Next weekend, it’s T In The Park, Scotland’s annual attempt at the Glastonbury Festival, with music from Killers, Mumford & Sons, The Proclaimers, Snoop Dogg, Stereophonics and Juliette Burton…
Hold on… Juliette Burton.? The comedian?
So I asked her.
“Well,” she told me yesterday, “very early on in the research for my Edinburgh Fringe show When I Grow Up I was telling a then-contact, now-friend, Frodo McDaniel – yes, that is his real name – about the concept of the show and what I would try to achieve. The concept is me trying to be all the things that I wanted to be when I was a child.
“He seemed to love the idea of the show. And, when he heard one of the things I had wanted to be as a child and was still trying to be for my show was a pop star, he immediately invited me to perform on the stage he produces at T in the Park – because he loved the concept of the show and wanted to help me realise that ambition.”
“Just the one song?” I asked. “With backing by…?”
“Yep, just the one song,” said Juliette. “I will sing Dreamers (When I Grow Up) live myself and my backing will be from Frankie Lowe who composed, recorded and produced the song. He’ll be like the guy in the Pet Shop Boys who stands at the back of the stage with a keyboard and a cool pair of sunglasses. I even got him the sunglasses. They were a freebie in the Brighton Fringe participants’ bags. They’re orange.”
“So you won’t be performing with the Killers or Stereophonics?” I asked.
“I will be performing next Sunday afternoon as part of Rufus & Ben’s Cabaret Quiz,” Juliette told me. “Apparently I am the special musical guest. I might be a thespian performer who performs comedy and Fringe shows,” she laughed, “but, you know, multi-platform, crossover comedy is the future! And if 50 Cent and Brittany Spears can be singers who supposedly act, why can’t I be a comedy actor who very occasionally supposedly sings. VERY occasionally. Supposedly. Very.
“I’m not suggesting I’m any good by the way,” added Juliette in a very British way. A very British way. Very. “People can judge that for themselves by downloading the song from iTunes, Amazon or Spotify – Dreamers (When I Grow Up) – I just want to have some fun and try to make the dreams of my inner tweenager come true.”
“And you’re very good at publicity,” I said. “It’s the BBC broadcasting background.”
There is a clip on YouTube of Juliette rehearsing for the upcoming music video of Dreamers.
“Is all this part of your desperate Masterplan,” I asked, “to become famous at something… at anything?”
“Masterplan?!” said Juliette. “You think this is planned? I’m honestly not driven by fame, but I would love to be successful at something… but not anything! I would love to make my Edinburgh Fringe show a success this year – it’s my first solo show. The song is a part of the show and the adventure of performing at T in the Park is a part of that adventure. It’s me trying to realise this – one of many – childhood dreams. And if this helps towards making the show a success and if it helps encourage people to see the show then that’s my goal achieved.”
“Like I said,” I repeated. “Good at publicity. And you will sing the song in the show?”
“Nope,” said Juliette. “The show itself is an hour-long docu-comedy – a true story told on stage. The music video will be finished, I’m told, next week – before T in the Park – and it will be online then. The video will also be on the projector screen as part of the stage show. And the song will be played as I’m telling the story about me trying to be a pop star. And there will be footage of me performing at T in the Park.”
“Like I said,” I repeated again. “Good at publicity. How are your rehearsals going for T In the Park?”
“Ummmm,” said Juliette. “Yeah… Rehearsals… I should probably consider fitting that in at some point… But I do know exactly what I’m wearing. That’s the most important bit of being a pop star, right?”
“Could be,” I agreed. “That and publicity. And how are your Fringe rehearsals going?”
“Ah! Now!” said Juliette. “Those have been in the diary for a long while and are already going well. Scots comic JoJo Sutherland is directing my show and we’ve already been rehearsing lots.”
“The fact you live in Edinburgh must help,” I said.
“It does,” agreed Juliette. “Jojo is brilliant – She totally ‘gets’ the show, but I keep making her cry. It’s meant to be a comedy! Did it make you cry John?”
“I think I had a tear in my eye when I saw the first preview,” I said. “The audience has no warning you’re going to suddenly pull the floor out from under them.”
“It’s just two weeks now until the Cambridge previews,” said Juliette. I’m pretty nervous. It’ll be the first proper preview of the proper show in its entirety. It’s all a bit mad right now: getting music together, wrestling with PowerPoint issues, getting final filming and editing done, trying to do a bit of PR, getting final flyer design sorted, the ‘special’ project promoted, learning lines, keeping the social media active, rehearsing, trying to write some stuff for the Fringe Comedy Academy, trying not to want to run away from it all…”
“Are you regretting going solo” I asked, “after having the comfort blanket of being part of Mace & Burton?”
“I haven’t gone solo,” said Juliette. “I still work with Lizzy (Mace). We’re still working hard on our Rom Com Con movie screenplay and – if I can raise the funds – we’re both keen to go to the Adelaide Fringe next year together.
“But this is a solo show… Do I regret doing it? No. I’m really struggling with all the stress and I do desperately miss having help to manage it all. When I hear the first audience laugh I will know it has been worth it.
“I’m hoping that something might get picked up this Fringe,” added Juliette. “I mean my ideas by the industry…not an STD.”
(Juliette used to be a BBC presenter and is is no stranger to music festivals, as this showreel demonstrates)