Claire Sweeney

To say that Claire Sweeney has had a colourful career is somewhat of an understatement. From the early days in social clubs through to playing lesbian gangster mum Lindsey Corkhill in Brookside. When she went onto appear in Celebrity Big Brother few could have predicted how she would be catapulted into our hearts as the people's celeb. Followed by a stint in the musical Chicago and the TV Show Challenge of a lifetime, she now has her debut album in the shop. We caught up with her after a busy month on the Feel The Noise tour.

Q: You've been up and down country doing Feel The Noise. I guess going out and performing is what makes it all real at the end of the day?
A: It's been good fun and a great experience. Every venues been absolutely packed and the kids have been great, but for me I love doing it with a full orchestra and all that stuff. I did a concert with Radio 2 last week with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Carl Davis the composer....that was a joy. Sixty piece orchestra - it was great!!!

Touring has never been a big ambition of mine, but no doubt it will happen. I love performing live and Feel the Noise has been a great experience for me pretending to be a popstar for a bit.

Q: A lot of people got to know you during the Big Brother Celebrity special, but for me being massive Brookie fan it was playing Lesbian gangster Lindsey Corkhill in Brookside. I believe you're coming back soon for a couple of weeks. What can we expect?
A: I doing Clocking Off first in August and then I'm going into Brookie for a couple of weeks in September. I've stayed touch with the cast and still see them a lot anyway, but it will be good fun to get back on set and be up North for a month on a permanent basis. To be honest I don't actually know what the story is at the moment and I'll probably only find out a couple of weeks before I'm due up there.

Q: You've done soaps, theatre, TV presenting and music. What do you prefer?
A: They're all different, so I suppose it's what I'm doing at the time. I love singing, it's what I've always done, and it's what I totally get lost. I started off in social clubs when I was 14 and then went onto cruise ships when I was 22. It was just a great way to travel and see the world.

Q: Back when you were on the cruise ships, did you ever imagine you'd have an album out one day?
A: When you look back to that you could never imagine that one day you'd have your own album out, but here I am. The album is one new song and rest are covers. The thing was I'd been doing it for so long that I kind of knew what would always be my wish list on an album. Some songs did come my way by accident like "Someday I'll Find You" and "I Hope You Dance", but generally I knew what I wanted to do.

I've always had that eclectic taste. It's like what the album is. From Brian May to Burt Bacharach through to Noel Coward and through to Scarborough Fair.

Q: How have people reacted to you coming out from a soap and then going through to being a popstar?
A: I think there was quite a good bridge being in Chicago. It wasn't as if I had just left Brookie and just done a pop single straight away. There was the bridge of Celebrity Big Brother, Chicago, Challenge Of A Lifetime - so it wasn't really soapstar to singer.

Q: Obviously we've had soap star pop stars previously from Kylie and Natalie Imbruglia through to Jason Donovan and Adam Rickett. But Brookside as far as I'm aware you're the first one. And now quell surprise we have Jennifer Ellison (Emily Shadwick) and the actor who plays Jerome releasing records in the near future. What do you think of them?
A: I wasn't the first out of Brookie. Danny McCall, who played Owen, did one years ago. And of course Ricky Tomlinson did one last year as well. I can tell you that the boy who plays Jerome is very very talented boy.

The album is out in all good record shows now
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