Ageing with attitude: Rebecca Storm celebrates 40 years in the music industry

Margaret Jennings finds singer Rebecca Storm in an upbeat mood as she marks 40 years in the music business and prepares to ‘come clean’ about her true age.

Ageing with attitude: Rebecca Storm celebrates 40 years in the music industry

REBECCA STORM has been living a lie for the past 40 years, and aims to ‘come clean’ next weekend when she stands before her legion of faithful fans.

“I’m literally going to show my birth certificate at a concert. For the first time, I will have stopped lying!” she laughs.

“I’ll be using a screen with some pictures of me and of what was happening when I was born and historical moments over my career.”

For the record, she was born on August 17, 1957, so “is coming up to 59”, but Rebecca Storm, the singer and musical theatre actress, was actually born 19 years after that. Confused? So is she at times!

She was born Elizabeth Caroline Hewlett.

“My passport says Elizabeth. My sisters call me Lisa. My school friends call me Liz. My agent called me Rebecca Storm so I’ve been Rebecca to everyone else since I was 18.”

However, her passport and official documents are a different story.

She changed to Elizabeth Caroline Roberts in her 20s when she married George.

“Then I became Elizabeth Caroline Roberts Shearer when I married Kenny 10 years ago. I’ve had so many names it’s actually insane.”

She points out that her 34-year-old daughter, a singer-songwriter, whose dad is George, is “the real Rebecca”, since Storm gave her that name at birth.

Nevertheless, whether it’s showbiz time, when she’s “putting on the high heels, the spanx, the padded bra, the eyelashes and the nails” on stage, or she’s out walking without wearing a trace of make-up, with her dog, Charlie B, around her adopted home in Co Kildare, at heart she’s the little girl who wants to sing.

“It’s what I’ve had to do since I was six or seven years old — if I don’t sing, I get depressed and always have and it’s what I always felt I wanted to do. I suppose that’s why I’m celebrating 40 years.

“It’s a celebration of what I’ve been doing all my life.

“When I was 18, I didn’t think ‘oh when I’m 58 I’ll celebrate singing for 40 years’. I didn’t know even if I would still have a voice.”

Attitudes towards ageing have changed too: “Back then, I would have thought: ‘57, that’s like my granny’.

"People were doing granny-style things, whereas now, young people think it’s absolutely fine to be 57 or 58.”

With age also, has come an emotional depth.

“Sometimes I sing with a little bit more knowledge — things can mean more to you — life in general. I lost my dad when I was eight and my mum died 14 years ago.”

That emotional history will be interwoven into her two celebratory concerts, but especially at Cork Opera House.

“I have done more shows there than anywhere else in my entire 40 years. It’s where I met Kenny in 1996 — a Liverpudlian musician in the orchestra, in Blood Brothers. He used to walk me home after the show.”

Memories of her beloved mother come streaming back there too.

“When you walk into the theatre, she was in that dressing room with me, you know... countless times. So it’s kind of emotional walking in; she sat in that chair and made me a cup of tea, you know.

"But if I was to think of it too much, it would be hard to keep going, and that’s self-indulgent, isn’t it?

"So I kind of put it in a box and try to bring that emotion — but without blubbering all over the stage.”

So how does she manage to do this?

“I try and rehearse and rehearse the songs and get all my tears away and then when I’m singing them I can still feel it, but I don’t cry and I don’t show myself up.”

It’s all there though, the joy and the sadness, with the ambition of youth gone.

“I have lost that ambition about being famous or successful. I don’t think ‘what’s the next big thing I can do?’ I haven’t thought that way for a long time. I just enjoy people coming to hear me sing and that’s thrilling for me.”

Rebecca Storm’s concert My Life in Music, Songs and Secrets, is on at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, April 30, and in Cork Opera House, May 1.

Cash seminars

AS we age, keeping control of our finances can become a hassle, but The National Centre for the Protection of Older People at UCD is coming to the rescue with free seminars countrywide on that theme.

The seminars take an hour and everyone who attends receives a free resource pack, including information on five critical areas for financial self-protection: Making a will; enduring powers of attorney; opening joint accounts and authorising signatures; making decisions at critical life events, and doorstep protection.

The Keep Control Campaign was developed with the Older Person’s Empowerment Network in collaboration with the National Centre for The Protection of Older People at UCD (NCPOP) and with the support of the HSE.

For further information contact Ann Marie Atkins on 01-7166683 or email

Swinging 60s

You Know You’re 60 When, by Richard Smith, €7.92

Do you need to be reminded of when your 60th birthday lands? Hardly!

Everyone responds differently — with indifference, dread, or denial even.

But if you want to add a bit of humour to that landmark you might want to flick though this light-hearted, even lightweight, book.

The cover sets the tone — a cartoon illustration of a guy with his 60th birthday cake on his stomach being carried off on a stretcher.

Here’s a taste of the content: You know you’re 60 when the meadows where you sowed your wild oats are shopping malls.

Or when WebMD is your home page.

Smith’s books and calendars are best-sellers, appearing in 12 languages, so someone somewhere is having a laugh.

Ageing Quote

“One of the keys to looking and feeling younger is being active."

— Actress Joan Collins

Silver Surfer

Older women reclaim what makes them sexy

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