Gospo Collective’s Charmaine Jones Brings Whitney Houston To Adelaide Fringe

Gospo Collective is always an Adelaide Fringe favourite with show Jackson Vs Jackson but this year they are back with Whitney. Bringing the spirit and life to the songs of Whitney Houtson it’s a must for all Whitney fans. Performing at the newest open air venue at Gluttony -The Fantail in Rymill Park from Tuesday 7 March until Monday 13 March, Charmaine Jones, Director and Arranger of Gospo Collective chatted to Hi Fi Way about what audiences can expect.

Gospo Collective are taking on the one and only Whitney Houston in the show Whitney. Being such an iconic singer what can audiences expect from the show?
Get ready for the powerhouse vocals that you’ve come to know and love when listening to Gospo – the music of Whitney just gives us as singers such an incredible scope to utilise our instrument to the extreme and vocal play like no other pop artist in music history.

Is it exciting and challenging to sing Whitney’s songs considering she has such an amazing voice?
The team has definitely felt emotions from excited, humbled, daunted, inspired and awed in creating our own musical and singing offering to the vocal goddess that is Whitney. She wasn’t only “amazing”, she was “true”. She was the ‘real deal.’ Whitney worked hard, she led a very vocally demanding life and her sound soaked up her professional and personal environment. What you heard was what she was experiencing in art and her everyday. That is very reassuring for us as singers – it allows us to explore the authenticity of what it means to be a vocalist. We are always learning as artists. The team have had such an educational journey so far, sinking our teeth into her style, scope and technical approaches. As a group and as individuals.

With so many loved and hit songs to choose from, how do you decide which songs make the list and which don’t?
This has definitely been the trickiest part of the show to navigate for me as the arranger and creator. I’ve really gone with meaning, story-telling, articulating Whitney’s life journey through my song choices … the tunes chose me, honestly, whilst I was researching about her life and trying to have as much integrity relaying parts of her personal and professional life to our future audiences.

Which Whitney song is your favourite to sing?
I’m really digging on the groove of a slightly less well known tune from the 1987 ‘Whitney’ album – Just the Lonely Talking again. The back beat is super sexy and the lyrics are so well written. That beautiful juxtaposition of being totally nervous to have your heart broken and yet that excitement that this next time around there might be hope for change. What an awesome love song concept and so more close to reality than the mundane and unrealistic ‘happily ever after’. It’s raw. It’s deep. It’s so Whitney.

Gospo Collective have been performing for quite a few Fringe seasons now. Are you excited to perform there again this year? What’s the best part about performing at the Fringe?
We are very happy to be back at Fringe 2023 after a break last year (due to COVID and the inability to rehearse vocalists. Finally no restrictions!). This year we are in a brand new venue at Gluttony called the Fan Tail. Seating 1200 a night it’s going to be an epic space to bring the legend that is Whitney to life, through music.

What’s your favourite thing about Adelaide at Fringe time?
I love the way Adelaide people come alive, welcoming visitors from far and wide and the east end of the city lights up like a teenage unassuming wallflower coming to an awakening of glorious, unabashed confidence. The freedom, the acceptance, the equality …

What are three words to describe your show?
Heroical. Reminiscent. Boundless.

Fringe Interview by Anastasia Lambis

Tickets and show information for Whitney at Fringe Tix. Grab Ya Tix!

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