I’ve sacrificed everything for my career...even having children, says Jane McDonald as she parepares for Westcliff show (From Echo)
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I’ve sacrificed everything for my career...even having children, says Jane McDonald as she parepares for Westcliff show
JANE McDonald fell in love in her teens and the butterflies and excitement have never waned.
But it wasn’t a man she fell in love with, it was thrill of singing and performing.
Jane says she has sacrificed everything for her career, including having children. “Men have come and gone, but my career has always remained,” says Jane, ahead of her show at the Cliffs Pavilion next month.
“I have sacrificed absolutely everything for this job, everything you can imagine. Honestly, the amount of times I have put my house up for collateral on a new album or tour. I could have only done that because I didn’t have a family to look after.”
Jane’s dedication to her work has been rewarded with absolute loyalty from her devoted fans.
She sells out tours and legions of fans follow her around the country to sit in the front row of her shows.
She says: “I see all the same faces each time in the front row. I love waving to them and asking them how they’re getting on.
“They really do know me, because I have always just been myself since I started out. I don’t have to be two different people.
“I have written a new song about my fans for this tour. Honestly, there isn’t a dry eye in the house when I sing it. They mean so much to me.”
Jane, who rose to fame after her appearance on the BBC show the Cruise in 1998, has seen her devotion come at a price and says she made a conscious decision not to have a family.
She says: “There is so much good work out there for women with families. Be a singer on the weekend, rather than pursue it full time, because I have to be honest with you, it’s not easy.
“I hear again and again on X Factor them saying ‘oh, I’m doing this for my three-year-old’. I think to myself ‘don’t do it for your three-year-old. Be at home and look after your three-year-old’.
“For me, it was an easy decision to not have children, because I knew I couldn’t do both.”
Jane has always been a grafter and puts her success down to good old-fashioned hard work.
She says: “I was lucky to do the working men’s clubs, the cruise ships and cabaret. It made me into a hard worker. I left school at 16 and became an office clerk. I worked my way up to secretary and at the same time had a bar job in the evening. I wanted driving lessons and dad couldn’t afford them, so I got another job.”
“You hear on X Factor them saying how much they want the success, but there should be another show on how much work it takes to maintain a career.” Doesn’t she ever just want to take it easy?
Jane says: “When you are shattered and there are 250 people at the stage door, sometimes you think ‘oh God’. But then you go on stage and see their faces and you just want to give them the best show you can.
“Also, I have a real working class work ethic in that I think each job is the last one I will get and I think I’d better take it or there might not be anything else. That’s why I am always doing so many different things.”
Jane turned 50 this year, something which took a while to get used to.
She says: “I have embraced being 50 now. I didn’t initially, because I thought turning 50 meant I wouldn’t get any more work and I should sit down and start knitting.
“My agent sat me down and said don’t leave it too long to get back into singing again, because I had been focusing on TV. It turned out to be the best year of my career.
“The reaction from the fans has been great and my voice is in its prime. I also think going back to it after a break makes you appreciate it more.”
Jane has been a stalwart on the ITV show Loose Women and still regularly appears on the show.
“I have invested a lot of time in it and I still love it,” says Jane. “You have to be able to stand your ground and say what you think. However, I always think that my mum is watching and people of her generation. So I don’t want to offend them.”
Jane is very close to her mum, sister and brother and still lives near them in Yorkshire, where she lives with her partner Eddie Rothe.
She says: “Yorkshire is perfect. My mum Jean, who is 83, is five minutes away and my sister and brother are close by. It’s nice to know I am near to my mum if she needs anything. She’s in great health, but parents ageing is something we all think of, isn’t it?”
When Jane does get a bit of down time, she loves nothing more than catching up with some TV.
She says: “I love to sit and catch up on X Factor, Downton and Strictly. I love the outfits on Strictly and that is one I wouldn’t mind having a go at. My designer does the Strictly outfits, so they are similar to the ones I wear.
“Although, I design my stage outfits. It’s great because I get to say ‘do a bit there to hide the stomach and a bit here to pull me in!’”
Jane was due to perform in November last year at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend, but had to cancel the gig due to a migraine.
Now she is planning ahead so it doesn’t happen again.
“I am taking every medication under the sun along with me,” laughs Jane.
“I’d been filming at 6.30am that morning and the driver who took me down to Southend liked playing loud music. I didn’t take a tablet in time and a migraine came on and completely floored me.
“It was the first time I had had to cancel in my 15-year career. I came back a week later and did the gig.”
Despite performing for many years, Jane still has the same rituals before going on stage.
”I always have a Drambuie before a show. Sue, my agent, handed me one once when I was nervous and it has been the thing we do every time.”
Jane is performing at the Cliffs Pavilion on Sunday, November 3. It starts at 7.30pm and tickets cost £29.50. Visit www.southend theatres.org.uk or call the box office on 01702 351135.
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