Back in the late ’90s when her group, Cleopatra, had a hit with a cover of The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back, little did lead singer Cleo Higgins realise she would one day be singing it in a show paying tribute to The King of Pop.
The trio were invited along to watch Michael Jackson’s Wembley show in the HIStory tour – and meet him afterwards, but it was not to be. ‘We needed to get the Jackson family’s permission to release the song, which they gave,’ says Cleo. ‘And then they gave us tickets to see the show, we couldn’t believe it.
‘I could have cried – it was all my birthdays came at once, but we never did meet him. They took him out of the stadium so quickly at the end of the show, he was gone.’
Cleo appeared as a contestant on BBC1’s show The Voice in 2013, making it to the semi-finals. And from there she won a role in Thriller Live, the long-running West End show which sees various singers and dancers performing Michael’s hits. She is now one of four singers in the show as it goes out on a 10-month UK tour, including five days at Portsmouth Guildhall
As Cleo explains: ‘I’m a massive Michael Jackson fan. He’s the one I studied without realising when I was growing up, when I sing I guess I can’t but help similar to him.
‘I absolutely adore his craft, which has been helpful to me doing the show.’
And Cleo’s loving being part of the show: ‘This is an amazing show, you will not be disappointed.
‘The dancers are put through their paces, and you’re going to get a really good show in Portsmouth because we’ll have a had a couple of days off for Christmas.
‘We always put on a good performance, but when we’ve had a little break there’s always something a little bit different, everyone’s a bit more bouncy. And you’ve got new year’s – this cast are going to be up for that.’
Sunday December 27 to Thursday 31