Interview: Chilli Gold

Abigail SaltmarshChilli Gold is the latest sensation to hit the British country music scene. She's only just released her first album but she's already appearing with Billie Jo Spears and Stella Parton.Further listening: Chilli GoldAbigail Saltmarsh

Chilli Gold is the latest sensation to hit the British country music scene. She's only just released her first album but she's already appearing with Billie Jo Spears and Stella Parton. ABIGAIL SALTMARSH reports.

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The last time Chilli Gold was in Norwich she came second in a talent show after being mistaken for a comedy act.

This time she hopes to get her audience tapping their cowboy boots and swinging their Stetsons as she wows them with her own brand of country music.

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Chilli, 28, who is making a name for herself after topping the UK Country Chart with her first album, will be appearing with the Ladies of Country at the Theatre Royal. Also performing will be the legendary Billie Jo Spears, who famously sang Misty Blue, and Stella Parton, younger sister to Dolly.

'I still can't quite believe I'm going to be on after Billie Jo Spears,' she said. 'My mum always used to sing Blanket on the Ground.

'I'm busy swotting up on all her other songs at the moment in case she invites me to sing with her!'

Chilli, who has been a singer, dancer and actor since she was a child, still finds her own success on the country scene something of a surprise.

She had previously recorded dance music with her partner Joules and it was almost by accident that they took a dramatic change of direction.

'I had some lyrics I'd written while I was travelling and we tried to put them along to some music. They seemed to lend themselves to country music sounds,' she said.

'Joules had never even played country music chords before but it worked! We then recorded them on equipment worth �500 in an attic in Streatham and it has all just snowballed from there.'

Waterfalls has already topped the charts and now Chilli's first single from the album, Out of my Mind is expected to go down a storm too.

'It has all been an incredible leap for me. I was then invited to do The Ladies of Country with Billie Jo, Stella and Irish singer Elaine Boyle and was overwhelmed,' she said.

'I represent the UK, which is fabulous.'

Chilli, who will be touring for a month, is originally from Eastbourne, but her father was born in Norfolk.

'My grandfather suffered from shell shock during the second world war and his old Sgt Major brought him up here and set him up in a small cottage in King's Lynn,' she said.

'My father was born here so I do have a fondness for the area.'

She also remembers one particular visit to Norwich when she and her sister, then little girls, were scheduled to take part in a talent contest.

'I was there with my sister Cary and my mum used to think up stage names for us,' she said.

'Just before we went on she said our names were Abby and Terry Gold. For some reason that really made us laugh.

'We couldn't stop giggling while we were performing. Luckily, however, everyone thought it was part of the act.

'They thought we were doing some comedy and they loved it - we ended up coming second!'

t Chilli Gold will be appearing with Ladies of Country at the Theatre Royal on March 15.

Further listening: Chilli Gold

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