Back in the 1980’s, pop siblings Five Star were one of the biggest names in British pop. Superstars of their generation, their career was a rollercoaster of hit singles and albums, world tours, TV appearances as well as the trials and tribulations of growing up as a family in front of the world.
It’s now forty years since Five Star first exploded onto the scene with each of the five going on their own separate journey. For one of the five, Deniece Pearson, that journey has taken her into theatre, motherhood and now her own solo career. Having dropped a taster of her upcoming new solo album in the form of new single “Forever Young”, along with a number of live dates in the diary including September 29 at Butlins Bognor Regis plus, on September 30, a 5 Star 40th Anniversary Special at Pizza Express Live, Deniece has plenty to chat about.
Ahead of the upcoming anniversary shows, we spoke to Deniece about her upcoming plans, the anniversary shows and what important lessons she has learned.
1. Let’s start with the main thing the 40th anniversary of Five Star…
“We’ve already had one date and that sold out very, very quickly. It was fantastic. We had it filmed. This is going to be the same, same concept, it’s going to be all the hits, live band everybody gets a complimentary drink, photo, and they get to meet me in my dressing room and take selfies together. It was just such a phenomenal night, everybody had the same energy, just beautiful and I’m expecting the same. I’m on top of the world.”
2. Other than Five Star you have your own solo single out as well so exciting times ahead…
“I’m just getting started with the new single, branching off and doing my own little thing, you know? I’ve always wanted to do it over the years, so yeah, it is very exciting times for me right now.”
3. You said this is something you’ve wanted to do over the years, but why is now the right time?
“I think I was always a late starter, a late bloomer. What 16 year olds were doing, I was probably doing at 19 and then catching up. I guess we grew up and got married and I had my kids in Los Angeles, came back, did some theatre. I’ve been doing the the music thing and, yeah, with the theatre shows and the Pantos and things. I’ve still been consistently out there, but now it’s like, okay, let’s get a record done. 40 years on, I’ve started.”
4. How do you feel putting out a solo album which is very focussed on you?
“I love it because I know the emails that I have and from the shows that I do, the amount of love that has been shown. I know that they love what I do. So, this time this album that I’m putting together, I’m writing and producing which I’ve always loved doing. So, fingers crossed, everybody will love it.”
5. Just going back, when you started the group back in 1983, did it ever cross your mind that it would even be a thing 40 years later, let alone selling out shows?
“It didn’t cross my mind, but it’s inevitable because it’s my passion. I’ve always wanted to do it, and it just feels natural. It’s not second nature, first nature, it’s my core. That being said, I’m very grateful that I’m still here.”
6. Going back though to the very beginning, you were the youngest British act to have a number one album. Looking back on that whole period, what do you remember about it?
“It was great. It was great working with my brothers and sisters and Mummy and Daddy just, you know, packing up food and going on the road and going really, really early to BBC, Top of the Pops and running around the dressing room, switching off the lights and bumping into each other, eating the food that mummy prepared and then going all serious and performing, getting into our costumes. It took all day, and it was wonderful, still being in school and doing all this.”
7. How did you juggle that? That must have been quite a challenge to juggle school and being one of the most popular British pop bands around?
“I was just so happy to be out of school. I like school, but just to hand in that note and say, “Miss, can I leave early, I need to be on Wogan tonight”, or “I need to be on Saturday Night TV”. Everyone was like, “Oh my God, did you see Pearson on Wogan yesterday night?” so I became, well, the popularity was really great. It upped my profile at school.”
8. On the flip side of that, when you went your separate ways, being that it was a family group, how difficult was that?
“Well, it happened so many times throughout our lives. Like, get drunk on Christmas and talk about getting back together and then, don’t do it, do it. Then there was four, and then there was three, and then… I think that in a family group, it takes its course in that way but, somehow, we all wind up back together again at some point.”
9. You carried on though. You didn’t step away from music apart from when you said you had your children. What was it like making that transition from being in such a high profile group, to being a solo artist doing theatre and doing all that?
“I think theatre helped me a lot because I had to learn to work with a group of strangers, and I couldn’t step out of my mark as we were in the group. I think it helped me a lot because I was on my own, in a way, not with my brothers and sisters. It’s a branch out on your own. So I slowly progressed, and then I did panto, and I was learning lines, it was a whole load of fun.
Then, over the years, just doing things on my own, I slowly transitioned. Now I do festivals, the Five Star shows, I have two dancers and I’m singing Five Star songs and the audiences are loving it. It just gives me that confidence to move to the next level, which is releasing my own material.”
10. You did a lot of things as a child, like going on Wogan and Top of the Pops, that really are bucket list moments especially for somebody of my age. What are your ambitions now?
“Interior design. I’d love to do interior design. I’d love to expand my brand actually. My branding is the DP logo. I want to expand that and to get into clothing. I’d love to get into clothing.”
11. It must’ve been a crazy time when you first started Five Star. Looking at young artists nowadays, what advice would you give somebody starting out?
“The advice that I would give them is to just be yourself. There is going to be a lot of people who are going to try and change you or to put you in certain categories or to split you up and put you with this and that and the other. That there are the negatives and the positives. Just be yourself be your authentic self.”
12. On that note, what do you think of the new breed of pop artists? People like Billie Eilish or Lady Gaga? Do you follow the current pop scene?
“I make it a point not to watch TV. I haven’t watched TV in about a year and a half. If I need a movie, I’ll just put on my Netflix. I just write my music. I think there’s a lot of negativity in in life what we’ve been fed through certain radio and TV channels. I like to bespoke my life the way that I like it to be.”
13. One of the things that’s come up quite a bit is attitudes to women in the music industry, things like festival headliners. Have attitudes changed? What was it like when you started?
“I don’t think it raised itself because Five Star wasn’t either being a female or a male because our group is female and male so they just loved that we were different from the other 80s groups because we did the routines and everything was just different and the kids really loved it. They had something to learn. They had someone to follow, join the fan club, all of that.”
14. I couldn’t do the moves then and I definitely can’t now! The solo album is out in 2024. What else does next year hold in store for you?
“Hopefully everything will broaden a lot more. Hopefully there’s a Christmas single coming for sure. Loads more shows and lots more songs recorded and lots more albums to come.”
15. In terms of the 40th anniversary, is there anything else Five Star related planned?
“I think we’re, we are looking into putting together a Christmas show for the end of the year, to mark the whole 40th anniversary and then it’s onwards and upwards.”
16. Just to wrap up then. Throughout all your theatre and your panto work and the music industry and everything you’ve experienced, what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?
“To just be myself. And to have fun. That’s the most important thing, to help each other and to just share the love and, and brighten anyone’s day that you can brighten. Brighten it because life is too short.”
Catch her live across the UK on the following dates:
September 29th – Butlins, Bognor Regis
September 30 – London – 5 Star 40th Anniversary Special Pizza Express Live
October 19 – Butlins Minehead
November 3rd – Butlins, Bognor Regis – Absolute 80s Weekender
November 25th – Butlins, Skegness – Absolute 80s Weekender
January 21st 2024 – Butlins Bognor
For all of Deniece’s latest news and tour dates visit her Official Website.