PERKY popstrel SONIA still loves performing her hits to crowds at festivals and retro gigs most weekends - and now she gets to take her daughter along on her “happy holidays”. CATRIONA REEVES spoke to her ahead of the Henley Rewind festival.
CATRIONA REEVES: Of course I love all your hits - I’m just the right age - but don’t you get a bit bored of singing them?
SONIA EVANS: Not at all! Gigging is my life, and I’m very lucky to have a job I love. My husband is my tour manager, and our little girl, who has just turned three, comes with us to gigs, wearing her ear defenders. She loves our weekends touring the country - she calls them our “happy holidays”.
Festivals such as Rewind are like a massive party. I did my first one in Bradford in May, and it was amazing; thousands of people singing my songs word-for-word.
CR: You were part of the Stock Aitken & Waterman Hit Factory - do you have fond memories of those years?
SE: I was only 17 when I got signed and 18 when I had my first hit. I had an amazing time travelling the world and staying in the best hotels. My first time on Top of the Pops was a dream come true. I was part of a team with Kylie, Jason and Rick Astley - of course I loved every minute of it!
CR: What did you think of Dawn French’s ultra-bubbly impression of you in a French & Saunders sketch?
SE: At the time I was a bit embarrassed, but now I’m quite cool with it - they only did impressions of people who were mega famous, so it was actually very flattering, and she looked like me! I actually met Dawn sometime later - I was at a Stonewall gig, and Paul O’Grady told me that Dawn was hiding from me in the toilets because she was scared of what I’d say!
CR: Ah yes, Paul O’Grady - as “Bunty” you are the daughter of his alter-ego Lily Savage. Are you two really good buddies?
SE: Oh yes - Paul is such a lovely guy; we can talk for hours, and I adore his dog buster. I once went on his Radio Two show - we were so busy gassing that we got told off by his manager! We’d almost forgotten that we were on the radio, and no one else would have a clue what we were on about; we were just catching up!
I had a ball with Lily Savage. It all started with a four-month run in Blackpool - I wasn’t a character, it was just Lily, and then I came on and sang during the show. But during that run, Bunty was born.
We went on to do a tour, and a show for the BBC with Lily and Bunty. I really enjoyed it - I did a drama degree, so I love acting. I do panto every Christmas - I’ve done 14 altogether. This year I’m going to be the Good Fairy in Jack & the Beanstalk in New Brighton, on the Wirral. I think my favourite was Peter Pan. I took to flying really quickly!
I’d like to get into TV drama in the future, maybe have a part in a soap. I’d love to play a real cow - a character that people wouldn’t expect!
* Sonia plays Rewind, The 80s Festival on Sunday, August 18 at Temple Island Meadows, Henley-on-Thames. For information, visit www.rewindfestival.com
- First published in the Newbury Weekly News on August 15, 2013