She spoke to City Times about her role on the famous show and why she is thrilled to return to Dubai after a hiatus of more than two decades.
She is an American-born singer who rose to prominence in the 1980s with catchy hits like Toy Boy, GTO and So macho, and went on to make his mark on television, appearing on UK shows Bulk Women, Factor Xtra and This morning; she was also an important part of The X factor, a reality show that spawned blockbuster musical groups like boy band One Direction and singer Leona Lewis.
While a new generation may associate the magnificent Sinitta (who has lived in the UK for most of her life) only in reality TV – it is for her happy and vibrant songs and videos that we love and we love it. we remember her best, having grown up in Dubai in the 80’s and 90’s and heard about the best of international music on Dubai 92 and Channel 33.
The 58-year-old performer – who started her career as an actress and singer and has West End productions Cats and Little shop of horrors to its credit – now heads to our shores with the award-winning hit musical Chicago, which will debut on stage at the Dubai Opera on January 5.
An iconic musical
Sinitta had an amazing run with Chicago in the UK so far, with performance venues such as Blackpool, Bromley, Southampton, Inverness, Birmingham and Crawley.
The famous musical, set in the decadent 1920s, tells the story of Roxie Hart, a nightclub singer who murders her lover and ends up in jail, but deceives the public, the media and her rival cellmate Velma Kelly by hiring Chicago’s finest criminal lawyer.
So where does the slender Sinitta figure in this lair of intrigue?
âI play Mama Morton who is the keeper of the key; she is the patron saint of the prison and responsible for taking care of all the women, but she is also a bit of a wheel seller. She loves making money, so she’s the one you have to be friends with to get the benefits and make a difference, âshe told us in a Zoom conversation.
As Mama Morton, Sinitta also sings an amazing track, aptly titled When you’re nice to mom.
She admitted being a part of such an iconic show – America’s longest-running musical on Broadway and the West End – was “amazing.”
âThe music is amazingâ¦ we have a live jazz band on stage with us; these are some of the best musicians in the UK that play on this tour, so I feel so privileged, and it’s really fun to be a part of it.
“I enjoy every performance of the show – I’m either in my dressing room listening or standing at the side of the stage listening to the other acts because I always really enjoy the songs and the music.”
Joy during a pandemic
Speaking of reactions to the show, she shared that the interaction with the audience was a treat, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic, when live performances were stalled for almost two years. “I think Chicago is such a great show anyway, but after the pandemic and being really hungry for live music and entertainment, I think people came back enjoying it even more.
âAnd on stage, we watched the audience almost as much as they watched us, because it’s so nice to see them interact – nudge and laugh together, or sing along and just be excited to be there. really participate and get involved; we have had people waiting for us to come out of the theater just to tell us how much they enjoyed it so yeah we had a great welcome.
What is the best and most exhilarating part for her about being on stage and singing live?
âBecause I have mainly worked in television for the last 20 years or so, I had forgotten what the live connection really looked like. It’s such an amazing feeling. I haven’t been on stage for many years and had forgotten how magical it isâ¦ to go out and feel that you can touch an audience and they can touch you, and that you are actively creating that moment. and be able to tell a story! You just don’t want it.
Help budding talents
She’s had such a varied and interesting career, from appearing on stage, becoming a pop star, and then making her mark on television and reality TV. But what is her first love – is it singing and playing, or attending talent hunts like The X factor?
“Should I pick one?” (laughs) I love to play and play. But helping someone else find their way and launch their career is a different kind of satisfaction. So I’m still extremely proud, I take a step back and watch (stars like) Alexandra Burke, Leona Lewis, the One Direction Boys, Little Mix and it’s amazing to know that I played a little part in it. It’s like watching children grow up to their full potential.
She admitted it was amazing that fans still come to her with copies of her old singles and albums, sharing their memories.
âIt’s adorable. It’s so weird because I always feel the same way – I always feel young! But it’s amazing when I meet people – they often come to the theater with copies of my singles or my albums that they bought, for me to sign, and I think back to those old photos and things and I’m like ‘wow’, and they say, ‘this is the first record that I bought when I’ was ten ‘or something … and it’s surreal, really.
“But again, it’s lovely that people associate happy memories with my music. It’s a real gift; I was having fun, I was young and I was having fun but I didn’t know that would have a lasting effect.
His latest single, I won’t be alone for Christmas, is sure to resonate with fans as well, a timely tune in the midst of the pandemic that has separated many of their loved ones for long periods of time.
âI guess these are really people who are making special arrangements to make sure they are with their loved ones this year, especially with all the unpredictability of travel and the disorientation of the past two years due to the pandemic. So that’s just to kick off the celebrations and get people in the Christmas spirit and also really appreciate it, because I think we take a lot for granted and we got taken last year and the last year.
Christmas in Dubai
The soft-spoken singer shared her plans for a Christmas in Dubai before performing on the Chicago shows, and sent a message of “love, peace and happiness” to everyone.
âI will be in Dubai for Christmas, I go out early with my family; Hope this is going to be amazing and can’t wait to go to the theater! And meet everyone – I hope they really enjoy the show too.
A lot of time passed between visits to Dubai for Sinitta and she expressed her desire to see the changes that time and visionary leadership have brought to the city.
âI haven’t been to Dubai for maybe 20 years or more so I’m sure it’s very different (now). Even then I literally went to a hotel to do a performance and then again the next day so I’m really happy to be able to come and spend more time there as well and perform at the Dubai Opera.
Chicago will take place January 5-15 at the Dubai Opera. Buy your tickets on www.dubaiopera.com