"Its going to be really nice celebrating being Welsh, the music and the success of Welsh artists" Sophie Evans tells Andy Howells of Wales at Number One, which takes place at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on St David’s Day.
Sophie, who captivated theatre audiences in the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz after becoming runner up in the TV series Over The Rainbow has gone from strength to strength since taking on the iconic role including presenting The Really Welsh Christmas Show on the BBC to having a starring role in the film success Pride.
Sophie will be joining stars such as Shakin' Stevens, Ricky Valance, Amy Wadge and Manic Street Preacher James Dean Bradfield to recall Wales' greatest hits this Sunday.
"I'm singing number one songs that were originally done by Welsh artists," explains Sophie who will be performing the Amen Corner 1969 number one If Paradise is Half As Nice as well as the first ever UK number one from a Welsh artist, Shirley Bassey's As I Love You. "I'll sing it in my own style while keeping the essence of Shirley Bassey," says Sophie while saying of the Amen Corner smash, “I’ll be singing that very differently."
Sophie who is currently touring with Britain's Got Talent stars Richard and Adam will be making a one-stop performance at The St David's Day event before rejoining the duo on their 19 date tour.
Sophie's love of classic pop goes back to childhood. "Since I was about four I've always loved music, I've listened to Barbara Streisand and Elaine Paige probably when I should have been listening to S Club 7. I was always interested in the more mature sounds probably more with the influence from my Mother, but that was the music I loved."
Rubbing shoulders with Welsh greats such as Shakin’ Stevens and James Dean Bradfield is something Sophie is quickly becoming accustomed to as she will be working alongside further musical heavyweights from the world of pop later this year. "I'm also doing the Eisteddfod this year in Llangollen which has an absolutely unbelievable line up including Burt Bacharach, UB40 and Gareth Malone. That’s going to be amazing."
Wales at Number One will be hosted by the One Show’s Alex Jones. Other stars participating in this unique music event will be Steve Balsamo, Jessica Lee Morgan (daughter of Mary Hopkin) Lucie Jones, Alys Williams and Shaheen Jafargoli.
The night will include tracks made famous by Dame Shirley Bassey, Ricky Valance, Spencer Davis Group, Mary Hopkin, Dave Edmunds, Shakin' Stevens, Bonnie Tyler, The Flying Pickets, Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics, Duffy, and of course Sir Tom Jones, whose huge hit “It’s Not Unusual” got to No 1 50 years ago, in 1965.
The stars will be accompanied by the Welsh Pops Orchestra featuring pianist Gwilym Simcock and conducted by Matthew Brind.
The Centre will celebrate St. David’s Day throughout the weekend with free performances from Welsh artists on the Glanfa stage plus a chance to experience the taste of Wales in the Centre’s ffresh Restaurant. On the menu will be an array of traditional Welsh dishes including Cawl, Roast leg of Welsh Lamb and Slow Cooked Welsh beef.
- Wales at No.1 is at Wales Millennium Centre on St David’s Day, 1 March 2015. Tickets range from £17.50 - £35. For more information and tickets visit Wales Millennium Centre's website.
- A version of this interview by Andy Howells was published in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on February 27, 2015.