Emsworth/Westbourne’s WemsFest moves to The Spring in Havant for the chance to get Up Close and Personal with Charlie Dore on October 29 at 7.45pm.
The series is an opportunity to witness a musician at close hand in an intimate setting – and it’s a setting Charlie will relish.
“When people know there is going to be a chance to interact, it can be very different. Some audiences just want you to get on with it, but other audiences really respond if you tell the story behind certain songs.”
It remains very much a concert – but a concert with context: “It is good when people can ask questions because some of my songs do come from slightly-different angles. Some songs you can just launch into, and I quite like it when people can make what they want of some songs by making them personal to them, but with some songs it helps to explain to people beforehand.”
Known mostly for her success with Pilot of the Airwaves, Charlie has also been covered by artists as diverse as George Harrison, Tina Turner, Lisa Stansfield, Sheena Easton, Celine Dion, Black, UB40, Status Quo, Paul Carrack and Jimmy Nail.
For Havant, Charlie will spotlight personal favourites from her last five albums, but will also offer her own takes on the songs written for the platinum-sellers, some never before performed live in their original form.
Sometimes you write for specific people, as she did with Jimmy Nail; sometimes your songs are simply picked up, as happened twice with Celine Dion: “The first one, I was going to put on my own album and the producer said ‘There is a Canadian girl who could really sing it.’ We just thought ‘Oh, really.’ He said ‘She is very big in Canada’, and we just thought ‘Really big in Canada? What does that mean?’ But it turned out to be her first really massive album. I didn’t really know about her at the time.”
Inevitably, some covers turn out to be absolute stinkers: “The arrangements are watered down in some way or they don’t sing it like they mean it. Quite often when you write a song for other people, you have got to record it for yourself. You make like a demo of the record.”
But sadly, you won’t have much control as to what comes out the other end…
However, her experience with George Harrison was wholly positive – even if she didn’t know he’d covered one of her songs until after his death: “I had met George a few times through Eric Idle who is a friend of mine. I have known Eric forever. Eric is really, really musical and has got a rather nice voice. Eric would often sit down and play – and he introduced me to George. Considering he was a Beatle and world-famous all his life, he was very normal, very nice, very self-effacing. He just seemed a nice chap. He had Fear of Flying, which was one of my songs, on his juke box in his kitchen. I didn’t know that he had really taken an awful lot of notice of it.
“I only ever met George a few times. I was very much on the periphery, but I didn’t know he had picked the song up. One day, we were all there sitting in his garden, and he just played it. I was the only unknown person there, so I couldn’t really say to anyone ‘Look! A Beatle has just covered one of my songs!’ Everyone there was really famous. But it was a fantastic moment… and then I didn’t know that he had actually recorded it until after he died when Eric told me…”
Tickets on thespring.co.uk.
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