Tuesday 31 August 2010 | By Georgia Sharp
Denise Black: The Fringe’s loose woman
Probably best known for her role as temptress Denise Osbourne in ‘Coronation Street’, singer and actress Denise Black comes to Edinburgh to unleash her musical talents with her band The Loose Screw. Georgia Sharp met up with Denise to talk about life, work and the show.
GS: What’s your first love – music or acting?
DB: Both really; I’d be lost without either. Making music is perhaps a more joyful experience as acting is an odd discipline, but you learn a lot about other people by pretending to be someone else.
GS: How did you form The Loose Screw?
DB: The idea came about in 2006, but I didn’t meet my guitarist Graeme Taylor until 2008. Playing with him reminded me of my early days busking with another guitarist called Max Moonlight. We wondered what he was up to, so we tracked him down – and now we’re altogether! It’s wonderful; like two different times in my life have conjoined to produce something heartfelt.
GS: You’re also in ‘Calendar Girls’ in Glasgow at the moment too – how are you coping?
DB: By burning the candle at both ends! I’ve been working seven days a week since April. It’s intense, but I’ve known for a long time that it would be. I have a lot of love and support from people, my husband’s been so encouraging, and the ‘Calendar Girls’ cast came to see my first show!
GS: Most people probably know you best from your television roles – have you been recognised a lot in Edinburgh?
DB: Yes – we busked on the Royal Mile stage the other day, and we attracted the biggest crowd there’s ever been! People literally did a double take when they saw me – they don’t realise I was a singer for eight years before I became an actress. I’ve come here to say I want to be both!
GS: Who are your musical influences?
DB: It’s taken me a long time to find my feet musically. I was a very musical kid and growing up I was probably most influenced by New Orleans jazz, people like Ella Fitzgerald. For me, music is chemistry – putting great musicians together and seeing what happens.
GS: How would you describe your style of music, and your show?
DB: Well, according to my London soundman, it’s ‘Tarantino Chic’! I’d probably describe it as ‘heart-pumping’, but I still don’t know what genre it is, ‘Gypsy Pop’ perhaps? We’re just gaining an identity now – that’s what Edinburgh is all about; the show is a ‘music party’ really. I’m passionate about making original music, but we do covers too. We also have surprise guests on the show; well-known artists and young people just starting out. And because we’re on so late, it’s not polished – it’s raw, spontaneous excitement!
GS: What’s your audience demographic?
DB: It’s a funny mixture, last night we had a bevy of beautiful girls in, much to the band’s delight! And they were all drinking champagne – much to my delight! Another evening we had two twenty-first birthday parties in – and their parents too. So it’s roughly a twenty to sixty age range, which is incredibly broad.
GS: Is music your main focus now, or will you continue to juggle it alongside acting?
DB: I’ll juggle both – life is a juggling act! And now my children are grown up I can manage it.
GS: Finally, what’s your biggest achievement to date?
DB: Having my kids. The most exciting thing you can do is make babies! I used to be a workaholic and thought my career was the most important thing, then I realised I had it the wrong way round. They’ve just left home so now ‘The Loose Screw’ is my cure for an empty nest!
Denise Black performed at Pleasance at Ghillie Dhu during Fringe 2010.