A jazz singer with sixteen albums to his name, who’s worked with the best in the business, Ian Shaw is making his long-awaited Australian debut at the Cabaret Festival in 2015. He spoke with Peter Burdon.
“I started out in the 80s in London’s alternative Cabaret circuit,” Ian Shaw explains, “with all these other unknown people like Julian Clary and Jo Brand. And look what happened to them! But then I got seriously into jazz, as a singer and later as a producer. Twenty years and sixteen albums later…”
Shaw has worked with the absolute best in the business in the UK, Europe, and the USA, and needless to say he has stories to burn. “It’s a fabulously crazy life,” he says with a laugh, “and a few years ago I thought it would be fun to put to together in a solo show, and A Bit Of A Mouthful was the result.
Shaw’s solo show got a rare rave at Edinburgh, for its candour as much as its class. “I describe it as a collection of musical observations charting the life of an overwrought, overweight gay man who is constantly in and out of love and on the prowl the rest of the time!”
Shaw has been wanting to get to Oz for a long time. “I love the place, by proxy!” he says. “Aussies are thick on the ground here and I love them all, and Australian comedy is the best thing ever. I’m a huge Kath and Kim fan! And Barry Humphries is at the top of the list. So when I got an invitation from him to be in his Festival, that was the clincher. It’s down to him that I’m coming over.”
The show is bespoke for Adelaide. “It’s got a basic shape but it changes every day,” says Ian. “There’s everything from Joni Mitchell to Rodgers and Hart, and songs I write myself. Sometimes a song springs to mind when I get to a place, which occasionally leads to disaster! Hopefully not!”
“It’ll be camp as chips, that’s all. Come along and have a laugh.”