Brenda began singing semi-pro from the age of 12, working the tough Glasgow club circuit. At 14 she opened for the great Marty Robbins at the Glasgow Apollo. Music, however, is a notoriously difficult way to make a living, so Brenda decided to train as a teacher .
She went to work in British Columbia in Canada
but still wanted to sing, even if her engagements were restricted to local barns/pubs entertaining lumberjacks and cowboys!
Brenda then moved to Abu Dhabi to teach in a private infants school, but singing was still in her blood, and she was engaged for a night-club season at the exclusive Intercontinental Hotel. A stunning success, Brenda sold out the venue for months on end. Unfortunately her employers at the school frowned upon her extra curricular activities and she was forced into choosing between music and teaching. Music won the day.
She returned to Britain and recorded her debut album The Singer with the English Chamber Orchestra. Released on a small independent label, the album received excellent reviews but without major promotion and marketing it failed to reach a wide audience. Pleased with the album, Brenda continued to work live but was constantly frustrated at being restricted to a minor market. It was at this point that she decided to put her career on the line and audition for the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks. The result was phenomenal. Brenda won the final in 1989 with the biggest margin of votes ever cast in the programme’s 26 year history.
Success led to success and her first album for
Polydor Records entitled The Voice went gold in the autumn of 1990. Tours with Gene Pitney followed, including her first Royal Albert Hall performance, and both audiences and critics alike applauded her superb talent.
Music Week said of The Voice:-“She has the
artistry of a Piaf or Garland and is without a doubt an emerging vocal and performing talent!’ Radio Two’s Gloria Hunniford commented “Brenda has a wonderful, powerful voice”. Brenda’s vocal range and engaging personality won further praise through TV appearances on such shows as Wogan, This Morning, TV-AM, The Les Dawson Show and Daytime UK.
Brenda’s follow-up album was In Dreams, produced by Pip Williams, and featuring a 60-piece orchestra.
In December 1991 Brenda was selected from 600 female vocalists worldwide to participate in the network US TV show International Star Search. This competition is open to any professional artiste who, to date, has had little exposure in the USA. Brenda proved to be a winner again, winning her category to be named International Female Vocalist for 1992. The programme was aired across the States in May 1992 and was also seen in many other territories around the world.
As well as her success on the TV and in concert, Brenda won critical acclaim playing the part of Mama Morton in the highly successful West End production of Chicago. Catching the acting bug, she then went on to develop her one-woman show Just For Joe which toured the country in 2003.
Since then she has gone on to perform all over the world as well as at home in concert, and also in a string of pantomimes which she always loves to do.
Brenda is always in demand to perform away from her home in Scotland but in 2009 she has been seen more on her home soil and has plans to do much more in the future. A new album, Back Home, was recorded during the Summer of 2009 and will be released in October. She intends to tour as much as possible in Scotland during 2010 and will be seen again performing Just for Joe. Watch out for dates!
You can listen to short samples from some of the tracks from this artist using the player below.
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