80s pop singer Mari Wilson, most famous for her 1982 top ten hit Just What I Always Wanted, is currently on tour paying tribute to her singing idols from the 1960s such as Petula Clark and Cilla Black with a brand new show, Ready Steady Girls.
The concert pays particular homage to the woman who inspired Wilson’s trademark beehive haircut, Dusty Springfield.
“I played Dusty Springfield in a show called Dusty the Musical in the year 2000,” explains Wilson as she describes how the idea for the tour was formed. “It toured for about 10 months, from Plymouth to Aberdeen, and ever since I did that people have always said ‘when are you going to do some Dusty things?’
“I’ve always done the odd Dusty song but I’ve never done a whole concert. I don’t impersonate her, I’ve changed all of the songs pretty much, not so they’re unrecognisable but not like they were in the 60s because what’s the point?”
As well as Ready Steady Girls, Wilson is also in the studio working on a brand new album of her own, which is predominantly a covers record with the odd new song thrown in. She hopes to go back out on the road next year once the album is released, but very candidly states that she is not interested in trying to re-live her former success – indeed, she is working hard to ensure that this record will be as big a change in style as the rest of her back catalogue. “We are putting a couple of originals on the album.
“The influence of the album has been a bit 80s Human League and I’m really pleased, it sounds different. When you’re playing live, especially now, you’ve really got to give people something that will get their attention. The divide is quite big now, you’ve got your huge artists and then you’ve got this smaller circuit which I’m on where you’re trying to get bums on seats.
“The thing with this show is that they kind of know what they’re getting and people of a certain age want to hear these songs and they don’t get to hear them. I hope to tour because I’m still writing. We’ll see how it goes with the two songs that are original and maybe we’ll make an album in that vein.”
Mari Wilson plays at Korks in Otley on May 22. For details visit http://www.mariwilson.co.uk/