FORGET Dry January- everyone needs a dose of Jane January at this time of the year. The woman has cheer in her bones and wit in her ways. After 20 minutes of chat, you feel like she’s your new best friend. Jane’s warm, easy appeal has made her a much-loved star on stage, cruise ship and TV screen. She will be taking her brilliant brand of warmth and entertainment on tour to a nationwide audience in 2024 – ending in a spectacular show at Leeds First Direct Arena to sign it-off with all the Yorkshire love.
It means that her travels are going to be closer to home for a bit, rather than the epic adventures she delights audiences with on travel shows such as the BAFTA award-winning Channel 5 series Cruising with Jane McDonald, along with Jane & Friends, Holidaying With Jane McDonald and her most recent outing Jane McDonald: Lost in Japan. This year is about regrouping, she says, inimitably adding, “I’m just grateful to have time to tidy out my knicker drawer! To declutter and sort stuff out. It’s little things like that I’m looking forward to. “I’ve had the best fun for eight years travelling, but what’s unfolding is really exciting. “This time it is about me as the artist with a little bit of storytelling, me at the piano, explaining the stories behind the songs and how I write. It’s more exciting for me but still with all the Jane-isms – the big disco medley. All the favourites will still be there but a lot of different things going off this time.”
Whether watching Jane on TV or seeing her in concert, the warmth she gives off means everyone thinks they know her. “I love that,” she says. “There will be a few tears on the tour. Because I wrote a song for my mum when I was in America – I remember sitting there thinking ‘I miss my mum’, and that’s probably my biggest song – The Hand that Leads Me. That’s one that is going to have people shedding a tear.”
Jane is looking to forward to writing some new material, but she adds: “The biggest thing for me is that I am looking forward to being in Yorkshire. “I’m now stepping back from travelling so that I have a bit of time to enjoy my home life and be creative again and perform in Yorkshire again for three nights – and sleep in my own bed.”
What does time in Yorkshire look like for her? “I’ll probably have couple of days in York, Harrogate – a posh day out – and Bettys. I’ll be able to just pop to Whitby or Scarborough – I love a walk along a beach, that is my thing. We all dream of that house by the sea don’t we – might have a few weekends away.”
When it comes to a new year, she’s not one for resolutions. “We always say I’m going get fit, do this or that – it never happens, does it? I’m past caring about resolutions, just waking up every day is a joy. “I don’t do Dry January – I don’t drink much but I like nice wine or a nice whisky. “I do spend new year with my pals – I’ve got a group of girls and go and have dinner and we get excited. Some people get maudlin and sad at new year but I think, ‘oh, it’s a new a year what’s going to happen – and the bad stuff is gone.”
She’s excited about the tour and seeing fans: “I’ve missed them the past two years. I see fans making plans to meet up for the shows – you don’t realise what happens because of what you are doing and it’s lovely to see. “Over the years, my fans have shown so much love for me and my music – and this tour is going to be my chance to give them a little extra love in return.
“The thrill of a live audience is what I love most about being a performer and it always takes me right back to the early days of my career, so I cannot wait to get back on the road once more to sing.”
Jane in Yorkshire Nov 6 Sheffield, City Hall Nov 15 Hull, Connexin Live Nov 22 Leeds, First Direct Arena Tickets cuffeandtaylor.com
This article first appeared in Yorkshire Life magazine. The latest edition of Yorkshire Life is out now, available from newsagents and supermarkets across Yorkshire and magsdirect.co.uk. Subscribe at greatbritishlife.co.uk/subscribe/yorkshire/