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IN CONVERSATION: Deniece Pearson “Music connects us all- it’s a One Love thing”

“I will always be tied to Five Star and am so so honoured to be part of that legacy

Brit Award winner, Grammy nominee and lead singer of legendary icons Five Star,  Deniece Pearson is back, weaving elements of R&B, pop, soul, disco and funk into her high-energy performances. Full of verve, edge, dynamism, and fresh frenetic energy, Britain’s answer to Janet Jackson teams with two young hip hop street dancers who echo every step of the Five Star moves rippling in the video backdrop behind them.

During her time with Five Star, Deniece achieved unprecedented success with over twenty top thirty UK singles. The youngest British act to have a number-one album, as well as the first to achieve seven consecutive hit singles from a single album in the UK, they were the soundtrack to the 80s and still have  almost 116 thousand monthly listeners on Spotify.

Warm, tenacious and charismatic, Deniece carries the same timeless elegance as fellow 80s icons KylieMadonna and Whitney, fused with high standards and an eye for detail. Her live shows are mellifluous and dynamically choreographed, echoing the buoyant synchronicity of her original quintet. Now stepping into the spotlight, Deniece released her reggae-tinged ‘Forever Young‘ single last year together with new versions of of ‘Rain or Shine’ and ‘System Addict’‘. Recent single, feisty and futuristic ‘Evolution X’ gives us another taste of her forthcoming new album ‘Free-Queen-See’ out this summer.

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Deniece’s musical path seemed to be written in the stars. A winning fusion of both nature and nurture; talent and graft. Her father Buster was a revered Jamaican soul and reggae musician who toured with Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and Jimmy Cliff.  He managed Five Star, with many viewing them as the next Jackson Five

Deniece says, “He was On the Midnight Hour tour with Wilson Pickett and played with Desmond Dekkar and with  lots of very  famous artists and musicians from the 60s and  then he had his own group called The Links.

He wore many hats. He became our manager and was a record distributer. That’s what really got me into listening to artists like Smokey Robinson, Randy Crawford, Chrysal Gayle, because we had all these vinyls in the sitting room boxes and boxes of records that we’d sort through. Every Saturday and Sunday we’d sit down and watch Elvis movies because mum was into Elvis and she used to put on Elvis music in the evenings. We had the Jacksons and the Osmonds and The Supremes lots from Motown. It was a musical household.

I was fifteen, just about to go into Sixth Form and so I had  to given the notes to the headmistress to ask her permission to do Wogan and the Russell Harty and the  Royal Variety and Top of the Pops. I was very much a loner at school sweetie,” she shares, ” I had one maybe two friends (but) I became quite popular especially with the boys so it was great to finish off school that way.” 

Deniece was the main songwriter in Five Star and did all the vocal arrangements for the band. “My first top ten was ‘Stay out of My Life.” They became so popular that they were sponsored by both chocolate and toothpaste. “First it was Cadburys and then it was Ultrabright Children of the Night tour so it was great, ” she laughs.

They covered both the Yin and Yang of existence.“It kind of came naturally because everything happened in a flow. One morning I woke up and Dad said they’ve nominated you for a Grammy and I thought that is so awesome and I should  have gotten a dress and gone over as we were nominees…but there were  other things happening. There was a new song release, radio, TV, new routines, learn a song, go in the studio to record it and do all the Top of the Pops and the Royal Variety. And as soon as that was done we had to learn a new routine again and a new song all over again so it went on and on and on. But it was brilliant.”

Five Star went from the R&B  and crossed over to pop, going from ‘All Fall Down’ and ‘Let me be the One’ to  the pop vibes of ‘System Addict‘ and ‘Rain or Shine.’ ” It was a brilliant era in music. Phenomenal!” she enthuses, with the same energy she had on stage.

It was an incredible era, but for many kids who danced to Five Star at the Junior disco, the band seemed to be in league of their own. They seemed more polished than some of the Stock Atkin and Waterman Hit Factory acts of the time.

Absolutely. We were miles apart. We had a bigger plan. We had American musicians. We had Michael Jackson’s musicians on keyboard and guitar,  Paul Jackson Junior played guitar and we recorded at LARRABE  Studios Over in the States,” The same Hollywood studio where Prince, Michael Jackson, LL Cool J,  Jennifer Lopez, Mary J Blige, U2, Lana Del Raye Lady Gaga and so many more still record to this day.  

“We got to meet Billy Livsey. He wrote ‘Rain or Shine’ and ‘System Addict.’ He came over for our 40th Anniversary shows in London in 2023 that we sold out for two nights and the applause was DEAFENING. Both shows were amazing.”

It made me wonder whether there was a different kind of respect for pure raw talent like this in The States.

I think it’s the same in every territory. The Americans respect their musicians that way and English they respect their musicians that way, but there is a difference between the two. When you believe in energy I think the Americans from my experience play with something that connects to the SOUL, you know?

 There is something that they have. I don’t know whether it’s sunshine  that makes them happy but there is a difference between American and British musicians from my dad’s experience.” she smiles.“That’s why he took us there so we could be not British sounding but INTERNATIONAL sounding.

It really made me smile when I read your write-up on the show, that somebody could actually see what was in the essence of Five Star. It was brilliant. It really was a lot of rehearsing and dedication and you could see that the roots came from a magnificent musician (their father Buster) who brought his experience to our table. That’s what made us and gave us all of those ingredients to be a phenomenal product of authenticity.

Although she is now stepping into the spotlight herself as a solo artist, she’s holding the Five Star torch brightly saying, “I always will be tied to Five Star and I’m so honoured to be because that is our legacy and I’ll always keep it alive as much as I can.There is no way that I was just going to let this go.  We put in so much hard work. Our music was the theme tune to so many people’s lives and to just put that down and just leave it. No way.”

Her solo show are different but still complimentary to her history. It was the original routines from back in the day. It was Doris’ choreography,” she reveals. Seeing this street dance version live makes you realize just how timeless and contemporary the Five Star dances were, with Deniece leading the trio with the same energy as she had in the 80s.

“It’s just  practise really and it feels like second nature because once you’ve got those moves in your head you can never get them out,” Deniece laughs. Which is a good thing. That’s what 40 years of routines has done.”

The years of working in Thriller Live and Respect La Diva in the West End have deeply infused her work with the spirit of Michael Jackson and divas like Whitney adding depth and breadth to her performance. “Anything you take part in becomes part of your essence. They all become my thread…When I feel the music it just goes straight through meThe energy that you get back from the audience really does matter. 98% of the audiences are so enthusiastic because it’s like a top ten show.


The current show feels like the full package, with singing, choreography and the tight live band. “I love my band” she says, “We just added a brass guy in because Daddy was so into the brass. We would always say “Daddy not another brass solo” and he’d be like “Yea it really changes it up” and so we’ve got our brass player in to do the authentic solos now.”

“As a singer and producer I know what I want to hear. When the vocal and the music come together then you’ve got a great performance  and once we get the enthusiastic reaction from the audience it throws back that energy towards us. It’s just a ball of energy on the night.”

As a solo artist, Deniece played with fellow music royalty, opening for both Billy Ocean and The Jacksons

Reminiscing, Deniece then spontaneously sings the chorus of ‘They Don’t Care About Us” pitch perfect over Zoom and I nearly fainted. There was absolutely no need for autotune with this artist. She personifies music with every breath and clearly still gets high energy joy from it to this day.

In her dad’s generation many Motown musicians would keep playing and evolving their whole lives. “That’s what I want to do!” she says with the spark of a teen.

Deniece has just released a video for Evolution X, a fierce futuristic banger.

“I love it. It’s very strong. It’s very feisty. I always love my feisty songs. I love that side of me. I’m a Gemini.”

“In Evolution, we (the public) are the majority and we are having people decide to drill our moon and we’re having people deciding these prices are going up or down and this is happening in our world…Like NO. This is OUR world. WE are the majority and once we stand up and say. This is all of our world, not just yours. Why are you governing our beautiful lives?” 

“If you think about energy, We are all connected as one and our world is such a beautiful and peaceful place. Evolution is stepping out of yourself, connecting to your energy and knowing that we are not just matter and we are not just these flesh suits that we are walking around in. Once we are all connected to that we can evolve into what we are supposed to be.”

There’s a song called ‘Deliverance’ on the album and it’s about answering Bob Marley’s ‘Don’t Let them Fool Us’ and all of his philosophy- be strong in your mind. We are all connected. One Love.Deliverance’ came from the heavens and I was very strongly connected to Bob Marley’s energy with the lyrics and content of that song. There’s a lot of interlinks in my album. There’s saying from the Bible in there, but it’s not a religious thing it’s a ‘One Love kind of thing.”

“There are fads in music but when you are authentic in what God gives you that’s really something, You can really differentiate between the ‘God given’ and the ‘I can do this too’ talent,” she says.

We couldn’t agree more. Watching a Denice Pearson show highlights the craft and skill that went into the success of Five Star, showing how hard earned those awards and plaudits were, infused with that Wilson Pickett, Soul, Funk, R&B, pop, Five Star and Jackson legacy fizzing on the stage in front of you. That fresh frenetic energy is timeless.

Deniece Pearson’s solo album Free-Queen-See is out this summer.

Home | Deniece Pearson (deniecepearsonofficial.com)

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.