Sunday, 15 December 2013

13 Questions With...Cheryl Fergison

Cheryl Fergison to star in this year's Derby LIVE
pantomime production, 'Jack & The Beanstalk'
1. Hey Cheryl! Firstly, you left the role of the wonderful Heather Trott in BBC EastEnders in 2012, how has life after EastEnders treated you?
There is life after EastEnders! I have been very lucky and blessed to have done several great projects since leaving EastEnders and I'm always excited by what could be round the corner! 

2. We’ll miss Heather and no matter what Lauren Branning says, Heather Trott certainly isn't forgot. Do you miss working with the lovely Linda Henry who plays the part of Shirley Carter?

Linda Henry was my partner in crime on Enders and Hev & Shirl were certainly a fantastic duo! I miss working with Linda she is a fantastic actress and a good friend she's like my big sis in real life and actually Steve McFadden (Phil) is like my big brov in real life too we like a good natter on the phone and meeting to catch up .

3. Since leaving EastEnders, you’ve been on ITV Your Face Sounds Familiar – you have an amazing voice. What was it like being a part of that show?

YFSF was a brilliant show to be involved in, very scary doing live shows on prime time ITV Sat nights, but great fun, great people and a fantastic team all round. Singing and becoming some of my music heroes was a dream. I think a lot of the public enjoyed seeing another side of Cheryl Fergison they perhaps didn't know existed!

4. Would you ever release your own music in the future?

I would love for people to hear music I have written. I would love to produce a CD. Simon Cowell are you reading this???? Lol.
Cheryl Fergison & Marcus Collins.
(Derby LIVE)

5. You will be playing the Fairy in Derby LIVE’s production of ‘Jack & The Beanstalk’ this Christmas. What made you want to appear on stage and play the part of the Fairy in Jack & The Beanstalk and how did this role appeal to you?

I am looking forward to coming to Derby this year and playing to audiences at the Assembly Rooms. Jack and the Beanstalk is this years panto and I will be flying around as "Spirit of the Beans" (she doesn't like to be called a fairy allegedly LOL). This is my first time playing to audiences in Derby and once I met up with the panto producer PHA (Paul Holman) and his fantastic enthusiastic team of people I knew it was gonna be fun times ahead. I'm under no illusion Panto is very hard work! But with a great cast and backstage / front of house theatre team it will be an amazing show and an amazing Christmas in Derby! 

6. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

I love entertaining the crowds at Christmas. They want to be there to have fun, join in, and if you can make someone smile then that is what it's all about. (Unless you’re the Villain then I'm sure there have been a few tears from scared little ones!!)

7. What is your favourite thing about being in a pantomime?

Being involved in a Panto is a team effort I love working in a team and to me that is when the best work is done. It is a great feeling no matter what part you play from cast member to box office sales assistants that the show is up and running and audiences come out having had a great fun live theatre experience.

8. 1500 meters of canvas, 30 kilos of glitter, 100 litres of paint, 24 metres of magic silk, 150 beanstalk leaves and a pantomime cow…how would you describe this year’s production of ‘Jack & The Beanstalk’?

I wouldn't even try to describe what is involved in our Panto all I ask is you come along and see for yourself we don't want to spoil any surprises now do we!!!!

9. If you could invite any 3 celebrities or famous people to dinner, who would they be?

If I could invite three famous guests for dinner (alive or dead) it would have to be.... John Lennon, Al Pachino & Paul O’Grady. (I know Paul and he is always the best company to be in) 

10. What has been the highlight of your whole career?

Like I have said I have been very blessed to have had a very varied successful career so far and God willing it will continue. There have been many highlights from playing Heather in EastEnders, working with the Royal Shakespeare company, singing at the Royal Albert Hall and the O2, to doing all my charity work that is everything from winning Weakest Link and Pointless to the latest Children in Need sketch / video with Harry Hill and gang. To be honest with you I try to make everything I do at the time my main achievement in life.

11. If you could work alongside any other actor or actress, who would they be and why?

I would love to be in a film with someone like Ben Stiller ... Yep that would be fun. 

12. Do you have any advice for aspiring actors?

Cheryl FergIson -
Your Face Soundsa Familiar 2013 (ITV
My advice for anyone who wants to become an actor is be prepared for more knock backs and rejections than you would care to want, but if you are still determined to follow your ambitions and have patience and work hard, then keep going and you will get what you want eventually - you have to work hard it doesn't come to you...and it feels so much better and rewarding when you know you have earned it.

13. Do you have a message for all your fans? 
Do I have a message for all my fans? Well to start of with a thank you so much for all your support during my career. It is a very humbling experience for people to take an interest in my life and without these people and their support I'm sure I would not be where I am today so once again thank you!!

Thanks to Cheryl for taking part in my interview, I look forward to seeing the show on press night.

Follow @cherylfergison1 on Twitter for updates on her events in Derby this Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

13 Questions with...Montanna Thompson

I caught up with Tracy Beaker star, Montanna Thompson, who you may know as Justine Littlewood! She made a comeback to screens this year on Channel 4 and is headed for the big screens very soon. Here are 13 Questions with...Montanna Thompson! 

1. Hi Montanna! You played ‘Ellie’ in Channel 4’s ‘Dates’ which aired earlier this year in the summer. What was this episode about? Ellie and David's date was more of a catfish situation she lied about her age so immediately it was awkward but in the end they had a good date as friends and she sends David back to Mia. Ellie is very mature for her age with a warm and bubbly personality. 

2. You played the role of ‘Evie’ in ’TAG’. When is this movie set to be out? Evie is a quiet girl who is very reserved and this is what makes her get bullied by the other kids in school. All I will say about Evie is maybe you should watch out for the quiet ones. It is set to be released early in the year 2014. 

3. What is ‘TAG’ about? TAG is a British horror where a deadly disease is spread, turning people into demons that kill, continuing to spread the curse like a game of tag.

4. What are your views on bullying and cyber-bullying, as this issue is a huge problem today? I think people who have to bully others are really insecure and probably upset by themselves. To make someone weak does not make you strong.

5. You played the role of Justine Littlewood in CBBC’s ‘The Story of Tracy Beaker’ for four years (2002 – 2006) - what was it like returning to the role of Justine for ‘Tracy Beaker Returns’ in 2012? It was lovely returning to the Dumping Ground and seeing all the talented new kids there as well as seeing Dani for so long, it was really nice. 6. How did it feel working with Dani Harmer and Connor Byrne again? It was great working with them. Connor always makes me laugh, he's just too funny (in a good way LOL).

7. Are you and Justine anything alike each other? What do you have in common? Well in a way I'm ashamed to admit it but I think me and Justine might have some similarities, probably in music and fashion but I'm just a third of her fiery personality, plus she can be a right cow when she's ready, I like to think I'm a lot softer. 8. Would you ever consider returning to  The Dumping Ground as Justine again? Maybe - that's all I can say.

9. Do you still keep in touch with any of the cast members from ‘Tracy Beaker’? Yes, I still talk to Nisha, Darragh, Cieran, Ben and Abby (Elaine, Crash LOL, Bouncer and Jackie as well as Rochelle and Charlene - Addele and Jenny). Me and Rochelle are still close.

10. If you could invite any 3 celebrities to a dinner party, who would they be? Ed Milliband, Beyoncé, Barack Obama.
11. Have you ever been star struck when meeting a famous person? If so, who was it? Yes, I was so nervous when I met our Queen - one of the best moments in my life!
12. Who inspired you to be where you are today? Old fashioned movies from at least the 1940s, I think the acting was amazing - so real. 
13. What sort of roles do you want to play in the future? Any roles the more different from the last, the better. That's what its all about.

Thank you so much for taking part Tanna! Is there a message for all your Twitter followers and fans?

"Yes! Thank you, without them I would have probably 

given up xxx"

Watch Montanna as Ellie here:

Watch Montanna on set of Channel 4's 'Dates' here:


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

13 Questions with...Marcus Collins

1. Hello Marcus! Last year, you released your debut album, ‘Marcus Collins’, which did really well on the UK charts. Please tell us a bit about what it was like to record your own album.  It was incredible to be able to come off a show like X Factor and go straight in to the recording studio and get my feelings down on record and for so many people to buy it was a dream come true. 

2. What was it like having the album chart in the top 10 of the UK charts? It was an amazing feeling!! I love seeing it on the shelves and I'm very proud of it! I wasn't an established song writer before my own album and I wrote it in under 2 months! I look at it as my diary of emotions from that time. Its funny when I listen back and see how much has changed!

3. Since appearing on The X Factor 2011, how has your life changed? It’s changed in ways that are dream like to me…I was struggling to live and wanting to do music 24/7 and it was very disheartening at times, now I have worked hard and own a wonderful home and have worked alongside and met with some amazing people that have changed and shaped my life and me as a person. 

4. What made you want to play the part of Jack in Derby LIVE’s production of ‘Jack & The Beanstalk’ this Christmas? It genuinely seemed like a laugh and after my run with Hairspray: The Musical it seemed like a good idea! I love theatre! There is always that unknown adrenaline of what could happen with live theatre and I think I've learnt how to read the audience.

5. What’s your favourite thing about being in a pantomime? I don’t know I have never done one yet…haha. 

6. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas? The shopping for others, warm comforting food and drinks, the atmosphere, the rushing around and the build up to the day then being hung-over Xmas day, eating and drinking with those you love! 

7. What has been the highlight of your whole career? Probably writing my album, and performing before royalty. I've done so much I never dreamt I would achieve and I look back smiling and look forward excited.

8. Have you ever been star struck when meeting a celebrity? Yes...first meeting Gary Barlow and Kelly Rowland. That was shockingly scary. Also when I met Lady Gaga that was crazy too, she gave us hair clips hahahah random.

9. If you could invite any 3 celebrities or famous people to dinner, who would they be? Chelsee Healey coz she's one of my good friends and a laugh, Stevie Wonder so I could tick off my bucket list of singing alongside him and Beyoncé because I've met Kelly and Michelle and it would be nice to have the full set. Hahahaha. 

10. Are you planning to release any more music? Yes, I've just signed my second record deal and I'm back in the studio as we speak, working on new acoustic tracks and some music that people wouldn't expect to come from me.

11. How does it feel going back into music? It’s very exciting.

12. 1500 meters of canvas, 30 kilos of glitter, 100 litres of paint, 24 metres of magic silk, 150 beanstalk leaves and a pantomime cow…how would you describe this year’s production of ‘Jack & the Beanstalk’? SPECTACULAR AND ITS GOING TO BE MAGICAL..... 

13. Do you have a message for all of your fans? Thank you for your never-ending support and I will continue to give 110% at everything I do! I love uyou and see you soon x

Book tickets here to see Marcus Collins as Jack in this year's Derby LIVE Christmas pantomime, 'Jack & The Beanstalk', starring alongside EastEnders and Your Face Sounds Familiar star, Cheryl Fergison. Don't miss this fantastic opportunity to make your Christmas special (from Wednesday 4 December 2013 - Thursday 5 January 2013).

Thursday, 7 November 2013

13 Questions with...Daisy Dance

She has had 2 singles which made The Official UK Top 40, she's toured with Girls Aloud, she's performed at Wembley and has been part of British girl band, Girls Can't Catch. Most of all, she has a very inspiring story. Here is...Daisy Dance!

1. Hello Daisy! Since leaving Girls Can't Catch, you have been working on your own solo music (which sounds absolutely phenomenal!) Tell us a bit about what you've been up to and recording in the studio. Hi Adam. Thank you!! Since the demise of, and also before GCC, I have, and always have thrown myself into writing, recording and performing when and where ever I can!! I'm currently working with Soulshakers and AudioFreaks (musical directors of the hit show 'The Big Reunion'). We've been creating music for the past 18 months. They have been writing and producing hits for over 10 years and together we have teamed up and written some incredible tracks, 3 of which have been signed! I'm also regularly performing in show bands and acoustic nights whenever I can. I go mad if I'm not gigging somewhere... anywhere! Music to me is a passion, it's as simple as that. I don't need to have all the airs and graces surrounding it, just as long as it's forever part of my life, i'm happy and fulfilled. 

2. How did it feel to record your very own album at the age of 15 and having one of your songs recorded by an urban producer which ran for Eurovision? I recorded my first album at 14!  I was spotted singing at a family BBQ by my first manager, Mark Stock. I remember being extremely nervous and shy. I'd been offered this huge opportunity, but looking back now I realise I was too young to fully understand the industry and also the songs I'd been given to record. I'm what you call a late developer. Some people are ready early on, I'm just about mentally and emotionally ready now and that reflects in the music I write.  

3. Is it true that Girls Can't Catch was originally going to be the name for The Saturdays? I was told by the label that Frankie from The Saturdays suggested 'Girls Can't Catch' as a potential name for them before they eventually became 'The Saturdays'. Shall I let you in on a little secret? I never liked the name 'Girls Can't Catch' I remember begging management at the time not to call us that! 

4. Who inspired you to become a singer? I come from a musical household where music, especially powerful female singers, were played daily.  Although my sister and my mum were not professional singers, they could both sing exceptionally well and at the time all I wanted was to sing as well as them.  

5. When was your first big performing experience? I spent my childhood living in Brighton with my mum. I went to Goldstone Primary School where I was picked to play Mary in the Rock Nativity Play. It was the story of Jesus with a rock n roll twist!! Throughout rehearsals I suffered from nerves and I was painfully shy, the teacher was concerned that vocally I was too quiet and wouldn't perform well.  However, on the night of our first performance, something happened when I got up in front of the audience. From nowhere this huge voice came out, and I felt alive.  I think I got a standing ovation. I knew from that day onwards I would be singer. 

6. Throughout your whole career, what has been the highlight? My absolute highlight was playing Wembley with my family in the supporting and watching in the audience. It doesn't get much better than that!!  

7. What was it like supporting Girls Aloud on their 'Out Of Control' arena tour in 2009? What was it like meeting them? I feel a little sad when I hear some of  songs Girls Aloud sang on that tour now. It was probably the happiest time of my life. My dad was alive, and I was living the dream. It's a time I will always remember and cherish but also never get back. The tour was magical, chaotic, scary, emotional, but above all an absolute joy. Girls Aloud and their dancers were nothing but friendly and welcoming. We were very lucky to have been a part of it. 

8. If you could duet with any artist, who would it be and why? Honestly, I'd love to do something with Phoebe Jo Brown! She is a great talent and we've always worked well on stage together. Since GCC, we have performed at parties for fun and theres always so much chemistry between us on stage together! You never know...

9. Have you ever been star struck when meeting a celebrity? If so, who was it? Yes, Beverly Knight. I don't tend to get star struck by 'celebrities' but I've always been a fan of Beverley Knight and I think she has a phenomenal voice! I'm in awe!  

10. If you could invite any 3 famous people in the world to a dinner party, who would they be? Hmmm, Theres a question!! Ok, off the cusp,  Cameron Diaz, because she seems like a laugh. Susan Sarandon, because I secretly wish she was my 2nd mum!  And either Jack Nicholson or Jeff Goldblum, both exceptional actors with quirky charisma, I'd like to ask them lots of questions and gain some kind of insight into how their fascinating minds work. 

11. If you weren't a singer, what would be your alternative career option? I'd be in charge of my own property business! 

12. Is there anywhere fans can hear some material you've released on the internet? Yes!! I've recently written and released a track called 'Take Me To Vegas' which you can buy on itunes now! I wrote it with Warren Myers (Soulshakers) and it was released under Black Hole Label. I currently have two more tracks pending release, Andi Durrant ft Daisy Dance 'Take Me Underground' and 'Delete' which is signed to Lifted House. You can also go onto my YouTube site, daisydanceofficial for music, videos, covers and updates!

13. When are you hoping to release your debut single? I'm writing and releasing music all the time under indie labels. It's not as extravagant as the GCC days but I'm fully in control of what I write and record. Creatively It's very satisfying and therapeutic. Of course there is always a small part of me that would like to create a big hit, I think every singer/songwriter wants that, we'll see...!! 

Thank you so much, Daisy! I had fun talking to you and I can't wait to hear your new material! 


Watch 'Echo' by Girls Can't Catch here:

Download 'Take Me To Vegas' by Daisy Dance here!

Take a look at Daisy's official YouTube channel here!

Hear 'I Am What I Am' by Daisy Dance here:

Monday, 2 September 2013

My Charity: ActionAid UK

Earlier this year, I asked Samantha which charity she would like me to support for the fundraising that I would be doing and she chose ActionAid UK. I am currently fundraising through my PR page for Samantha Womack - SamWomackWorld on Twitter. I will be giving away 5 pairs of tickets to see Samantha Womack (who will be returning to BBC week!) in The Marlowe Theatre's Christmas Pantomime this year - 'Jack & The Beanstalk'. Also, the first prize winner will get a pair of tickets and a chance to meet Samantha Womack at the post show party on the pantomime's press night on Tuesday 3 December 2013. ActionAid have kindly written up a blog post about my fundraising and competition (in partnership with The Marlowe Theatre, Kent).

Read ActionAid's blog post HERE!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

13 Questions with...Laura White

1. Hey Laura! Firstly, you have a sensational voice! What made you want to audition for The X Factor back in 2008? I had been performing for 6 years prior to auditioning for the show. I was in Mark Ronsons band and also on the e4 school of performing arts... and i had played festivals and gigs also trying to get my music out to as many people as possible. I felt i wanted to get my voice heard as i believed in my talent so much.
2. When will we be hearing new music from you? My EP is going to be released soon! i am so excited! pls keep on all my sites.., for all updates.
3. What made you choose 'Martha' as your new stage name? Martha is me, who i am as a person. An old soul who has a heart filled with soul/pop/blues music and i think Martha the artist reflects that. Also i have worked solidly as a writer/musician/ artist for ten years on creating my art and getting my work heard i guess i wanted to be Martha as i wanted to show i could stand alone, i dont feel i need any show or previous successes to carry my music to where i want it to go. I wanted to be brave and stand alone as an artist.
4. If you could tour with anyone, who would it be and why? i would tour with stevie wonder for music reasons.. or someone who interests me spiritually and in the mind i guess someone like Annie Lennox.. as she reaches out to me every time i see an interview of hers. I admire her mind, i think she is brave and so interesting as a person so i guess her as id like to learn from her. 
5. If you invite any 3 celebrities to dinner, who would they be? i love this! it would be jesus christ, muhammed ali and alicia keys.
6. How did it feel to perform new material at The Lowry Theatre earlier this year? the lowry was amazing, my material has progressed since then but i am so so proud my fans filled that venue for me. The day i found out i had sold out i was so happy i cried! I also loved my pianist played with me that day and hes been with me since i was 17 so i felt so proud we had played such a great venue together and reached a place i dreamed of playing.
7. As well as an amazing singer, you're also a great songwriter. If you could write a song for any artist, who would it be? Thank you so much! i would love to write for alicia keys, i know she writess for herself too but i do think my melodies i write are similar to hers so you never know! She could one day take one of my songs! 
8. Who is your biggest inspiration? i would say alicia keys.. she has kept her integrity, musicality, beauty in her heart, kept her freedom. All of these things are tough to hold onto and i think she has done this perfectly as well as producing some great work.  Also Aretha Franklin for her voice, her ability to make a song touch a heart is unbelievable every lyric she sings is just beautiful. 
9. How would you describe your new sound? i would say its real. Every song is an experience ive lived that day. Its pop, but with a vintage, soul sound that has maintained a young, honest lyric. Sometimes i may say things that maybe are unexpected but i like that because thats what im like in person! Its truthful. 
10.  Have you ever been star struck when meeting a celebrity? yes! i sang with james morrison, and 'real to me' was a song that really carried me through a manic period in my career so seeing him meant a lot to me. Also truthfully meeting simon cowell, we would have dinners together and i couldnt eat around him.. i just always wanted to meet an a n r who understood me and he always did and respected who i was and i guess him being simon made me even more nervous! 
11. If you weren't a singer, what would you be? i would write books! i am an absolute writer in my heart.. if i couldnt sing and write music i would write books!
12. What would be the top 5 songs in your playlist at the moment? my top 5 songs i'm listening to just now are 'ciara- im out' 'joni mitchell- a case of you' 'eg white 'adventure man' 'miguel- all i want is you' and i have ella fitzgerald nights where i play 'every time we say goodbye' .
13. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to be a singer? believe in yourself 100%, be truthful, be strong. Think about why you are making music.. the reason i want to make music is i want to change and help the world with what i bring. I think every person wanting to make music should also think about that. Also always go with your heart! 
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! I'm so excited to hear your new material. Good luck on everything!

I can't wait to hear Laura's new music. For anyone who doesn't know what 'Martha Friday's' are - where have you been? Every Friday, Martha uploads a cover to her YouTube channel. Don't forget to check them out! 

Here is one of my favourites: Martha covers 'Heart Attack' by Demi Lovato:

You can see more videos from Martha on her official YouTube channel here:

Follow Martha on Twitter here:

'Like' Martha on Facebook here:

Monday, 15 July 2013

13 Questions with...Liz McClarnon

1. Hello Liz! We've recently seen you back in Atomic Kitten in The Big Reunion series on ITV2 followed by a very successful nation-wide tour - what was it like being back on the road with Kerry and Natasha? Easier than I thought to be honest and I speak for all of us when I say that. We've all changed so much and we were all open about our worries but it's been such a laugh. It's been one big party for us.
2. We hope to see Atomic Kitten on their own tour very soon - is there any plans for this to happen? Not at the moment. There isn't enough time. But if we did, we'd go all out to make it a great experience for everyone.
3. Are their any plans to release new material by Atomic Kitten? We have recorded a little. It's been good being in the studio with the girls instead of being alone. 
4. You seem to have a great passion for cooking! What is your favourite recipe? For me it's not that a have a favourite recipe but rather making things up in the kitchen. The only time I follow a recipe is if I'm making a soufflé, you can't mess about with them. 
5. If you could take any 3 celebrities to dinner, who would they be? Dawn French, Debra Messing, Paul O'Grady. They're all so funny, we'd eat good food and laugh all night. 
6. What would you serve to impress at a dinner party? I don't like being the host at a dinner party, too much washing up. :) but If I do have them everyone usually wants the deconstructed beef Wellington that I won masterchef with so I've always got my own oxtail stock in the freezer ready to make the jus as that's the most laborious part of the dish.
7. You'll be opening a new restaurant in Liverpool very soon! When is this set to happen? It won't be soon sadly as I can't find the perfect venue. I'm really picky and it has to be right. Vibes are really important to me. I have to walk into a place even if it's derelict and get a feeling. It'll happen, but it hasn't yet. I'm already excited though.
8. You'll be back on screens this summer with a TV documentary, tell us a bit about what it's about. It's about cyber stalking. It's a tough one for me to talk about still and filming the doc was hard for me, plus hearing other people's stories too. 
9. Following your career for many years, I know you've done A LOT of great things. Would you ever write an autobiography? I'm proud of my life so far and my career but at the same time am quite private. There are a lot of things I'd like to put straight, somethings you read and think, that's not true but I think that's just part of this job. I wouldn't like to tell all in a book, for everyone to know everything about you. That'd be freaky. Ha 
10. Who inspired you to be the woman you are today? My mother is a very strong woman. I come from a family of strong females, that's all the inspiration I need. 
11. Would you like to return to theatre? Yes! I love it so much. My goal for a while now has been to play Glinda in Wicked. I love the theatre and I like that kind of character. She'd be amazing to play!
12. Have you got any solo music projects planned? There are a lot of things i think about like Country music it's my passion. I would love to be able to sing that all the time. I write still, I think I will always do that. 
13. You recently overcame your phobia of flying on ITV This Morning! That must have taken a lot of courage, what advice would you give to people with a phobia? I would tell them that I've discovered that a fear of something is not just about the fear itself, it develops because of other things that have happened in your life. So for me flying was never my favourite thing but my fear developed through something else that happened to me that had nothing to do with flying. Think about what that could be & you're on the first step of the ladder.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions! I can't wait to see what's next in your career. 
Apply now for a chance to WIN a Celebrity Recipe Collection, starring Liz McClarnon: