First Impressions: Barbara Dickson

… is a recording artist and Olivier Award-winning actress. She became the biggest-selling Scottish female album artist of all time, winning six platinum, 11 gold and seven silver albums, and was awarded an ObE in 2002 for Services to Music and Drama. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently on a concert tour to celebrate just over 50 years of being a professional musician.

When are you at your happiest?

When I’m at home. I think a lot of people who work away… you don’t quite know where you are. I do find being in my own home utterly blissful – I’m not really a social animal. I think I could describe myself as being antisocial – not in a mean sense, but I’m not a party animal.

What is your greatest fear?

My children dying.

What is your earliest memory?

Sitting in the knee hole under my grandfather’s desk in Dunfermline where my parents lived – the lovely thing is that I have that desk now.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Musician Archie Fisher; he was my mentor when I was young. James Taylor, who I think has got better and better as he’s got older, which is a great inspiration to me. I think this is very important to have in your life as you get older – to look at and say they are mature and great. If I see someone is 87 and they are fabulous, that’s really good for somebody of my age. Joni Mitchell was a huge influence, The Beatles, Crosby & Nash, people who all sang and played beautifully.

What do you dislike about yourself?

Lack of self-control. I could very easily get addicted to all sorts of things. I have not sampled crack cocaine, you’ll be pleased to hear, or I could be in a doorway, but I do tend to want to have another glass of wine. It’s hard for me to not finish the entire box of chocolates. It’s very depressing because I’m 71 years old and I still can’t control myself.

What is your most treasured possession?

A bumblebee drawing that one of my children did for me, in a silver frame, on my dressing table.

What trait do you most deplore in others?


Do you have any pets?

No. I’d love a pug.

Favourite book?

The House at Pooh Corner.

Favourite piece of music?

Finlandia by Sibelius.

Favourite film?

The Godfather Part II.

Favourite meal?

Fish and chips.

Who would you most like to come to dinner?

Elvis, Thomas More, Robert burns and Idris Elba.

What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?

Someone once described me as a boring fat frump. The problem was I believed them. Now I don’t.

What is your secret vice?

Going to bed early.

Do you believe in aliens?

I don’t think aliens have been here, but I think there will be life somewhere else. I don’t believe in little green men.

Do you write thank you notes?

I do. but my handwriting is so poor I tend to type things and sign them, and I apologise for typing them.

Which phrase do you most overuse?


What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

A butler would be nice.

Tell us something that people might not know about you.

I’m a big fan of Eminem. I think he’s like bob Dylan. People are always shocked – a Scottish newspaper made a big thing of it because they think of me as being the sort of girl-next-door type. I’m not at all. They thought it was bizarre that someone like me would like Eminem. Well, I like him because I came from folk music, I love bob Dylan and people like him, and I think Eminem is a great poet.

What would you like your epitaph to say?

‘She did her best.’

Barbara Dickson is on tour from 1 February to 10 March 2019. For further information, call 0161-813 2222 or visit