Leyland mum who has gone from foodbanks to living her singing dream wants to inspire others
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Becky Demaine, 30, has been able to give up her sales job and is now a full-time singer and dreaming of stardom, but has had to battle to get there.
In her youth, growing up in Barnoldswick, she was told she wasn't good enough to make it, and has had to juggle singing - sometimes for free - around working full time and raising her two young sons Oliver and Eddie.
Now she wants to share her “can do” attitude and help others facing a similar struggle.
"I've been singing all my life", said Beckie.
"Apparently I used to do Twinkle Twinkle in a classical style, and one of the first songs I loved was My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, but I used to say My Hot Dog Go On.
"I still sometimes do that now, to see if the audience is listening!"
Where did it start?
When Beckie was seven, she landed a chorus role in a production of Oliver the Musical at Colne Hippodrome, but by this point, anxiety was creeping in.
She said: "I was struggling making friends and had a lot of anxiety.
"Between the ages of 10 and 13 I was told that I'd never be any good at singing and it knocked me."
But things started to change when Beckie became involved in pantomime mix-ups at Fisher More High School in Colne and at the same time, she went to watch Footloose the musical with her grandmother.
She said: "I thought it was going to be an old lady's play, but I was wowed.
"I knew I wanted to be more after watching that."
As a teenager Beckie started glass collecting in pubs and met a lot of singers on the local scene.
They gave her some tips of the trade and then she got a job working in theatre in education, touring schools, hotels and nursing homes across the country.
This lead onto a job singing and comparing at a Cornwall holiday park at the age of 18, which she says was "the best job I've ever had", but the season soon finished and she moved to Oxfordshire, where she met the father of her children.
A short time later, she moved to Leyland and didn't sing again until 2017 when she came across the app Smule, which helped her train her voice.
By 2019 she was "really struggling", working more than 40 hours a week in a sales job, with two sons, and reliant on food banks to make ends meet.
She said: "I had no money for Christmas and my tax credits had been stopped, I was low.
"But then one of the people I know got me a guest performance at a gig in Tameside and I sang Shallow by Lady Gaga.
"I was really, really nervous. But the committee came up to me at the end and told me I had to sing professionally, in fact they wanted to me to stay on stage and told me I didn't know how good I was."
Heartened, Beckie managed to save up for some basic equipment and joined her Auntie, who sings in care homes in Yorkshire, before landing a spot at a home in Leyland.
She learned songs from the 1930s to 70s and began to offer free sessions to get her name known.
Her mum's friend also managed to get Beckie a slot on a showrun - where social club managers go to look for new acts.
When she started getting bookings she would only be able to accept one a month because of childcare.
She said: "I'd have to take the boys with me and bribe them with £5 each! It was the only way I could do it."
When Covid hit, Beckie took her singing shows for care homes online, booming out performances via Zoom.
Living the dream
Things have now picked up again and Beckie has been able to leave her sales job and concentrate fully on singing in pubs, clubs, discos, care homes and in local shows.
In future she has designs on radio presenting and running an agency for singers that she helps to train up.
She said: "Music is my life and I'm living my dream now being full time.
"It makes me feel good to see young people coming through - and some of them are struggling to make ends meet like I was.
"All I want to do is help, because I've been in such a bad situation myself.
"I teach them how to hold the microphone, how to start off and build up."
"Get off your bum”
She added: "I just want to get the message out there to get up off your bum and do it, if you really want to.
"Look up classes online, find guides on Facebook and Instagram. And if it doesn't work for you, then at least you've tried.
"It is tiring and one or two people will try to get in your way, but you have to take that on the chin and keep going."