Young Alison Sutherland has come a long way since growing up in Linslade’s Lime Grove.
She’s now carving a name for herself as a vintage jazz singer who rejoices in the name Rose Devine.
She was ranked in the top three in the latest National Vintage Jazz Awards and has a new band – the Valentinos – who will make their debut when her new album, Vintage Jazz, is launched at The Book Cafe in Derby on Friday (March 31).
The former Linslade Middle student enjoyed huge success in school productions. She played Tallulah in Bugsy Malone and was part of the school choir which performed in Joseph at the London Palladium.
“That was ridiculously exciting,” she recalled, smiling. “We’d go up on the bus after school and on Wednesday we got to leave early for the matinee.
“It was really buzzy, incredible, fantastic fun being backstage and all the wonderful costumes – if we ever saw a bead on the stage we’d pick it up and put it in our pocket, a precious little piece of the show.
“Phillip Schofield was Joseph but he didn’t have much time for us kids. But Joseph’s brothers were very friendly, they were just wonderful.”
“I knew I’d always wanted to be in theatre but actually being in that environment just confirmed it.”
She added: “During those teenage years I started to think maybe I could have a career in entertainment, that it wasn’t just a dream.”
But after doing a degree in performing arts, getting married and having her daughter Willow, she started working in schools to pay the bills – and the years slipped by.
Then two years ago in Covent Garden she had an epiphany. “A lady appeared, dressed in 1950s gear, and started to sing all those songs I’d loved as a child.
“I thought ‘I can do that’ and hatched a little plan in my head,” she confessed.
Alison went home, relearned the old familiar songs and got her first gig as Rose Devine in 2014.
“It fits the vintage scene to have another name,” she explained. “And when I’m Rose I can be a bit more exuberant than I am normally.”
Last year she gave up the day job and she’s booked up a year ahead. “Rose has only just started,” she giggled. “There’s all sorts going on.”