Reload Festival interview: Doris Pearson of Five Star

Five Star, who are playing the Reload Festival at the Norfolk Showground. Five Star, who are playing the Reload Festival at the Norfolk Showground.

Friday, August 29, 2014
9:00 AM

Rain Or Shine, Five Star will be one of the highlights of the Reload Festival at the the Norfolk Showground from September 5-7. Singer Doris Pearson tells Emma Lee about meeting the Queen – and the king of pop Michael Jackson.

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They had the songs, they had the moves...and they had the sequinned jumpsuits.

In the mid 80s, thanks to hits including System Addict, Rain Or Shine, Stay Out Of My Life and The Slightest Touch, siblings Doris, Denise, Lorraine, Stedman and Delroy Pearson - better known as Five Star – were never far from the charts.

And the group dubbed Britain’s answer to the Jackson Five will be joining Kool and the Gang, Soul II Soul, Rick Astley, ABC, Go West, Hot Chocolate, Imagination, Odyssey, From The Jam, Human League, Billy Ocean, Sister Sledge, Jason Donovan, Heaven 17, Aswad, Bjorn Again and The Real Thing at the Norfolk Showground from September 5-7 for a weekend of unashamed nostalgia at the inaugural Reload Festival.

“It’s always nice to do festivals,” says Doris. “There’s a great atmosphere and it’s a chance to catch up with people and meet some of the acts I never got the chance to meet back in the day.”

Lorraine is unable to make the show, but Doris promises: “I’ll make it feel like there’s five of us”.

The Pearsons grew up in Romford, Essex, surrounded by music. Their father, Buster, was a musician and producer who had worked with the likes of Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Desmond Dekker and Jimmy Cliff.

“Music was something we all had around us,” remembers Doris.

“We just thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if we could be a group’? and everything fell into place.

“And mum said it was easier to keep an eye on her brood,” she laughs.

Five Star – the name was dreamed up by Buster after a trip to a petrol station – released their debut album, Luxury of Life, in 1985, followed by Silk and Steel in 1986 which went to number one.

“We went out there and had fun,” says Doris. “It was such a great time to be in music. It was hard work, but when you’re young, you’re hungry for success.”

And she had one ambition in particular.

“My aim was definitely to meet Michael Jackson – and it was brilliant,” she says.

“Sony organised it and flew me to Sweden and I met him backstage before he did a show. He was the most charming, generous man ever, just beautiful. I wasn’t nervous, I was just looking forward to it.

“It was such a privilege and a childhood dream come true – I’m still disappointed I didn’t get to marry him,” she laughs.

Playing the Royal Variety Show is another of Doris’s personal highlights.

“To meet the Queen was really something. I remember her saying ‘you must be hot in those outfits’,” says Doris.

Ah yes, the outfits. Five Star did love a jumpsuit – the more spangly the better.

“The sequins!” laughs Doris. “That evolved over time. I loved the dressing up. We’re a bit more low key nowadays, but I’ve said to the others, if we do a tour, let’s go more glitzy.”

Doris was the group’s choreographer – something she is still doing today.

“I teach because it’s something I love doing. It has helped me keep up with my dancing and it keeps the creativity coming,” she says.

Doris is a prolific songwriter too – she’s worked with Jeff Trott, who has written for artists including Sheryl Crow and she wrote the song Short Lived Love which appears on sister Denise’s new solo album, Imprint.

Would she like to follow in Denise’s footsteps?

“People ask me that all the time – if I got the right song I would have a crack at it,” she says.

Sounds like we definitely need to watch this space.

Reload is being held at the Norfolk Showground from September 5-7. Day tickets cost from £39 (£18 children), weekend admission tickets cost from £70 (£30 children) and weekend camping tickets cost from £99 (£42 children). Tickets are available without booking fees from Eastern Daily Press offices in Norwich,

Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Diss, Cromer and Dereham.

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