ROB’S INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR JACKIE RAWE
This interview with Jackie Rawe, a musical artist of some note, was put together by HINRG Rob who is a long-term fan and music aficionado.
1 Can you please give us some background information?
I was born in Bow in the East End of London, I was one of four children with an older sister and younger brother and sister who are twins. Most of my family could sing but would never do it in public, I became the only professional singer in the family.
2 Jackie can you please tell your fans how you got started in the music industry?
My neighbour at the time was the one who got me into singing, she used to tell me I had a good voice and had faith in me. I never dreamed I’d be a singer, I’d never even thought about it although I used to sing in the school choirs and always sang along to the tv adverts as a kid.
After I left school and started working in an office, my neighbour rang a voice coach and over the phone, played him a recording of me singing from her cassette player, he told us to come along so he could hear me properly. For 6 months we travelled from Bow all along the district line to Ealing every Saturday and had a 30 minute singing lesson. I used to sing old standards as he had a pianist that couldn’t play the current pop material lol. After 6 months I gained the confidence in my own voice and started going for auditions. My uncle was a jazz singer and he also encouraged me when he knew I was into singing. My first professional job was with The Ross Mitchell band and we had a 1 year residency at the Locarno Ballroom in Portsmouth.
3 Your breakthrough hit I believe in dreams was originally called A lovers theme and it was released in 1979 by Ellie Warren. Are you aware of this version?
Yes, I am aware of that version and I also know Ellie very well. My second singing job after the Ross Mitchell Band was with a band called the Ray McVey band, they had a residency in London’s Leicester Square. Ellie was the main female singer when I joined and I looked up to her, she was an amazing singer and a great performer.
4 I believe in dreams was released in 1985 on Fanfare Records which was run by Simon Colwell. Any memories of him?
I met Simon a few times and he was very down to earth. I met him again in the early 90’s as I was a songwriter for Warner Chappell Publishing and Simon and I had a meeting with a view to one of his artist covering a song of mine. I also did an audition for the X Factor and performed for the judges but Simon had forgotten who I was, I don’t blame him, it was a long time ago lol.
5 You released a single called Love bites back in 1985 under the name of Jane Spring. Why was it not released under your own name?
The name they used was not down to me and I don’t recall why they didn’t want to use my name, it’s interesting actually as they did organise a photo session and they used my picture on the record cover and I still have a copy of that single, it was a good photo as well. I’ll see if I can dig it out for the article.
6 You also released another single in 1985 called Heartbeat under the name Rawe deal on Zafiro Records Spain. It was released by Passion Records in the UK. It is rare and I have not heard it yet. Any memories of this song?
I don’t remember anything about this track at all lol! Passion Records were in the same office as the Shakatak management so they knew me and I was one of the original singers with Shakatak from 1979 to 1983. Nigel Wright the co-owner of Skratch Music, producer and one of the original members of Shakatak was always coming up with different projects which Passion Records were involved in and I sang on a few tracks for him. Sometimes you just take the money and run as the saying goes. It’s part of the life of a session singer.
7 From 1986-1990 I believe that you were in the groups Midnight Sunrise and Massivo. Can you tell us anything about them?
To be honest Midnight Sunrise wasn’t actually a group. The main man was Ian Levine and I used to do a lot of work for Ian as a session singer, singing background vocals on tons of his records. He wrote the track ‘On The House’ which he wanted me to sing and we had a photo session and did a video. I think I was just paid a fee for that record and some friends of Ian’s joined us for the photo shoot and the video, It was a put together kind of thing that was never going to tour. If the record would have become a hit I would have probably gone out on my own to do the PA’s. By the way I dyed my hair blond for that video and we dressed as gangsters and gangsters molls, it was good fun.
Massivo were a team of writer/producers with Steve McCutheon as the main man. I knew Steve because of my Shakatak days, his father was Les McCutheon who co-owned Scratch Music and co-produced all the early Shakatak records back in the early 80’s. Steve asked me to go in the studio to write a track and we wrote a song called ‘Kingdom of Love’, I liked that track a lot.
8 You have worked with the best UK hi-nrg labels including Almighty, Passion and Nightmare Records. Did you ever record for Klone or Energise?
No not for those 2 companies although in the last 2 years I’ve met Gary from Energise and he has suggested that maybe we could do something so who knows what’s around the corner.
9 There is a rumour that you provide the vocals for a hit by Capella. Is this true?
Yes, I sang a track called ‘Move it up’ although not sure if it was actually a hit or not. Interesting job, I was asked to go to Italy to record the track, stayed over just one night, recorded the vocal, then got a flight home. No royalties just a session fee on that one. I wasn’t even told what my vocal was being used for, I found out some time later when someone asked me “Is that your voice on the Cappella record”, so I checked it out and low and behold!
10. Apart from I believe in dreams, you are best known for your work with Almighty Records under many different names. I believe that you recorded about 50 tracks with them including remixes of I believe in dreams. Anything that you wish to share about this period?
I’ve had many great periods in my life and I’ve been very lucky with the work situations I have attracted, and the people I’ve met and worked with. Working for Almighty was one of those great periods, they gave me a lot of work most of it on a session basis but I’m very grateful for the experience I gained and obviously for the bills that got paid lol. I never had any notice of what I was going to be recording, I’d go in and Jon Dixon would play me the original record, then we would find a key that worked well for my voice and I’d start recording, sometimes a line or a couple of lines at a time if I’d never heard the song before. I spent more time with Jon Dixon than anyone else when I worked for Almighty Records. Jon produced most of the records I sang on and he is an excellent producer and engineer and very hard worker but he didn’t get credited for his work. Even though he stopped working for Almighty many years back he still books me for sessions and his most recent project that I sang on was an album and tv show with Jane McDonald.
11 Can you remember the names of the background vocalists on I believe in dreams original and remixes?
Yes, ‘Jackie Rawe’ lol, I did all the background vocals and the lead vocals on both the Almighty and Fanfare versions.
12 I know that you have worked with 3 of the Almighty vocalists Jill Saward, Tracey Ackerman and Belle Laurence. Do you happen to know any of the other singers such as Hannah Jones Tessa Niles Linda Taylor Miriam Stockley and Juliette James?
I know Tessa Niles, Linda Taylor & Miriam Stockley very well.
13 is there any unreleased songs hidden in the vaults that your fans won’t be aware of?
Not that I know of.
14 Did you provide background vocals on any Hi-nrg songs for example Ian Levine productions or Almighty Records?
Yes, absolutely tons for Ian Levine this was another great period in my life and a lot for Almighty but more lead vocals for Almighty. I sang my own background vocals on the records I made for Almighty. I also sang a lot of backing vocals on pop records including Boyzone, Geri Halliwell, Dannii Minogue, Louise Rednapp and the Honeyz just to name a few.
15 You are a very famous backing singer for artists such as Celine Dion Elton John and Dead or Alive. Any stories that you wish to share with us?
Back in the late 70’s early 80’s I toured with Sheena Easton, it was through Sheena that I met her producer Chris Neil. Chris booked me for a lot of background vocal sessions, he produced Think Twice for Celine and Walking in Memphis for Cher and I sang background vocals on both of those records. He also booked me for sessions with Mike and the Mechanics, Godley and Cream and asked me to sing a duet with Paul Carrack which was called ‘When You Walk in The Room’ released in 1987. Paul made a video but I wasn’t used in the video, someone is miming to my voice. Most of the time when you’re working for A list artists like that, you don’t get to meet them. The instruments and backing vocals are recorded first then the artist comes in at a later stage to record their vocals, so I didn’t meet Celine or Cher but I did meet Mike Rutherford and Paul Carrack.
I met one of the guys from Dead or Alive but it wasn’t Pete Burns and it was so long ago that I don’t remember who it was. My friend Tracey Ackerman who you mentioned earlier used to do the Dead or Alive sessions but she wasn’t available for that session so she recommended me.
I met Elton when I sang on ‘Something About The Way You Look Tonight’, he is a very down to earth guy and I felt privileged to meet him and to sing on his record.
I’ve also sung background vocals for Tom Jones on a live TV show called Viva Cabaret and on live gigs with Eric Clapton and Roger Daltrey.
My voice was featured on a record by ‘The Streets’ called ‘Blinded by The Lights’. I sang on a few albums for Mike Skinner and the first time I worked with him he was making records in his bedroom and I sang in the wardrobe that was built into the alcove of the room, (next best thing to a vocal booth lol).
There are many more artists I’ve worked for in a live and recording situation, too many to mention in this interview but there is a list of credits on my website: www.jackierawe.com
16 I was lucky enough to see you live in concert twice. In Manchester and in London and you were absolutely amazing. Have you any plans for some more gigs on the gay scene?
There are no pa’s in the diary on the gay circuit currently. I still sing every weekend in London and surrounding areas doing mostly soul and Motown.
17 Is there anything else to share with your fans?
I have been very blessed to have a singing career spanning 41 years (at the time of this interview) and to have travelled the globe touring with different artists. I love singing and to have my voice recorded on so many records either lead or background vocals has been such a gift to me and my legacy to the world.
18 Finally is it possible that you can list your Almighty Records songs? And which hold the best memories for you. My favourites are I believe in dreams and Unbreak my heart. . .
Jackie Rawe Lead Vocals for Almighty Records 1993-2011
I Believe in Dreams
Respect featuring Jackie Rawe:
Deja Vu featuring Tasmin:
Un-Break My Heart
To Deserve You
I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing 1998
My Heart Will Go On
When You Say Nothing At All 1999
If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time 1999
Get to You
Against All Odds
No Rhyme No Reason
Hold Your Head Up High 2000
Rhythm and Rule
The Measure of A Man
Leave Right Now
All This Time
That’s My Goal
You Raise Me Up
The Best I Can Do
Somewhere Only We Know 2006
This is The Last Time
Who’s That Girl:
La Isla Bonita
Like A Prayer
Live To Tell
Open Your Heart To Me 2000
The Power Of Goodbye
What It Feels Like For A Girl 2000
Back To Basic:
Please Forgive Me
The Dream Girls:
Year Of Decision
Hot and Steamy
2 Hope 4:
O Lucky You
Wake Up Boo
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us
You’re very welcome, and thank you for asking me.