THE founder of the Fishwives Choir said she turned down the chance to work with music mogul Simon Cowell as she didn’t want her work in promoting a charity to become another televised sob story.
Jane Dolby said she was on a mission to promote community singing along the coastlines of the UK and she believes, if you have the talent, you shouldn’t need the talent show treatment.
She aired her views after turning down the chance to compete in Britain’s Got Talent. The choir were contacted by ITV and offered the chance to bypass the audition stage and appear straight in front of the judges, including Cowell and Amanda Holden.
The choir refused. Jane said: “We were contacted by them just before Christmas, but after a discussion with our families we decided against that particular platform.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Simon Cowell. He’s a brilliant businessman. That platform works for a lot of people and I have friends who have done very well through it, but it’s just not right for us.
“Some of our girls have lost fathers, brothers, sons or husbands to the sea and we feel ours is a story with more heart than just an emotionally manipulated back story to sell a performance.
“We didn’t want the deaths of our men, who died as heroes trying to provide for their families, to be reduced to a pantomime.
They were extremely respectful about my reasons for saying no and were really good about it.”
The choir was set up by Jane following the death of her trawlerman husband, Colin.
Since then, the choir has gone from strength to strength, and its debut single, When The Boat Comes In, Eternal Father, was a Christmas hit last year, raising money for the Fishermen’s Mission – a charity which cares for and supports bereaved and broken fishing families in times of hardship.
Jane says the choir’s latest mission is to bring community singing back to coastal towns around the UK.
She added: “When we went to Hastings to record our single, we were all knocked out by just how deep the musical culture runs within the community – people would spontaneously burst into song and shanties and the whole pub would erupt in song to join in with them.
“I felt so sad because I didn’t know any of the shanties, but I couldn’t understand why I had never been taught them because I grew up in a fishing town.
“With all my heart, I want to change this for the younger generations in coastal towns where the music side of the fishing industry is dying out.
“We want to create songs that people can enjoy together and bring them to coastal towns where the audience can sing along and we can all recapture the wonderful shared experience of community singing.”
The fishwives have a summer of gigs ahead of them and will return to the studio in April to record their next album with military wives producer Phil Da Costa.