Denise Pearson Interview
added: 29 Jul 2013
interviewed by: Ed McHatton
There’s something I must say about former Five Star front woman Denise Pearson. I must say it, because she won’t. Denise Pearson was a major creative force in the 1980s, she may be too polite to boast about it, or too humble to even acknowledge it, but the history books show there’s more to Denise Pearson than a well marketed front woman for a record company project.
Throughout our chat the 45 year old is happy to discuss her first kiss, her vocal problems, even family bereavement, she readily praises the talents of her co-writers, chorographers and dancers, and she’s quick to express her gratitude to fans old and new.
The only thing that she seems reluctant to discuss is the role she played in the juggernaut that was Five Star. She was the voice on the 10 million albums they sold. She was the composer of their first Grammy nomination, she was the producer of many of their 15 top 30 singles.
The Five Star story began with the release of their 1983 debut single. Denise (then 15 years old) and her four siblings sang and danced their way into the lives of the British public after their father and manager Buster Pearson secured a deal with RCA Records. Their matching jumpsuits and slick choreography became as recognisable as their hits such as ‘Rain or Shine’ ‘System Addict’ and ‘The Slightest Touch’.
While their time at the top was brief, it was incredibly successful, culminating in 1987 when their album ‘Silk & Silk’ topped the British charts, went quadruple platinum and became the first album to produce seven hit singles. As radio DJ Mark Goodier commented “Seven singles….we were just buying the album on hire purchase really”.
”I think it was what it was. It went so fast” she says of her time with one of Britain’s biggest ever pop bands. “I was still a teenager at school when it started and it was an amazing ride”
Whilst the Five Star sound was what Denise describes as “very very pop”, the groups obvious talent for dancing (sister Doris was their choreographer), writing and producing did lend them a certain amount of credibility outside of teenage pop fans who led to them selling out Wembley for a record six consecutive nights. Throughout the 80s they were heralded as a British version of The Jacksons and now in 2013 the connection to the Jacksons is more than just an acknowledgement of credibility from the more serious sections of the music press
Signed to Tito Jackson’s label Baronet, and having recently completed a UK tour with The Jacksons it seems the career paths between the two families will be intertwined for some time to come.
“We were dubbed Britains answer to the Jacksons in the 80s, and we’ve always loved The Jacksons. We always played their music growing up so the tour was just a dream come true. It all came about when I did Thriller Live in the west end. The creator of that show had a connection to Tito, I feel very very lucky”
With such stellar support for her solo career, it’s a wonder why she’s only now back on the promotional trail for the first time since Five Star last hit the U.S. charts in 2001
“After we moved to the states I got married and had children. That’s what I wanted, the White picket fence, the marriage, the babies. But once I had that the grass looked greener on the other side. I came back to England and decided that I really need to do my own thing. I had to go through that journey to get where I am now, and I appreciate it a lot more now. I’m a lot more mature, I know what sounds I want, I’m enjoying it a lot more now”.
In addition to launching her solo career with the single “Freak Dance” (Released August 26th) and album “Imprint” (October 2013) Denise continues to play the nostalgia circuit with 4 back up dancers.
“We all wear the sequins, we all do the original routines” but despite a rapturous welcome at last year’s Rewind Festival when all Five members performed together for the first time in nearly a decade, Denise concedes there are no immediate plans for the Five siblings to perform or record together any time soon. The sad passing of their father Buster Pearson, himself a prominent ingredient in the Five Star machine has put paid to any reunion for the foreseeable future “It’s very tender for the family members right now so who knows when it will happen?” she says.
For now Denise Pearson is looking forward to a new solo career, and a whole new generation of fans that have been exposed to her through BBC 1’s ‘The Voice’, whilst embracing and enjoying a past that embodied all the highs and lows of being a pop star in that most excessive of decades - the 80s.
“It was non-stop. Interview after Interview, magazines, radio, TV, learning new routines, always moving on to the next thing”
She does, however concede that there was time for fun. While the world obsessing over whether Kylie & Jason were caught in a real life smooch-in, Denise Pearson quietly bagged herself one of the 80s hottest men, a celebrity match that the tabloids would have killed for is only becoming known now, almost 30 years later.
“Matt Goss was my first kiss” she tells me. “While Bros and Five Star fans were arguing over who was the best, we were kind of together”
“I went out one night with my bodyguard and he went out with his bodyguard to the Cinema to see ‘The Naked Gun’ and they sat me right next to him so we kept in contact from then. We went out to Barbados. It was very cloak and dagger but he’s a wonderful wonderful man”
Hit records, Rock Star lifestyle and trips to Barbados with Matt Goss – Denise Pearson’s talent, drive and looks ensured that during the 80s she had it all. Watch out world, because she’s back for more.
Denise Pearson’s new single’ Freak Dance’ is released on August 26th on Baronet Records
Her Album ‘Imprint’ is scheduled for release October 2013 on Baronet Records
For more info go to www.denisepearsonmusic.com
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