Since rocketing to fame as a finalist on the BBC talent show I’d Do Anything in 2008, home-grown star Samantha Barks has made a name for herself on both the stage and screen.
The 25-year-old says she feels that now is the right time for her to launch a solo album that charts her hugely successful career to date – and shows exactly what she’s made of.
Her eponymous album is being released on Friday, June 10 , and in support of that she is touring the British Isles this month, with a homecoming at the Gaiety Theatre the following day, on Saturday, June 11.
‘When a tour was first mentioned I said the Isle of Man straight away,’ she told Island Life.
‘I’m so excited to come home and get to perform in the Isle of Man, and the Gaiety Theatre in particular. It’s really where I grew up.
‘It’s always nice being in front of friends and family.’
I’m so excited to come home and get to perform in the Isle of Man, and the Gaiety Theatre in particular. It’s really where I grew upSamantha Barks
Widely acclaimed for her breathtaking voice and emotive power, Sam’s heart-rending portrayal of Eponine in Les Misérables earned her an international reputation as a world-class interpreter of song.
She also has universally lauded touring productions of Oliver! and Cabaret under her belt.
And she recently won acclaim on the US stage for her performance in the title role in the world premiere of musical Amélie at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, in California.
‘It’s really, really exciting to be going out there and doing it on my own,’ she said.
‘I’ve been doing shows and films and for those you always have the show behind you.
‘To be touring on my own is exciting but scary.’
Her album features 12 tracks, including her solo from Les Mis, ‘On My Own’ and As Long As He Needs Me from Oliver.
She said that Troublemaker, her first single – watch the video on YouTube now – was particularly special to her.
‘It was written by Dan Messe who wrote Amélie so it’s very special when I get to perform that,’ she said.
And there is a nod to her Manx roots – the last track on the album is Ellan Vannin.
‘The show is a little bit of everything that I’ve done up until now,’ she said.
‘There will be some musical theatre, some jazz and some pop. It’s everything I’m about.’
And she admitted that on stage it would be ‘me being a dork!’
Samantha showed her true grit when she took part in ITV’s gruelling adventure show Bear Grylls: Mission Survive earlier this year.
She appeared to take the physical challenges in her stride, proved a dab hand at lighting campfires, and made it to the series final.
Her friendship with Arsenal footballer Alex Scott blossomed on the show so she was proud to sing God Save the Queen at the women’s FA Cup final at Wembley and watch Alex’s team lift the trophy.
‘In the wild, the friendships you make are so quick and so close.’
When asked what she had taken from the show, she said: ‘It was the personal challenge of seeing when I’m really faced against it, would I be a wuss or face it head on. A lot of it was mind over matter.’
She said her strategy was not to allow herself to be scared.
And it’s a method that she uses when performing too.
‘I like to have little markers in my mind,’ she said.
‘I performed at the Oscars, I can do this,’ she will tell herself.
‘You were dangling off a 300ft cliff. It’s a good motto to have.’
Samantha will be performing at the Gaiety on June 11, from 8pm.
Tickets cost £23. They are available online at www.villagaiety.com or call 600555.
Meanwhile, fans will get a chance to meet her at HMV, in the Strand Shopping Centre, Douglas. She will be signing copies of her album on Saturday, June 11 at 4pm.