As a child, Rose-Marie remembers singing ‘Danny Boy’ to her very first audience in Newry, Northern Ireland – the cows on her parents farm as she milked them! A captive audience, it was during this time, she set her heart on becoming a singer but ‘not just any singer, I wanted to be a female version of Tom Jones,’ a singer & entertainer.
However, as her parents wanted their daughter to get a proper job, she tried her hand at hairdressing but accidentally cut off a piece of a woman’s ear so that was the end of that career. As Rose-Marie herself says ‘I wasn’t cut out for it!’. She may be just 5 foot 3 inches tall but, put her on a stage with her high-octane voice and zany sense of humour, and Rose-Marie has the audience eating out of her hand. She’s been hailed as ‘The Irish Bette Midler’ and is sometimes so reluctant to leave the stage that she goes back on with a broom to sweep up as the audience are leaving so as to get an extra laugh!
With current record sales of over 17 million records, all 20 of her album releases going to gold and platinum status, Rose-Marie is still busy performing her live shows across the UK, Ireland, Europe and also America. In fact, Rose-Marie is one of only a handful of UK female artists with a strong enough repertoire to pull in audiences for a one-woman show in the British Isles,Europe and also Las Vegas, from where she recently returned after 5 years.
So what happened after she left the cows and the hairdressing fiasco behind? Rose-Marie followed the well-worn road to London to find the streets weren’t paved with gold but she grafted earning her craft and honing her act in Working Men’s clubs up and down the country and moved to Blackpool joining the ranks of other singers hoping to be discovered. Her big break came with an appearance before 15 million viewers on ITV’s ‘Search for a Star’ although our heroine didn’t do the usual ‘this is my dream moment’ chat with the host afterwards. Instead she joked about Ireland’s biggest ever showbiz export quipping ‘people keep mistaking me for Terry Wogan in drag!’ The audience loved it and agents were straight on the phone the next day. Her dulcet tones and ability to send herself up (without even trying) meant Rose-Marie went on to become a household name on the very popular Lenny Bennett Saturday night primetime gameshow ‘Punchlines.’
The Rose-Marie story continued….
Rose-Marie has picked up awards for National Female Singer of the Year, Best International Concert Star, Best New Country Artist Las Vegas and Most Popular Singer at the International Music Awards. And the hit albums kept coming. She has also hosted her own BBC radio series and, when BBC Radio 2 made a documentary about the Travelling community, Rose-Marie was entrusted with exclusive access to their homes to interview the Travellers as many are huge fans. Then, Rose-Marie spent two series on the judging panel of BBC talent series ‘Go For It’. An appearance on cult BBC comedy series ‘Shooting Stars’ impressed hosts Vic and Bob so much they invited Rose-Marie to join them on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo for the live shows.
Next, Rose-Marie played the role of Mrs Johnson in ‘Blood Brothers’ for Bill Kenwright to rave reviews. A special guest role followed in BBC drama ‘Doctors’ followed by a part in movie ‘Cold Fish’ and the role of Barbara Cassidy in musical ‘The Eva Cassidy Story’ but Hollywood beckoned…so Rose-Marie packed her bags and headed to California to set up home. She decided to follow in the footsteps of Halle Berry, learning her acting craft at the Ivana Chubbuck School. In a rare moment where she managed to overcome her usual shyness(!), Rose-Marie ended up befriending John Travolta who helped set up some meetings and auditions for her including ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and ‘The West Wing’ where she met Sally Field and Rob Lowe.
After a few years in Hollywood, a dream came true for Rose-Marie when she was asked to perform in Las Vegas. She went on to win a Best New Entertainer award in the toughest of towns to crack and appeared on stage with legends such as Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and, the man who first inspired, Tom Jones.
An appearance by Rose-Marie on ‘Big Brother’s Little Brother’ left Dermot O’Leary speechless with her accordian version of the ‘Big Brother’ theme and breathless after she got him to Riverdance with her as the credits rolled!
Rose-Marie is delighted to be back in the UK and has moved to her spiritual home of Blackpool. She has enjoyed platinum sucess with her most recent release ‘Songs from my Mother’, ‘Songs from the Blitz’ & ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Songbook’ containing her hits most requested by the Travelling community. She tries hard to fit in her charity work as an honorary Lady Taverner and as a member of the Grand Order of Lady Ratlings, of whom the Princess Royal is a patron. And there are still a couple of ambitions to tick off her list – a duet with Cher or Michael Buble, an ‘Audience With’ style TV special and to star in a comedy movie alongside her heroine Bette Midler.