Big Issue Vendor

Dame Shirley Bassey really is a Big Spender at Christmas

The Bond theme icon takes a tongue-in-cheek look back at her illustrious career one huge hit at a time
Credit: Photography: Matt Holyoak Make up and hair: Nikki Hambi

Dame Shirley Bassey is perhaps the world’s most glittering diva and in this week’s Big Issue magazine she takes a look back at her seven-decade career – with a slight twist.

The Bond theme icon was born in Cardiff and has been dubbed the “Queen of Wales” but now she is based in Monaco, and like many of us, won’t be able to see her family this Christmas due to Covid-19. 

To mark the release of her final album, I Owe It All To You, the 83-year-old took a look back on her achievements with The Big Issue’s Steven Mackenzie through the lens of her classic songs. 

Read the full interview in this week’s Big Issue, available from The Big Issue Shop or with a subscription to support your local vendor now

When asked if she really was a Big Spender during the festive period, Dame Shirley said: “I like to gift my friends and family something I know they will use or something that will be useful for them and their future. 

“Unfortunately, this year, due to Covid, I haven’t been able to travel to the UK and enjoy the festivities of London. Nor can I be with my family, which is a shame.” 

And is there any other feeling that is Almost Like Being In Love

Dame Shirley responded that this “magic” song really does live up to its title.

“It’s so joyful and when the key change hits you, the hairs stand up on your arms and you get a rush of feeling uplifted. That’s the same as love, right?” she said. 

During these tough times, it’s important to find ways we can all Smile, even if our hearts are breaking. 

“It’s a tough one. When I am doing a concert, my job is to go on stage and give the best performance I can for my fans. Anything personal is put to the side and in that moment, I can smile,” she said. 

“The music becomes my therapy. It’s a cliché, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes you just need a little help to see it. It’s never too late to ask for help, ever!” 

She said her new album I Owe It All To You was dedicated to her fans and described it as the ‘grand finale’ of a nearly 70-year music career. 

“Well, the album is dedicated to my fans,” she said. “None of this would be possible without them. I also, though, dedicate it to my family and my team, who have always been there for me.” 

Read the full interview in this week’s Big Issue, available from The Big Issue Shop or with a subscription to support your local vendor now.

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Shirley Bassey’s new album I Owe It All To You is out now