Mari Wilson (The Neasden Queen of Soul) first arrived on the scene in the early eighties with her skyscraper beehive hairdo, bizarre sense of fashion and fully choreographed twelve piece band The Wilsations! Mari’s live shows were spoken about as an event - pure entertainment. In 1982 Mari’s records began entering the charts and she soon had six hit singles, the biggest being ‘Just What I’ve Always Wanted’ and ‘Cry Me A River’, both taken from her album ‘Showpeople’
In the mid-eighties after constant touring of the UK, Europe and the United States, Mari reduced the size of her band (and her hairdo!), changing direction with a more intimate show. With regular appearances at venues such as Ronnie Scotts, The South Bank and festivals alongside legends such as BB King and Ray Charles, Mari has continued to build her reputation as a great live performer. Mari has also appeared in musical theatre, playing Nickie Pignatelli in Phil Willmott’s production of Sweet Charity, Annabel in the black comedy, The Chainsaw Manicure and Dusty Springfield in Dusty The Musical which toured number one venues throughout the UK for seven months in 2000.
Other work includes BBC London as a presenter and singing the theme tune to various TV shows, including the highly successful ‘Coupling” performing the song ‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’. There is also the collaboration with Barb Jungr in the outrageously camp show, Girl Talk. Their album is available on Linn Records. Now Barb and Mari have teamed up with Gwyneth Herbert and relaunch Girl Talk in February 2011. After appearing with Boy George in the West End musical, TABOO, Mari wrote, produced and recorded her album, Dolled Up, which was released in 2005.
In September 2007, marking the 25th Anniversary of Just What I Always Wanted being in the top ten, Warner Bros. released ‘Mari Wilson - The Platinum Collection’ and Mari toured the UK.
Mari is currently performing with her Threesome, featuring her anecdotal meanderings on everything from beehives to Botox and singing songs that span her career so far. This summer they played a sell-out show at The Magic Castle in Hollywood, California. Fans flew in from all over the U.S. to catch this show, where she was spoken of as “The British Bette Midler”.
Mari has also written a one-woman musical – The Love Thing. It was writing the songs for this musical that led to Mari’s latest album Emotional Glamour – featuring ten original songs, this album marks a return to the retro-pop she is the true queen of.
In November 2010, The Love Thing debuted in London selling out for five nights to standing ovations at The Leicester Square Theatre. 2011 will see The Love Thing being developed further for a longer run and a national tour.
Mari's first album of covers was released in 2012, co-produced with string arranger Simon Hale, it includes The Pretenders' "Don't Get Me Wrong", Gerry Marsden's "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" and her much requested version of Bruce Johnston's "Disney Girls""
Mari kicked off 2014 with a return to the songs of Dusty Springfield - Am I The Same Girl - Mari Sings Dusty. All the shows sold out fast. Mari's interpretations of these songs brought standing ovations, with her radically different version of "24 Hours From Tulsa" being one of the highlights. A tour and an album of the Dusty show is planned for spring 2015.
Mari's shows still feature a myriad of glamorous costume changes. Combined with Mari’s storytelling and wit (and of course that voice!) she still stands as one of the best live performers in the country.