Hello Rosie, so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking?
Hey Mumble! Well I was born and bred in the land of roundabouts (the beautiful Milton Keynes) in Buckinghamshire and I loved it so much there I decided to move Edinburgh, which is where I now live and call home.
When did you first realise you could sing?
I was a late bloomer. I’d say I didn’t realise I could sing until my early teens. It was my own little secret, I wouldn’t dare sing in front of people. I always wanted to perform from a young age but I actually wanted to be a dancer for a long time – which is HILARIOUS if you’ve ever seen me dance…
You have toured the UK and Europe as a vocalist and actress in musicals, plays, cabaret and concerts. Why have you suddenly decided to go solo?
Well, being your own boss and playing by your own rules is so much fun, if a bit stressful. It’s just me until I hit the stage when I’m joined by my lovely musical director, Douglas Price (who is so awesome I genuinely can’t believe my luck)! I just want to sing what I enjoy singing, say what I want to say, be playful and have fun. I just fancy doing my own thing for a little while. If you want to do what you truly enjoy, you have to start by making it happen on your own, right? At the moment my only choice is to do that solo. No one knows who I am yet and hopefully by the end of August I’ll meet some people who understand me, where I’m coming from and humour me in spite of it. I’m finding myself again but it’s a newer more interesting me and I’d like to share that with people.
This will be your debut show at the Fringe. What have you been led to expect what will happen during the month-long mash-up by other performers?
I’ve actually found people keeping their cards closer to their chests then I thought they would. So I’m currently expecting to see what the minions in my head are showing me and it’s colourful I’ll tell you that! I’ve ordered as many pairs of support pants and eyelashes my bank account will allow. I’m going to put my heart and soul into the experience and let the universe do the rest.
Can you tell us about your act?
I try to bring an element of different styles of music that I enjoy from Musical Theatre to Pop. I’m naturally a lyrical soprano who might sing eight bars of gangster rap, just because. As a person my outer layer is Disney Princess but the core of my onion is a massive chav and yes I’m singing ‘The Girl in 14G’ right now but at 5am you can see me bumping and grinding to old school garage in a warehouse that’s been turned into a nightclub for the night. Cabaret legend Jamie Anderson described my show as ‘The Voice of an Angel, Mouth of a Sailor’ at Cabaret Confidential back in February. So take from that what you will!
What does Rosie Houlton like to do when she’s not being all musical?
I love love love to eat cheese, and travel, preferably at the same time! Japan has had a big effect of my life, which you can find more about in my show. There’s still a lot more places I need to visit and I’m getting through them one pair of sequined sliders at a time. I also spend hours watching videos of fat cats, baby goats and chowchow puppies rolling around.
Storytelling at the piano is a classic art-form, who are your inspirations?
I like to story tell, next to, the piano (haha). There is usually someone talented and amazing sat at it, so I get to watch them safely from afar. You know I’m actually just starting to learn who my inspirations are because putting on my own show is very new to me. I trained in Musical Theatre so obviously I could name some awesome artists who sing and entertain like Christina Bianco, Kristin Chenoweth and Bette Midler, which is the tiniest tip of the iceberg.
I grew up travelling in the circus with Daddy Houlton (Cousin Timoni is his official clown name) and I think that’s where my roots lie in terms of how I set up my stories and I like to say the unexpected. I’m always learning, all the time and I watch a huge amount of stand up and many sitcoms. I love all sorts of humour from the likes of Kevin Hart, Larry David and Katherine Ryan. They’re all completely different but more importantly they all teach you to just be yourself and then find a structure within that which works well for you. I’m never trying to be a stand up. I’m a singer at heart but these people help me to understand comedic storytelling. I could give you a massive list of vocalists who I truly admire but we’d be here for hours.
I would be nowhere without the composers of the songs I use … NOWHERE! It blows my mind how these beautiful people just create these amazing songs. I’ve done a lot of work in helping composers develop new musical theatre so I try to bring in a song or two from writers who aren’t as well known to show off their talents.
Your subject matter, storywise, is a little risque, perhaps. Whyever did you choose this particular route & what do your parents think?
Well I found starting with ‘facts about me’ was a subject I already knew about and a great way to introduce myself to the festival for the first time. I have quite a blunt sassy humour. Although I’m just telling facts about myself because I’m very dry, honest and open, it can be taken as quite risqué which doesn’t really match my cute name and appearance and so people don’t exactly expect it from me. I’m a fan of innuendo but sometimes I don’t leave much to the imagination. I’ve always laughed through my hardships and when I’m telling stories about my personal life, I suppose it just comes out that way. My dad is a circus clown and my mum is a psychic so they’ve got some stories themselves to be fair. They are my best friends and they know me better than anyone else. There’s nothing I could bring up that they don’t already know…
What will Rosie Houlton be doing for the rest of 2017?
I will be doing more ‘Rosie Sings’ Cabaret shows at the Dirty Martini in the Le Monde Hotel here in Edinburgh. I’m also planning on taking my show to Milton Keynes where it all began. You can always see me bobbing about singing at various cabarets at The Ghillie Dhu in Edinburgh and the Corinthian Club in Glasgow. I’ll then be running off to Panto Land to play Princess Jill in Jack and The Beanstalk at Rotherham Civic Theatre this Christmas and New Year (the sailor mouth will be truly locked away for that I promise)! And of course eating cheese whilst travelling.
Rosie will be strutting her stuff this August
@ Fingers Piano Bar
Aug 5-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-27 (15.10)