In New Zealand, as a new millennium dawned, I took my first steps into the professional singing world as a classical cross-over artist and enjoyed a career bursting with variety. I cut my own path, avoiding academic training and endless auditions by creating one-woman shows, and working with a vocal tutor who understood my passion and appetite to sing in a variety of styles and convince in all I do. I am firstly an entertainer who thrives on the rapport I create with an audience. Perhaps it stems from the ‘only child syndrome’, but I don’t apologise for the need to be centre stage! I cut my teeth and developed my craft on the paying audience and have been incredibly fortunate to have had a wealth of concert and festival promoters who believed in me and embraced my creative visions.
In 2008 I was set a challenge to create a new show and by coincidence I was also invited to sing at the world renowned Napier Art Deco Festival, thus Forget-Me-Not was born! Having always had a love for period style, with many of my shows infused with a 50s vintage twist, I was delighted to rewind back a few more decades to the 20s and 30s. The ‘Deco’ years fascinate me – the ‘bright young things’ high on life, the iconic design touching every facet of how we lived, the freedom women were experiencing for the first time, and of course the music! My first appearance at Napier led to another three years of sell-out shows and a subsequent six month residency in the iconic Masonic Hotel entertaining international cruise ship visitors to the famous Art Deco city. Meanwhile with my now husband and accompanist by my side I began working both in the UK and New Zealand, not only developing Forget-Me-Not and her period repertoire, but also accruing a growing collection of original Art Deco clothes, jewellery and accessories!
In summer 2013 we relocated back to the UK permanently and moved into our beloved Tudor house in Sussex. I love being a cabaret artiste and dabbling in the more risqué and cheeky side of performance. Comediennes were popular in the day and it is thrilling to dust off the covers and breath new life into songs such as Bad, Bad Woman, written in 1928 and performed by American comedienne Dora Maughan.
Forget-Me-Not’s greatest asset is ‘Pauly,’ my husband. Paul Lewis is a renowned British composer who grew up hearing his professional musical family still playing the repertoire of the Art Deco period. Paul writes period-style cabaret songs for Forget-Me-Not, and as a couple we believe we evoke a performance style long forgotten. Give us a stage and a piano (we have our own if needed) – and the scene is set! We dress in period costume – Paul even has original spectacles – and we endeavour to take our audiences back in time and share the fascinating history of the songs, their composers and performers. If you are looking for authentic 1920s and 30s entertainment you have come to the right place!
“You transported me into another world, which was so nostalgically evocative that I lost for a while all sense of where I was or when or how!”
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