Velma Celli returns with brand new show ‘Me & My Divas’

Drag star Velma Celli has been making an annual pilgrimage from London to Perth to part in Fringe World for the last few years. Audiences have loved her show A Brief History of Drag and been impressed by her singing abilities.

For Fringe World 2020 she’s back with a brand new show that pays homage to some of the most loved singers. Velma Celli: Me & My Divas sees the talent performer shine a spotlight on the work of Celine, Mariah, Whitney, Aretha, Cher and many others.

OUTinPerth spoke to Velma about her new show and what qualifications you need to be a diva.

What makes a diva? What are the qualifications, because it’s one of those words we throw around a lot, like ‘superstar’, that sometimes we use too easily.

That is very true. A diva to me is someone who has exceptional talent, and then I would probably say, an awareness of their importance, plus the have an other-worldliness, they have to be fabulous.

But diva can also be a negative slur, it can one who is a bit of a wanker, so it’s a tricky one. A diva to me is someone who is exceptionally talented.

In the blurb for the show there are several names mentioned including Celine, Mariah, Aretha, Cher and Whitney, and it struck me that I have actually met one of them.

Oh my God! Who have you met?

I met Celine Dion when she came to Perth to do Telethon. It was back in the early 1990’s when she’d just recorded Beauty and the Beast, way before Titanic. I found myself distracted by how unusual she looked, she has quite a peculiar face, and I told her I loved her music – which may not have been true, but it just came out in the moment.

She was first stage Celine back then, I love that, I’m sorry Celine I was distracted.

Are there divas you been dying to perform as? 

They’re all on massive pedestals for me, especially the likes of Whitney and Mariah, and Celine. I’m dying to do one particular song, which is a mash up of a Celine and a Mariah song mainly because it’s super hard to sing and it’s camp as tits.

I’m really looking forward to it, there’s so many songs from the 90’s. Other artists I’ve  changed their songs a bit, there’s one Beyonce song that the second tune in the show and it’s very different. I’m really looking forward to it.

I mean who doesn’t love a finger wave!

Do you think we could have an Australian diva? 

Ummm, no. I think John Farnham is the best you have.

Maybe Tina Arena? 

She does have that Chains song, but I don’t think she quite make it. I am thinking of putting in a few male divas.

Is it harder for a male performer to be a diva? 

I think only Freddie Mercury makes the grade.

Velma Celli’s Me & My Divas is at Fringe World’s De Parel Spiegeltent until Tuesday 28th January. Tickets and more information available from fringeworld.com.au

Graeme Watson


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