A FRESH NEW FACE IN COUNTRY MUSIC
A fresh new face in Country music, Arlene was born in the Granite City of Aberdeen, Scotland, and grew up in a household consumed with 60s and 70s music and plenty of Country. Songs from legendary artists such as Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson to name but a few, were continually reverberating from the family home along with sounds from the wonderful infectious harmonic pop groups such as ABBA, The New Seekers, The Drifters, The Hollies, etc. As a child/teen she remembers all the great family parties where many of the neighbouring friends would join in. Arlene grew up with two siblings, older sister Irene and younger sister Beverly. Her mum & dad, Irene and Tommy, were youth leaders at the local community centre, so their household was always ‘alive and thriving’.
For 25 years Arlene explored the world working as Airline Cabin Crew, however, with music being her first love, she took time out from flying the skies and enrolled with her local music school (Chalmers Mackay) to fulfil and continue her passion for music. It was meant to be “just a hobby,” but before long she had attained several grades in ‘Popular Vocals’ with The London College of Music and went on to take part in many various music projects.
She formed a musical duo with Doug Stewart, and the pair went on to enjoy a 10-year music relationship. During this time, they appeared on Britain’s Got Talent at the Lowry Theatre, Manchester in 2014, where Arlene was overjoyed to be invited down from the live stage to meet the music mogul himself, Simon Cowell, at the famous judge’s desk, where she engaged on a little bit of light-hearted banter with Simon and the other judges. Arlene told Simon she would now “die happy,” with the fact she had personally met with the charming idol himself. Unfortunately, their performance was not televised that year.
Arlene and Doug re-entered the competition in 2015 at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh where Ant and Dec informed the duo that they were to become the opening act for the entire series of that year! (No pressure there then!) “The atmosphere in the entire auditorium was electrifying and an experience I’ll never forget,” said Arlene. Although not making it through to the live semi-finals, their quirky rendition was appreciated by all in the theatre, especially David Walliams who commented to the pair he felt they were both entertaining and endearing, and remarked that the crowd was well behind them.
These positive comments from the judges gave the duo a whole new verve and burst of confidence which subsequently drove them on to reach what would be the pinnacle of their musical career performing around the world with Cruise and Maritime Voyages as ‘Star Guest Act and Resident Duo’ They were fortunate enough to have visited many different countries with their different cultures, one of their favourite cities visited being Saint Petersburg in Russia where the palaces and architecture were all laced with gold, – a truly wonderful and inspiring place. The pair later, however, decided to part their ways to allow each other to pursue their individual desired projects, Arlene with her Country music and Doug moving towards technical sound engineering.
With Country music being the genre closest to Arlene’s heart, and heavily influenced by her growing up days, she decided to begin a new chapter in her career by recording her first EP at the beginning of 2018.
‘Wildflower’ consisted of five Country classic cover songs and was created under the guidance of producer Robbie Mackay (son of Scottish Country Star Ruby Rendall.) Some of the tracks from ‘Wildflower’ featured on the prestigious Hotdisc Top 40 Country chart.
Arlene was thrilled to be invited onto the Ruby Rendall ‘Once Upon a Time’ mini-tour of Scotland and the Scottish Highlands and Islands during the summer of 2018 along with Cat Dangerfield. This was another major experience and further stepping stone in her music career.
The first single to really make an impact on the Hotdisc Country chart was ‘Right Time Right Place’ written by Ex New Seekers heart-throb Marty Kristian. People were beginning to sit up and take notice.
During November 2019 – under the guidance of her then Manager Lee Williams (a legendary professional,) Arlene fulfilled a lifelong ambition to record in Nashville, Tennessee backed by some of the finest musicians in the world – all seasoned professionals who regularly play with the likes of Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson, Johnny Mathis, Reba McEntire both on stage and in the studio. The result was instant with two Hotdisc British & Irish No.1 singles. ‘All Fall Down’ was the first track released from the session, while ‘Penny to My Name’ repeated the trick two months later.
The third single from the Nashville session – another Kristian-penned song called ‘Bring The Curtain Down’ (which became a duet with Marty Kristian after the great legend himself was keen to be more involved with the record – gave Arlene a hat-trick of Hotdisc British/Irish and also European Number 1s. It got more airplay than any of her other songs and Arlene found herself on many radio stations as a guest throughout the UK including many BBC stations.
Following this came the fourth single to be released from the Nashville session. It was an original track written by the hit-song writing team of Bill DiLuigi, Amber Hayes and Shantell Ogden and was called “Trouble with Twang.” This fun song shows yet another side to Arlene’s music as well as showcasing again the outstanding quality played by the Nashville’s musicians who were involved in the session. The video shows the guys and girls involved in the studio plus a snapshot of Arlene’s trip to the Country music capital of the world, Nashville, Tennessee.
During 2022, Arlene embarked on a ‘project with a difference’, where she wrote the lyric and melody line for a song specifically for Wake Up, Rise Up, LIVE 4 Peace, (an altruistic organisation based in Philadelphia, USA,) where their mission is to raise awareness of violence, particularly unlicensed gun violence around the world. Friends Paul Emerson and Roddy Scott also collaborated on the project. Paul created the music for this piece and Roddy added bass interpretation. Many artists from around the world came together to show their support for this worthy cause and performed at a virtual worldwide concert in September of that year which was viewed by millions. Writing a song on this subject was a whole new challenge for Arlene, and a complete contrast from her usual Country music world, but whilst a temporary genre swerve, it was the first song she had self-penned completely from scratch which she was super proud of, especially as the aim was to raise awareness for anti-violence.
Arlene has since released further singles, with her latest (January 2023,) a song called ‘One More Time’ which is a beautiful smooth ballad. One More Time was written by Ian St James and John Albert Griggs. The music video for ‘One More Time’ showcases two very elegant championship dancers (Michael Kedzierski and Yuliia Rohut,) who specially choreographed a dance to fit the song and illustrated their wonderful interpretation. This can be viewed along with all of Arlene’s music videos in the Video section.
With more recordings brewing up, there is no doubt about it – Arlene has arrived on the country music scene in a big way, and the future looks very rosy indeed.