember being in the ensemble of
Kiss Me Kate, and I met a producer while I was in the show and
joined a band called Ill Street, and yeah, I used to be writing
every single day of the week. Then as I got busier doing shows I
kind of left that behind.
But absolutely, once we see how this album goes, and the effect
that it has on people, then I would absolutely love to write an
originals album and to go down that road. As lovely as it is to do
covers, it must be an incredible feeling to have an album that's
all your own work.
Louise Dearman's album Here Comes The Sun is released May
See her live at Bush Hall (London W12 7LJ) on May 13,
Tickets available here