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. Mariʼs live shows were spoken about as an event - pure entertainment.
In 1982 Mariʼs records began entering the charts and she soon had six hit singles, the biggest being ʻJust What Iʼve Always Wantedʼ and ʻCry Me A Riverʼ, both taken from her album ʻShowpeopleʼ.
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 BB King and Ray Charles,
Mari has also appeared in musical theatre, playing Nickie Pignatelli in Phil Willmottʼs production of Sweet Charity, Annabel in the black comedy, The Chainsaw Manicure.
In 2000, Mari was the obvious choice to play Dusty Springfield in Dusty The Musical, which toured number one venues throughout the UK.
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.
As well as an occasional presenter on BBC London Mari has also performed theme tunes to various TV shows, including her hit version of ʻPerhaps, Perhaps, Perhapsʼ for the globally successful BBC TV Show, Coupling.
In September 2007, Warner Bros. released ʻMari Wilson - The Platinum Collectionʼ a compilation of Mari’s back catalogue, to mark the 25th Anniversary of Just What I Always Wanted being in the top ten.
Mari has also written a one-woman musical – The Love Thing, inspired by her 2005 album, Dolled Up. It was writing the songs for this musical that led to Mariʼs album, Emotional Glamour in 2008.
In November 2010, The Love Thing debuted in London selling out for five nights to standing ovations at The Leicester Square Theatre. The Love Thing is currently being developed further for future performances.
2011 saw Mari team up with song-writing and production team, Boisounds to release pop-dance extravaganza O.I.C., “an infections, groovy-to-the-bone single that lifts you from it’s first beat”.
In spring 2012 Mari released ‘Cover Stories’, a new studio album funded by fans through Pledge Music. For this album, Mari teamed up with string-arranger, orchestrator, composer and pianist Simon Hale, to record some of her favourite songs including those she has been performing live for some time.
January of 2014 began with Mari’s sell-out concert Am I The Same Girl – Mari Sings Dusty, paying homage to Dusty Springfield with her unique interpretation of the classic hits, along with some lesser-known gems.
In June Mari performed Dusty and Cilla songs with The BBC Concert Orchestra for Friday Night is Music Night. This was a special edition to celebrate Tony Blackburn’s 50 years as a DJ.
Mari’s live show – Ready Steady Girls – the songs of Dusty, Cilla, Petula and more, has been touring the UK throughout 2015 and continues with the new album Pop Deluxe due for release Friday 13th May 2016. Dates for The Pop Deluxe Tour can be found on the Live Dates Page.
Mari writes a regular column for Diabetes UK’s Balance Magazine and is a patron of Coeliac UK