MUSIC INTERVIEW! 80s Icon & Brit Award Winner Deniece Pearson releases new single Forever Young as a celebration of 40 Years in the music industry
- Celebrity Interviews
- Published on Saturday, 23 September 2023 20:00
- Last Updated on 28 September 2023
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
Celebrating 40 years of success, Brit Award winner and Grammy nominee, Deniece Pearson, lead singer of iconic pop sensation FIVE STAR, is back with a bang! Her latest single, ‘Forever Young,’ radiates positivity and feel-good vibes with its reggae-infused pop beats – a sunshine anthem that’ll lift your spirits. And that’s just a taste! The track is part of a sizzling new EP, featuring revamped versions of FIVE STAR classics ‘System Addict’ and ‘Rain or Shine.’ Hold onto your seats because there’s more: Deniece Pearson is set to drop her hotly anticipated solo album ‘Free-Queen-See’ in spring/summer 2024.
But that’s not all! Deniece Pearson is a powerhouse in the making. She’s cooking up a legendary jazz stage show, all while ruling the stage as the leading lady of FIVE STAR. Her electrifying performances have earned her a dedicated fan base, selling out shows and rocking festivals throughout 2023. Case in point? Her headline gig at Pizza Live Express on 12th August – sold out two months in advance! Now, get ready for an encore: a mind-blowing 5 Star 40th Anniversary show on 30th September 2023.
In her FIVE STAR days, Deniece Pearson smashed records with over 20 UK top-thirty singles, including chart-toppers like ‘System Addict,’ ‘The Slightest Touch,’ and the timeless anthem ‘Rain or Shine.’ The group made history as the youngest Brit act with a number one album and the first to score seven consecutive hits from a single album in the UK.
After a hiatus to raise her two rock star kids, Deniece stormed back onto the stage, leaving audiences spellbound. From her dazzling West End stint in the Michael Jackson musical ‘Thriller Live’ to her show-stopping performance in ‘Respect La Diva,’ where she belted out Beyoncé’s ‘Listen’ and a Whitney Houston medley, Deniece owned the spotlight. Her star power even lit up global stages, including a legendary show at the Sydney Opera House in Australia for ‘Disco Divas.’
Deniece Pearson’s star continued to rise after her stint on BBC1’s The Voice in 2012, scoring a new management deal and a golden chance to support The Jacksons on their UK tour. And let’s not forget ‘Rafiki Yangu’ (Swahili for ‘My Friend’), her heart-warming tribute to Nelson Mandela and Africa’s quest for peace and prosperity. Dedicated to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, it showcased Deniece’s dedication to making a positive impact through her platform.
Following the smash-hit success of her solo debut ‘Imprint’ in the summer of 2014, supported by a blazing 16-date UK tour with Billy Ocean, Deniece continued to enrapture audiences. She teamed up with DJ and producer Sigala to rock his chart-topping hit ‘Easy Love’ on the Top of The Pops New Year’s Day BBC1 Special. Buckle up, because Deniece Pearson is back, and she’s not holding back!
Congratulations on your 40th anniversary in the music industry! What emotions and memories come to mind when reflecting on this milestone?
Deniece Pearson (DP): It’s been quite a Journey! Being nominated for a Grammy Award, winning Best Group at the BRITs, meeting Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and Prince Edward, sell out tours, our albums breaking records and turning quadruple Platinum…it’s just been such a phenomenal journey!
Your new single, ‘Forever Young,’ has a vibrant reggae-infused sound. What inspired the musical direction for this track?
DP: I dated a beautiful Jamaican guy for a while and all he used to tell me was “You got to get back in touch with your roots, go back to Jamaica and connect again.” This stuck in my subconscious then ‘Forever Young’ fell from the heavens into my life!
The EP also includes new versions of two Top 10 FIVE STAR classics. Could you share a bit about the process of reimagining these iconic songs?
DP: I thought because it’s Five Star’s 40th Anniversary this year I thought I’d mark this occasion by releasing my own solo track along with our 2 biggest hits ‘System Addict’ and ‘Rain or Shine’! So, giving our audience some nostalgia alongside new material.
Your upcoming solo album, ‘Free-Queen-See,’ is highly anticipated. Can you give us a glimpse into what listeners can expect from this project?
DP: My new album Free-Queen-See will be revisiting more of Five Star’s catalogue, then more patois songs along with my very first Christmas track and a couple of rock songs! Lots and lots of different genres to look forward to!
Balancing a solo career, a jazz legends stage show, and being the original voice of FIVE STAR sounds incredibly busy. How do you manage to juggle all these endeavours while maintaining such high energy and creativity?
DP: Choosing to stay positive, diet, meditation with the highest energy tuning in with God, and knowing I’m protected and guided. I believe we are never given anything we can’t handle! We are stronger than we think! Focus, diligence, dedication and persistence are key to fulfilling our goals and passions!
Your headline show at Pizza Express Live in August sold out two months in advance. What do you think it is about your performances that continue to resonate so strongly with audiences?
DP: Nostalgia in my vocals and performances, 5 Star were a huge part of teenagers’ lives in the 80’s and now we’re all in our 50’s and we’re in our reminiscing years! We want to hear those original vocals and see the dance routines too! It’s such a blessing for my passion to still be needed and wanted. Our God is a great provider!
Looking back at your time with FIVE STAR, what do you consider the most defining moments or achievements of the group?
DP: Our sold out tours, winning our awards and breaking Michael Jackson’s record for having the most singles released off of one album, touring the world.
After a career break to raise your children, you made a triumphant return to the stage. What motivated you to come back, and how did it feel to reconnect with your audience?
DP: Well, I got everything I asked for – marriage, my son and my daughter, a white picket fence and a beautiful home! The only thing that was missing was my music!
I decided I wanted and needed to reconnect again so I moved back to England and restarted my career. This move was the best one I ever made apart from my children.
Your role in the West End production of ‘Thriller Live’ received great reviews. How did it feel to be a part of such an iconic musical, especially one dedicated to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson?
DP: Phenomenal! I learnt a lot about myself and Michael – what a talent! From his vocals to his moves, this guy was most certainly resonating on his highest level – living his true thread and life path! It was an honour to sing his songs!
Your performance in ‘Respect La Diva,’ featuring covers of Beyoncé and Whitney Houston, was truly sensational. Can you tell us about the experience of paying tribute to these incredible artists?
DP: I think over the years I have grown into my vocal range so when this show came along there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be part of it! I’ve listened to Whitney, Mariah and Celine for years and their songs and range have helped me to broaden mine. Once again, an honour to sing their songs!
Your appearance on BBC1’s The Voice in 2012 marked a turning point in your career. How did this opportunity influence your musical journey?
DP: I am pleased to have been a part of this show because I got to meet some amazingly talented artists – Becky Hill was on my episode and many other amazing talents and of course, I got to meet Mr Tom Jones! Musically I think it played a great part in my musical journey.
“Rafiki Yangu” was a heartfelt tribute to Nelson Mandela and Africa’s pursuit of peace and prosperity. Could you share more about the inspiration behind this song and your commitment to making a positive impact?
DP: I will do whatever I can for justice! I am a firm believer in the truth and non-bullying tactics and will do everything I can to help to create a peaceful and truthful environment. ‘Rafiki Yangu’ came about when I played a song I wrote to a friend of mine about manifestation. He replied, “ What about the children of the world who are starving?” Can’t you write about that”!
So, I changed my whole song lyric and learnt a little African! A great experience, I absolutely love languages!
Your debut solo album, ‘Imprint,’ was supported by a UK tour alongside Billy Ocean. What was the most memorable moment from that tour, and how did it feel to collaborate with such a respected artist?
DP: I will never forget when Mr Billy Ocean asked me up on stage and sang Caribbean Queen to me… I was in high heaven, that’s a memory I will never forget! When we first came out we were performing ‘Problematic’ around the clubs. I remember Billy was there on stage before we went on, Daddy was happy to see him as they knew each other from way back in the music industry, we screamed and clapped so loudly for him after his performance! That was a great night!
Joining forces with DJ and producer Sigala for “Easy Love” on the Top Of The Pops New Year’s Day BBC1 Special must have been a thrilling experience. What was it like working with him, and how did the collaboration come about?
DP: Sigala is such a lovely mellow talented chap! We met through my agent Marshall Arts Talent. He needed a singer to perform his single on Top of the Pops so at the time Tito Jackson was coming into town to do a show and I usually join him on stage to sing the Jackson 5 songs ‘ABC’ and ‘I Want You Back’. His gig at the time was at the club Under the Bridge so Marshall Arts invited Sigala to the show to meet me. It’s incredible how this industry works!
I am writing a book about rock rebels and would love to. include your input. Here’s a specific question: In your 40-year music career, you’ve been part of various musical genres, including pop and now reggae-infused pop with your latest single ‘Forever Young.’ Could you tell us how your music has evolved over the years and whether you consider it rebellious in any way? Additionally, who are some of your favourite rock rebels, and how have they influenced your music and career? Have you ever worked and met famous rock rebels? How have they inspired you?
DP: ELO, Heart, Alannah Myles, Bon Jovi, these are some of my favourite rock bands of the 80’s – I just love 80’s rock, there’s just something about it that sticks! I love all genres of music and I love writing them, music has such a beautiful way of enabling our self-expression – to share our experiences and stories with the world.
Looking ahead, what are your aspirations and goals for the future of your music career, especially with the release of ‘Free-Queen-See’ on the horizon?
DP: Longevity and persistence – my music has become my whole life now. I’ve spent enough time solely raising my family and maintaining relationships in everyday life, now it’s time to merge them together successfully. I am growing my brand – looking forward to making my own perfume line, clothing, champagne, bed clothing, linen etc.
Please tell us about your new Christmas single.
DP: I am so happy to announce my first ever Christmas single! And you can quote me on this: “My song ‘Santa Clause is Coming’ is 2023’s Christmas Number 1”.
It has a patois feel to it and it is totally magnificent! Straight from the heavens!
What are your favourite things to do at Christmas?
DP: Spend time around the fireplace with loved ones and cooking together in the kitchen, turning the lights down low and opening presents in the glow of the fireplace and Christmas tree lights! Gorgeous, I am truly a Christmas Girl!
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums