Cabaret star Barb Jungr on why a little danger on stage is a good thing

 

Sometimes you meet a person and something clicks. No need for verbal foreplay, you just get straight to it. Maybe it's because this week's guest is a fellow Northerner that we hit it off or maybe Barb Jungr just connects with everyone she meets. Most of you will be familiar with Barb's radical reworking of Dylan classics. She's made her name breathing new life into already great songs. So powerful is her presence she adds something new, something you've not heard before, so that her readings sit comfortably alongside the originals as friendly companion pieces.

Whether you are singing other people's songs or your own, Barb Jungr told me, “You need to be doing it with your whole self, that way you'll be giving and people will know you'll be giving.”

She describes herself as an “unpicker” who loves to dissect everything, including songs. “Song find me and won't go away till I do something with them.”

Obviously she is concerned that people come to her shows, but unlike me, Barb she says she never thinks about commerciality – it derails her.

“What's lucky is to be doing something you like doing and being with people who are nice. It's having a roof over your head and being able to make choices.

If you've seen Barb you know she crackles with energy whenever she performs. “I like my chaos to be on stage,” she says, “I like watching people who are dangerous. A bit of danger on stage is a really important thing. It's got to do with having an edge. You've got to feel as though the person on stage is slightly uncaged, otherwise what's the point? Anybody worth watching is on the edge. The important thing is that you open yourself so that other people can be open.”

On working with a director Barb says, “If directing is telling you what to do from the core to the bone, then no, I don't need one. If directing is being somebody who helps you make more of what you're doing in whatever space it is, then great."

Recorded in London 30th October 2013

You can read more about keeping it real on stage in chapter 3 of Cabaret Secrets. It's available in paperback or click to download your copy now from AmazoniTunesNook or other formats.